Lately, I have been thinking about genders and the roles that they play in regards to excuses or blame we place on them. Being male, I have a protective nature but have a horrible relationship with my dad. I pretend everything is ok because I have come to terms that nothing will ever change in the relationship with my dad. He will continue to be defensive when I bring up little things while all of my childhood was - If you don’t change, I’ll leave. This has been hanging over my head the past couple of weeks.
My dad says that he doesn’t like texting or being on his phone but yet during a phone call, which my mom always initiates, he couldn’t engage in a conversation that lasted maybe twenty minutes as his head was in the phone. It’s almost like he does this out of nervousness or pretends to be glued to his phone to avoid being social. To say that this doesn’t hurt me or leave an impression on me in some way would be a lie. I can’t change him just like I can’t change the way it hurts and digs at me every time I call him out for not communicating with me. If I over communicate, I’m pressuring him. If I don’t communicate then how can he care or know. It’s a vicious cycle that feels horrible.
On top of this, I shout, ‘Families helping families since 1984.’ Sometimes, I feel like that was the year that my dad gave up on his own family and focused on everyone else’s and ways that they should improve. My dad uses me as a person to vent his frustration about my mom, sister and my brother and their families and situation but seldom asks me randomly how I am doing. He missed concerts, award ceremonies and a good chunk of my life. That has been forgiven but the currently the lack of my dad is confusing because it’s like he talks out of both sides of his face. You never know who you are going to get.
Is it just an excuse that men, or fathers, are not as talkative as women, or mothers. Should the mother care for the children more than the father? I grew up in a household where both of my parent’s worked so it’s not like my mom didn’t have just as much to do but she was still expected to do housework and make sure that everyone was fed when it was just throwing potpies in the oven and, eventually, the microwave. I feel like men get a pass when it comes to their involvement in children’s lives. You can tell when a father is actively engaged in a child’s life and when the children have just become a burden that they brought into the world.
Men also get a free pass when it comes to talking about their feelings. Men, just like women, have no problem gossiping to friends about someone they have a problem with. However, I’m talking about saying, ‘I love you,’ or genuinely asking how someone is doing without it being tied to an email that requires some work-related request for a task to be completed. When something frustrates you, the right to express yourself is just available to you as it is for everyone else.
India is still very traditional in regards to the family and the roles everyone is to play within the confines of society. However, these confines are made up. Just like the elephant tied to the spike, we can realize that there is no chain and choose something else. To the dads that don’t let their children question, if they are loved, I give you props. For the dads out there that let your children guess according to your actions if you love or hate them, shame on you. It is just as much your responsibility as it is of the mother to make sure that the children are loved and care for as it is yours. Text your son or daughter, because you never know when the phone might be silent on the end. Sons and daughters, love your parents for bringing you into this world regardless of their actions, they love you.