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Five Dads Open Up About Their Time In Lockdown

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Whether you’re a child living at home with elderly parents or a parent yourself, the coronavirus has made sure everyone is there, together. Yes, the difficulties are different, some have a study to work, and some can barely close the bathroom door for a 10 minute getaway, but if you have a younger one, chances are you you got pissed off, calmed down and become for eight months, you never thought life would throw at you.

Ni Nadir Kanthawala and Peter Kotikalapudi, who respectively have a four-year-old daughter, Zia, and a three-year-old son, Liam. The duo produce, write and host “Pops In A Pod,” a parenting podcast from a fathers perspective. Kanthawala tells me that for Zia’s birthday, they don’t have a personalized Peppa Pig cake this year. “We went to Hamley’s and constantly harassed her so as not to touch things. We made her understand that going out was not possible, and now she understood it. However, if she sees any of us leaving the house, it becomes dramatic, ”Kanthawala says with a laugh. Liam was supposed to join the nursery and two days before his enrollment, India shut down. “We started these online courses, which he absolutely hated. He was in daycare before the pandemic, so he began to associate virtual classes with returning to daycare. But he has improved, but he doesn’t really understand not to go out, “says Kotikalapudi.

Aniruddha Pathak is a financial professional and has a six year old daughter, Rhea. Before the pandemic, her routine was crossfit, work, dance lessons and spending time with Rhea. During the lockdown, the routine changed to waking up, helping with cooking, organizing Rhea’s virtual classroom, working while on call, taking a break for lunch and washing dishes, working again, having dinner, and sleeping. “Trying to work while running the house and a child who has been forced to stay at home poses their own challenges. Also, we try to keep Rhea from spending too much screen time, ”says Pathak, adding that it’s worse when other kids are allowed to play in the building and they’re trying to be. safe, keeping her at home. “She’s crying and it doesn’t feel good to keep working when she wants us to spend time with her,” he said. Pathak also leaned into Rhea’s studies, which he couldn’t do earlier because of his job. However, entertaining a child is not always easy, and even more so when they are at an age where they have all that energy. “There are only a limited number of books and activities. Fortunately, we’ve now signed her up for online fitness and ballet classes, which takes over some of the time, ”he says.

Famous photographer Dabboo Ratnani is at home with his wife, Manisha, and three children – Myrah, Shivan and Kiara Ratnani. Before the pandemic, Ratnani would be the one to wake everyone up at home, make his wife’s coffee, drop the kids off at school, go to the gym and go to work. “At first it felt like an extended vacation because you didn’t think it would last that long. We used to watch movies until late at night, wake up late and do things we weren’t doing earlier because we never had time, ”he recalls. When virtual lessons started, everyone had to start waking up early again, Ratnani says. “I had got my computers, etc. from the studio, and I worked on reprocessing the footage from the archives while the kids were in their class. Other than that, we were making fun videos, TikToks, etc. », He explains. It was not difficult to explain the pandemic to them, Ratnani says, as they continued to expose children to the same information they were given. “I don’t think firing is the right way to treat children, I’ve always been the kind of father who respects their questions and gives them answers that aren’t immature,” he adds. As the world has changed for energetic kid dads, newbie dads have had their own experiences as their toddlers came to a time when there was literally nowhere else. Actor Ruslaan Mumtaz became a dad at the very start of the pandemic, and now he’s back on set. While not going to share the baby’s photos, he presented them as a ray of sunshine in the dark world.

Actor Sumeet Vyas had his baby two months ago: “Beyond a certain point, to be honest, there’s not much dads can do for the baby this early. But I had deliberately decided to take this time in May and June, regardless of the profitability of an offer, ”he says. Kanthawala believes that with the WFH bit, the frustration levels have increased. “Zia’s school has just started and I’m taking care of all of her schooling. My wife works in a bank. I’m sitting in my makeshift workspace in her bedroom, and she also sets up with the computer installed with me. It can be nice to watch your child learn, but it is also frustrating because you end up constantly nagging him. And then there is also the work pressure. I’ve sent so many bad emails, with errors, that it creeps into your professional life, ”he says. Three-year-old Liam and his parents have always had breakfast together, which is a routine that got a bit of a mess during the pandemic. “I used to pick him up from daycare, then pick up my wife, Karen, and then on the way we would talk about our day. We had a snack on the way, which was our little moment of relaxation. Now that has totally changed since we get out of bed, brush our teeth, have coffee and have breakfast in front of the screen, ”explains Kotikalapudi. Sometimes it’s also necessary to take a break with your child, says Kanthawala. “Sometimes you end up scolding the kid for something that isn’t his fault. I know a lot of people don’t really agree, but come on, sure, you need a break. “

dads lockdown

Ratnani thinks it’s important to keep calm. “You can’t lose your cool on them, your pressure can’t be on them. Children can take it very badly too, and it’s not their fault they’re home. Everyone faces pressures, even financial ones. I told my kids that you can’t spend anymore like you used to, ”he says. Pathak also believes that parents should first control their mental health. “Train, eat well and most importantly learn to let go, you can’t control everything,” he says. He meditates and has resumed activities like painting or taking line dancing lessons, which helps him keep in check. The role of the father and the idea of ​​parental equality have evolved in recent years. Fathers want to be more involved, people have also asked for paternity leave. Will the pandemic shape this more? Mumtaz and Nirali, his wife, have consciously decided that once his work resumes, he will not take any assignments until they settle in and can get help as well. “Because of the pandemic, we have no help, and we have to find out for ourselves. My shooting will end when it resumes, and I won’t take anything else, ”he says. Mumtaz has become comfortable caring for her baby, now six months old. “I take care of him when my wife is working, and there’s pretty much anything I can do. I bathe him, change him, put him to sleep, all that. I had a choice – either to sit there and let Nirali take care of everything herself, or to get involved because I am the father. And honestly, it’s so much more fun than Netflix, ”he says.

dads lockdown

Vyas believes the pandemic is teaching us to be thankful for everything we take for granted. “I hope that awareness has crept in. She has it for me, even to my own parents, ”he explains. Kotikalapudi feels that if the role of the father involved progresses, the pandemic will not transform anyone. “In India, we always have the possibility of getting help. Nothing prepares you to be a parent, and the things you took for granted, you are doing now. You have all of these articles on how dads are ultimately involved, but did it really take a pandemic for you to be involved in parenting your child? We’ve always been like that and our fathers were the same to us, ”he says. Pathak agrees. “I believe many more men are already doing their part by sharing the load. I don’t see anything about the pandemic changing drastically. Ratnani believes the pandemic will bring about change. “The simple things and the way we manage ourselves will change. There will be behavioral changes in everyone, spending so much time together, ”he adds. “Some seem to be just #forthegram, to be honest. Parents today need to be on the same page and have these conversations before they have a child. It’s half and half, and it has to be equal, ”concludes Kanthawala.

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