A day in the life of an 'urban' father!

When it comes to parenting, urban couples seem to be undergoing a role reversal of sorts. Here's a day in the life of an urban father

- Baby care: changing diapers, pacifying a baby when the family is at dinner or during the wee hours of the morning.

- Dropping the little ones to school every day (sometimes even picking them up from school).

- Endless hours of confusing grade school math during homework time.

- Developing an amicable, first-name-basis relationship with everyone at the kid's school - right from the watchman at the gate, to the aayaah inside.

- Serious decision making when it comes to what's right for the toddler.

Tips for the would-be daddy
- Have a positive outlook to fatherhood.
- Even newborns have a personality of their own and it's important you understand it.
- It is important to pick up cues that your child gives you and respond to it.
- Learn how to tackle tantrums. Know when to yield and when not to.
- Reality is what 'is', and values are what 'ought to be'. Parents need to bridge the gap between the two.
- Most kids, irrespective of gender, think of dads as role models. Live up to that expectation.
- Do what the child enjoys doing rather than what you enjoy, with the child.
- Look at taking care of the baby as a team effort rather than just something that one of you has to do.

He may not be crazy like a fool, but he definitely is 'daddy cool'. Prahlad Krishnamoorthy's infant daughter Aashima, wakes up bawling in the middle of the night, he is instantly by her side, calming the baby down and checking if she's wet, hungry or cold, before settling down with her on the rocking chair, gently cooing his princess back to sleep. All the while his wife Sarika sleeps blissfully in their bedroom, after a hard day's work.

Sounds (un)familiar? With an increasing number of women taking over 'male dominated' sectors not just in terms of career, but also as bread winners of the family, it is not a surprise that their male counterparts are now encroaching on what traditionally was considered to be a woman's turf. Yes, role reversal in parenting is what we are referring to. What's more, they seem to be doing an excellent job of it!

Chillax pops
Celebrities seem to top the list when it comes to being role models for the new age daddy. With tinsel town papas (like SRK, Akshay Kumar and our very own Sarath Kumar), displaying the love for their offspring, rather publicly on social networking forums and in the media, it is little wonder that the aam aadmi is drawing inspiration from them.
"Cool dad? Definitely, it would have to be Obama," chirps Bharat, the father of three-year-old toddler, Harsh. "He's the president of the USA, possibly the busiest man in the world, yet, his love for his daughters is something that everyone knows about. When we think of an ideal cool dad, he strikes an instant chord."

For his part, Bharat considers himself to be in the cool dad league. "I think it's important to spend time with my son now, because before I know it, he'll be all-grown-up and would cringe at the thought of spending time with his dad. He seems to be enjoying it now and I am having a blast. We both love Spiderman and I spend a lot of time with him bonding over the wall crawler's antics," he laughs.

His wife Madhuri adds, "He spends so much time with Harsh that sometimes I feel left out; but it's great to see them bond like this. However, when it comes to disciplinary issues, I become the bad girl since Bharat can't bring himself to shout at Harsh."

According to Jaishri Ramakrishnan, a psychologist, parenting alone doesn't suffice. "Effective parenting is important. It must be part of something you have to do. If you are fond of kids, naturally you become more involved and bonding takes place. Also, love should be unconditional and come from within. Just spending time alone is not enough. Emotional involvement is a core need," she advises.

Although dads like helping out with household chores and taking care of kids at the same time, being a stay-at-home dad is something that not all men are comfortable about. "People who stay at home to tend to the house as well as the children. Unless you do it yourself, you won't realise how challenging it is," says theatre artiste Freddy Koikaran, who is also the father of a toddler, Mark. But he still maintains that bonding is important, "We have showers together, and I bathe him with his baby soap and shampoo and that's always fun. We also have all meals together, so that he gets used to us spending time as a family. And it's a given that he gets cuddled and kissed a lot, which I am sure he will resent as he gets older," he adds.

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