Thursday, October 28, 2010

The happy SAHD man

For most people happiness in life stems from that one golden rule - Always be the best at what you do. If you’re in school you have to be a class topper. If you’re in college you have to be dating the prettiest girl. If you’re working you to have to get the highest rating and consequentially the highest pay hike. If you’re getting married it has to be the grandest and fanciest few hours that you can (in most cases cant) afford. And then you have a family and your kid starts from scratch cause you want him to be the class topper ....

So here we are, India's middle class in their 20's men looking at fancy degrees, dreaming of high paying jobs, hoping to meet the perfect woman who will take care of our kids (as and when they arrive) and settling down happily ever after while enjoying a super successful rise to the top career while faithfully following the one golden rule. All except for me that is.

So why do I not subscribe to the golden rule that has been so successful for so many people that it should be christened a platinum rule, you might ask? Here's what you need to do - take out a piece of paper or click on Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Notepad if you’re technically inclined and list out 25 things that you want to do before you move on to the afterlife. If your friends have you certified as boring then you need to jot down only 20 and if they think you’re filled with too many dreams, aspirations and non stop nonsense then you get 30 (Just so you understood, the guys get 20 and the women 30). Now sit back and think how many of those you actually have a chance of doing in the next 15 years if you were to follow the one golden rule. A prize to whoever crosses 10, seriously.

The answer lies in being a Stay At Home Dad (SAHD). I’m sure that by just reading those 4 words, half the men reading this would’ve collapsed, another 20% would’ve had breathlessness leading to palpitations and the remaining 30% would’ve thought "This is nonsense, how can a well educated Indian man be a stay at home dad. It’s against all that is right in our society. This guy is off his rockers. I’m closing this blog". The truth is its so simple and sensible that I don’t know why nobody thought of it earlier. There's only one ingredient to the wonderful recipe - 1 successful career oriented and flexible wife. The way things are going finding one isn’t that tough these days.

The concept of being a SAHD came to me last year when our team was discussing the fact that women get 3 months of post delivery maternity leave while men get nothing. That’s right nothing. Welcoming the most adorable baby into the world today ? Congratulations ! Make sure you’re not late tomorrow and don’t expect your work load to reduce. Why should men not enjoy their release from the dreaded 9 months of pre delivery slavery (much worse than the 5 minutes of pain women go through during the actual delivery) ? And the fact that their wife has delivered a lovely healthy baby ? When my time comes I’m going to take a month or two off for sure. Which got me thinking, why only a month or two?

Think about it, most Indian middle class newly married couples are the double income sorts which means that when they do find the time to have kids, they are asleep when the kids get ready and go to school and reach home so late that the kids are already tucked in and snoring. All thanks to the maid who substitutes as a mom. And dad. Most of these double income no care (DINC) parents are so shameless that when asked at the what is their kids favourite colour they stare intently into their Blackberry's while pretending not to hear because they didn’t even know their kid had a favourite colour in the first place. Of course they feel guilty for not being there for their kids so they end up spending a big portion of the latest salary hike on the kids at the nearest mall. Guilt erased they go back to their worlds of not caring.

Which is why being a SAHD makes so much sense. You get to be the only dad who actually drops his kid off at school as compared to all those other drivers who are employed solely for the purpose of ferrying the kids around. You get time to have breakfast and more importantly a conversation with your spouse before she leaves for work and you get to drop her off to the office as well. Once you come back you have to take care of the laundry, gardening, grocery shopping, supervision of cleaning and cooking. In the evenings you get to spend quality time with your kids while ensuring that they complete their homework and listening to all their school adventures. And you get to know what their favourite colour is. And the biggest bonus of all – you get to play the perfect supportive spouse to your hard working wife.

Plus you have time to follow your passions - always thought you had a hint of Michelangelo in you, painting away to glory is what you should be doing. Feel J.K. Rowling made millions on a crappy set of books, prove you can make billions by writing a better book. Secretly thought you would be good at stitching but were too afraid to take it up for fear that you might get spotted and ridiculed, this is your chance to develop the budding stylist in you. As a kid ever felt that the perfect life involved playing video games all day, this is the answer to your gaming prayers to Duke Nukem and Super Mario. Wanted to walk around the house in nothing but your jockeys all day (don’t ask why but guys find this appealing), just make sure to close the windows and live out your dream. Missed out on all those TV shows and movies while you slogged your butt off for the last few years in the hopes of making it big, treat yourself to a nice big sofa and rent out DVDs day in and day out.

Of course it all comes down to how you spin the whole thing. You just can’t go tell your better half 'Sweetie I always thought I would make a better gardener than a supply chain consultant. I’m quitting'. Instead what you need to do is tell her 'Sweetie, I’ve done a lot of thinking and I’ve realised that you seem to have a more promising career than mine (free brownie points for saying she is superior) and I don’t want to hold you back with the kids and so much responsibility. I will make a courageous sacrifice and give up my career and bring up the kids to the best of my ability. Of course, I cannot hope to be half the perfect parent you would be (more brownie points for more lying) and I will need your support but I think if we are in this together, we can pull it off'. Watch her melt before your very eyes and judiciously make use of the fact that she will never say No to you again.

Which is why I am sure that I will be extremely happy by being SAHD !

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

SAD!! u really think a smart woman wud fall for this line!! i will ensure that she reads ur blog 1st in induction!!
:D :D