By Samina Farooq of Ayeina
Dear those fathers of the world,
If you can’t change your babies’ diapers because they are too poopy or change their clothes because they are too tiny,
If you can’t swaddle them because that’s too complicated or bathe them because you’re afraid you’ll drop them,
If you can’t braid your daughter’s hair because that’s a girly thing or play with her and her dolls because you don’t feel manly like that,
If you can’t rock your children in your arms because then they’ll be spoiled or pick them up because you’re too tired from working all day long,
If you can’t answer all their questions because you have work to do or play with them their favorite game because you don’t know how to,
If you can’t soothe them because you didn’t carry them in your womb for nine months or groom them because you’ve never done that,
If you can’t put them to sleep because you can’t produce milk or sleep with them because your sleep is too deep,
If you can’t feed them food because they only listen to their mother or deal with their nightmares because their mother is all they need,
…then know that they need their father just as much. Because a father isn’t just an ATM. He makes money, but money doesn’t make him. He’s a human being with all the emotions a mother can feel.
And even though money is a big asset, you know what’s your biggest asset? It’s your time and energy and even more so, your emotions. Your feelings. Children can’t see feelings in money. No matter how hard you work outside the home, they don’t see that. They see feelings in your actions. Day to day things that you do for them. By being there for them. Your bringing money home makes motherhood easier, but we want our kids to love you as much as they love us. For all the right reasons.
All these fears and insecurities are real and valid indeed, but there’s always a first time for everything. And even though they can be downright intimidating just like they were for your wife too, they are the tiny ways to build the road to emotions with your child. They should not only come to you when they need money or a toy from the store. They should come to you addressing their dreams and their concerns. They don’t need just one crutch to walk. They’ll keep stumbling that way. They need you also to help them walk through life. And those intimidating things that you’ve never done before are what makes you that strong crutch.
Sincerely, most mothers of the world
I say “those” because there are men out there who are deep into parenthood. I am thankful for a husband who’s not only an active father, but also makes motherhood easy for me. But I still see so many men who are ashamed of doing so-called “motherly” duties, and they don’t feel manly being such a parent. To those I say, becoming a father is manly, but delivering fatherhood is actual manliness.
About Samina Farooq
Samina Farooq is a co-founder of Ayeina, an engineer by qualification, an Arabic-language student by occupation, a photographer by eye, a writer by heart, and an artist by soul. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.