As parents, all of us are so accustomed to having our kids (especially little ones like mine – 23 months old) around all the time that we just don’t realise how time flies by us on a day-to-day basis. More often than not 24 hours in a day is simply not enough with a hyperactive toddler running around begging for your time, energy and attention.
That being said, the one off occasions where my wife S takes my daughter R to her maternal home are the times when I really and truly miss both of them a lot. Funnily enough R is at an age where she adapts beautifully to her surroundings and circumstances and doesn’t miss me even a little. I wonder if kids are like that with their fathers, as they are used to their fathers being out of their sights for longer periods of time.
I remember that one week when S left R in my charge and went out-of-town. After 3 silent days, R started missing her mother and frequently started asking me where Amma was and it took all of my imagination to come up with answers to this question for the next 4 days. However, this time R is with her mother, who informs me that she has not asked for me at all for the last 5 days now, and that makes me wonder.
This is probably what is termed as ‘maternal bond’. After all R was in S’s tummy for a good 9 odd months and still heavily relies on her for all of her daily needs like food, water, safety, etc. God does give fathers a raw deal in such cases, didn’t he? Almost all the good qualities that a child has is almost always attributed to the mother of the child. If a child is healthy, funny, active, smart, all the credit goes to the mother. It is assumed that the mother has taught and conditioned her child so well that she displays all of these good qualities. It is extremely rare that the father gets the credit for any of these qualities in a child.
I really don’t blame people for not recognising a father’s contribution to a child’s development. After all, we live in a country where most fathers deem their primary responsibility to be earning enough money to keep the mother and child happy and contented. I still have to see too many fathers who actually contribute in any other way to the upbringing of the child, and this observation of mine holds good across all economic and social strata of people that I have interacted with. That being said, I have also had the privilege of having interacted with more hands-on fathers as well who step up, take the responsibility of the child so that the mother can take some time off from parenting.
In any case, I digress. The point of this post was to highlight the fact that even as children we probably are more dependent and reliant on our mothers than our fathers. The ‘maternal bond’ that I spoke of earlier is so strong in the mothers as well. I personally have had instances where S has realized that R is in trouble in the next room or downstairs when she was playing with her grandparents. And on more than one occasion, S’s intuition about things like these has proven right, which clearly explains the existence of the ‘maternal bond.
Wonder why God or nature didn’t come up with a similar ‘fraternal bond’. It would be awesome if fathers also had this natural intuitive sense when it came to gauging what their children wanted. That way I wouldn’t end up giving R biscuits when what she actually wanted was just a tight hug from me.
Jairam Mohan is a 33 yr old father, of an almost 2-year-old daughter, settled in Bangalore. He and his wife tend to see the funny side of things in life which helps them maintain sanity in their otherwise crazy and stressful working lives. While his day job involves poring over Excel spreadsheets and preparing PowerPoint presentations, his other hobbies include frequent updation of his blog on varied topics and watching/writing about movies.