For years, a child was believed to be only a mother’s responsibility. She would have to apply for a leave from work and would probably never go back. With time, we are finding fathers opting for paternity leaves and we can’t stop applauding them. Recently, cricketer Virat Kohli and comedian Kapil Sharma announced that they were “taking a break” as their families need them.
Stigma around paternity leaves
A male dominated society wants fathers to ‘work harder’ and ‘earn more’ to bring up their children. The mothers, on the other hand are given given the responsibility to ‘take care’ of them. Here lies the inequality. Women give up their career and sacrifice their time in order to raise their babies. Men doing the same are ridiculed and made fun of.
The societal construct becomes an important factor that holds men back from giving time to their families. Home and children are considered to be the domain of a woman even after all these years. The pressure to bear a child lies on the female sex. A man’s role is thought to be insignificant; another reason why men are shamed for dedicating time to their family.
We mistake “masculinity” for aloofness and thrust a child’s upbringing solely on one parent- the mother. All we want fathers to do is spend on the child’s education and welfare. Males taking out time from their busy schedule to make their ties with their families stronger is not perceived well. To love one’s baby and care for them is seen as ‘feminine‘. Males are not believed to be programmed in a way so as to express their familial affection.
Men opting for paternity leaves include cricketer Virat Kohli, comedian Kapil Sharma, politician Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu
Paternity Leaves are important
As soon as a child is born, our patriarchal society wants the mother to bring them up. The woman spends hours and hours feeding the newborn, changing their clothes and diapers and lulling them to sleep. There are no such expectations from the father. Perhaps this is the reason paternity leaves are not so popular as maternity leaves.
It becomes an extremely excruciating task for the mother to complete all the household chores and spend the rest of the day behind the child. This also takes a toll on her mental and physical health. With the father at home, the responsibility gets divided equally and the baby receives a holistic upbringing.
Virat Kohli and Kapil Sharma on paternity leaves
In December, 2021 cricketer Virat Kohli announced that he would be going on a paternity leave to welcome his first child. In a candid conversation with Steve Smith, he said, “It’s a decision that was absolutely clear in my mind. As committed as you are to play for your country this is a very, very special moment in life that you want to be there for at any cost. It’s a blessed time and we’re very excited.”
Ahead of the first Test against Australia, @imVkohli and @stevesmith49 recall memories from the 2014-15 series.— BCCI (@BCCI) December 16, 2020
Watch the full interview here – https://t.co/3jEYM9zxzV #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/d0jpVSNnPd
Comedian Kapil Sharma too announced that he would be taking “a small break” from “The Kapil Sharma Show” to welcome his second child. His fans appreciated him for taking this move.
Film Critic Anna MM Vetticad wrote, “It’s great to see prominent men announcing paternity breaks. The snide remarks aimed at them are proof of the discomfort caused by anyone disrupting the patriarchal status quo. Every kid needs an involved Dad. Best wishes to@KapilSharmaK9 & Ginni #paternityleave #fatherhood”
We mistake “masculinity” for aloofness and thrust a child’s upbringing solely on one parent- the mother. All we want fathers to do is spend on the child’s education and welfare.
It's great to see prominent men announcing paternity breaks. The snide remarks aimed at them are proof of the discomfort caused by anyone disrupting the patriarchal status quo. Every kid needs an involved Dad. Best wishes to @KapilSharmaK9 & Ginni👍🏽 #paternityleave #fatherhood https://t.co/XULIcn0Mfk— Anna MM Vetticad (@annavetticad) January 29, 2021
More power to men shattering stereotypes and stigmas around paternity leaves and embracing fatherhood with joy. Let’s normalise this.