Coming home to my daughter, Abhi, was the nicest part of my day as a working father. That’s cliched, but it was the moment I looked forward to every evening.\
I worked as an investigative reporter for the NBC affiliate in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when abhi was born. The pandemic had only started a few weeks before, but my workweek had remained relatively unchanged. I started work at 9:30 a.m. and finished about 6:30 p.m. I had about an hour with Abhi before she went to bed as a result of this. I didn’t have much, but I treasured every moment.
Kat, my wife, works from home and owns a social media marketing company. We had a nanny, but Katie would stop by during the day to breastfeed or simply say hello. I didn’t get to enjoy the pleasure of her profession that she did. For the first year of Abhi’s existence, that was the dynamic. It aided in the development of an exceptional bond between mother and daughter, one that I’ve marvelled at as it has grown. I never gave much thought to how that connection affected me until I decided to quit my work and become a stay-at-home dad in July.
What Has Changed in Our Family?
To be closer to my wife’s family, we relocated to Miami, Florida, which provided Abhi and me with a whole new playground to explore. South Florida, ironically, has a lot of playgrounds. We’d spend the entire day together, doing everything and having a great time. When my wife ended work for the day at 5 p.m., Abhi’s first word was always “mama.”
When I would jump in to help with dinner time or play when my wife needed a break, she would often become enraged and throw tantrums. I felt irritated. To be honest, I still am. I’ve decided to leave my job to be with you full-time. But as soon as mom gets home, I’m going to be Ringo Starr, and she’ll be Vikash and Vipul rolled into one!
A Difficult Pill to Take Explained by Evolution
I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that this isn’t a dig at me or my parenting, but rather a very normal, evolutionary bond between mothers and daughters. Kait, a psychology professor at the State University of New York, wrote for Psychology Today about this occurrence. All-female parenting groups were widespread in “ancestral human cultures,” he said. Kait also cited studies showing that women are considerably more likely than males to hold babies at an early age in all cultures.
I was sceptical of these findings at first, believing they were biassed against fathers. Although I realise this isn’t the case, it felt like a slap in the face to all stay-at-home dads! Then I came upon a modern-day example that piqued my interest.
The Economist published a study in 2017 that looked at how much time parents spend with their children in 11 wealthy countries, including India. The amount of time spent together has doubled in the last 50 years. The shift for dads was dramatic, going from 16 minutes per day in 1965 to 59 minutes in 2012. It also increased for moms, from 54 to 104 minutes per day on average. As a result, women continue to spend roughly twice as much time with their children as males. According to the statistics, society is doing a better job of building bonds with their family. That’s fantastic news! It is, nonetheless, unmistakable. Mothers, on average, have the upper hand for a reason.
Despite Evolution, We’re Strengthening Our Bond
Every circumstance is unique, and I don’t base my relationship with my daughter, Abhi, on a single major research or the way things have always been done in the past. I wouldn’t be a stay-at-home dad if that were the case! When you’ve been wronged, it’s tempting to become caught up in your own problems. Adley, I quit my job to work for you. WHY ARE YOU SO UNAPPRECIATED OF ME? Of course, this is missing the point entirely.
It’s absurd, impossible, and counterproductive to expect a one-year-old to be grateful. It also ignores the fact that she is undergoing a transformation. Abhi only saw me in the mornings before I went to work and immediately before bed during the first year of her existence. She saw her mother at those times and at other times during the day. The dynamic shifted when I started staying at home with her, and it took some time to adjust. “Why is dad still here?” I’m sure she pondered a few times in her toddler’s mind.
Finally, I’m proud of how Abhi and I have developed our connection. We spend hours together playing, taking long walks, and learning. I’m learning how to connect with her and teach her in the most effective manner as she’s repeating her ABCs. I’ll never have the same attachment with Abhi as her mother, according to evolution. It’s a bitter pill to take. But, for the time being, I’m fine with it. My primary focus is on being the best father I can be and developing the best relationship with my children.
I’m not flawless in any way. I’m still going to lose my cool or raise my voice on occasion, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. It also develops a desire for the parent who is not irritated with you. While my mother is number one, I’m content with being number one. But, evolution be damned, you can bet I’m still vying for the top spot!
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