Angshuman Dutta, Head of IT Solutions, Shyam Group, explains why it’s important men share family responsibilities. By Pooja Paryani
A driven IT leader, Angshuman Dutta has had a successful 19-year stint in the industry. And his years in the trenches have taught him that it’s especially important to maintain a work-life balance if you want to be truly happy. While responsibilities at work tend to be clear-cut, Angshuman has noticed that that isn’t always the case when it comes to home life. Men tend to take their wives for granted and use work as an excuse to not pull their weight on the home front. He also feels that the seeds of a relationship, with wife, kids and family, which we sow when we are young and capable will matter in the long run when we’re not so young and need people around us. The individual relationships we nurture matter.
Men need to take on responsibilities
“I believe taking care of the house and kids isn’t just a woman’s responsibility,” says Angshuman. “Men are equally responsible for the raising of their children. Women also work hard (whether at home or in the office), get tired and need a helping hand and some uninterrupted time and free space for themselves every day. Though some of them might choose to be homemakers, even then they have a lot of work on their plate. Most of the time women are taken for granted both by their spouse and children, which isn’t right. I even tell this to many of my male friends during our get-togethers and that helps their wives get a lot of relief, and most of them share a great camaraderie with me. Women have their own burdens and stresses. So they too need their own space and time for leisure and enjoyment. This can only happen if they aren’t constantly working and their routine workload is also shared.
“Men should realise that saying that they’re too busy at work to help raise their kids is not a good enough excuse. Fatherhood is a greater responsibility than any other and it’s time men took it seriously. Although there has been a paradigm shift in parenting, fathers still complain that their kids are closer to their mothers. Why do you think that is? It’s because fathers don’t make the effort to spend time with them and do those little silly things with kids that generates a bond, which a mother easily does, and win those little hearts. Men should participate in parenthood right from the beginning when the kids are little. This way they also get to bond with them and don’t regret it later. We get what we give. Anyone can gift Barbie dolls and cars, that isn’t what forms a bond. Also, in today’s world when relations are not that sacrosanct it becomes all the more important for both parents to be equally involved and be ready just in case it is required.”
Be more than the man of the house
“Once I’m out of the office it’s time to concentrate on my family. After office hours and weekends are reserved for them. I help my wife take care of our two-and-a-half-year-old twins, cook dinner if possible, play with them and feed them. It is pleasure and joy to be able to cook a meal for all of us. I ensure that all the stuff I make is healthy and nutritious, with less spice and oil, this enables all of us to have the same food. I also try to innovate ways to get them to eat veggies without any tantrums, which ideally they like to avoid. I try to learn these recipes by watching cooking shows or reading online. What’s important is you need to make the effort. Also, my wife and I have designated roles. If the kids get up at night, I’m the one they turn to. I sing them lullabies if need be and they need me around to go to sleep. One sleeps on my left arm and the other sleep on my right arm and it’s been like that since they were a year old.”
Force is never a good idea
“Live and let live, that is my motto, whether with adults or with kids. Everyone has their own capabilities and we should allow them to learn things comfortably. Don’t be in a rush to force your kids to meet other people’s expectations, which should primarily include the parents’ expectations as well. Learning through force is not a good idea as that drives the kids away from you. Also, kids are very shy sometimes and we should respect that. Don’t force them into situations and strut them out as instruments of entertainment. I’ve seen parents push their kids to display their extra-curricular skills in front of people and if the child for any reason doesn’t live upto the expectation of the parents, then they misbehave with them. As parents, we should understand and respect our child’s feelings.”