When Indian men become a dad, there often is a transformation that happens. Many husbands seems to lapse into the old stereotypical daddy model. This often results in a growing gap between husband and wife. Here are some tips for dads on how to remain a good husband.
1. Do not forget that you are a husband
You have added a new role of "dad" to your current roles. But that does not replace your role of "husband". That will remain one of your primary roles and comes with its own responsibilities.
2. Your mother does not know all about parenting
When writing this blog post, we debated whether this should be Tip #1 or not. But then we decided to leave it where it is. There is nothing more detrimental to your relationship with your wife, than to claim or advise your wife that your mother's way is the best way to parent your child. Remember, times have changed since your mother brought you up. And even if your mother is right, do not point that our to your wife, in front of your mother!
3. Child rearing is your job too
Dads have a great responsibility and role in bringing up children. Along with mom, you are one of the two role models that your child looks up to. Get involved in bringing up your child. From changing diapers to playing with them to helping them finish their homework. Your involvement will strengthen your relationship with your wife.
4. Give Mom a break from the kids
If despite your attempts, mom does the bulk of the work with the kids, try and give her a break whenever possible. Remember that spending time with children can wear one down. Read our article - Dads - 10 Ways to give mom a break from the kids.
5. Spend time with your wife, alone
Whether you live in a joint family or not, it is always difficult to find time to talk unless you make a conscious attempt to find that time. And nothing improves relationships better than talking. There are many way to do this. Take your wife out to a restaurant while your parents or parents-in-law take care of the children. Or go to a movie. If you do not have family to take care of children, find another couple with who you can take turns taking care of both sets of children. If you cannot do these, then find an activity which your wife does alone and make time around it. For example, if she gets up early to cook, get up early with her and talk to her while she is cooking in the kitchen.
6. Say Thanks to your wife. Show you are grateful.
Often moms complain that it is not the hard work that bothers them. It is the fact that no one recognizes it. Think about all the things mom takes care of - food, clothes, books, homework, playdates, family functions, doctors, classes. Never forget this. Make sure you acknowledge her contributions directly to her. A simple thanks would be great. But even more important, do not trivialize her efforts saying "What's the big deal with what you do?"
7. Don't forget Mother's Day
While Mother's Day is only one day of the year, celebrate it with your children and make your wife feel special.
8. Continue to focus on your common interests
Think back to how you and your wife spent time before kids. What were all the common interests you had. Did you like going to the beach and having chaat/icecream, did you enjoy movies, did you like gossiping, did you like the same authors? Remember to keep that interest going.
9. Small gifts. Large impact.
Keep the romance in the relationship. Surprise your wife with small gifts - an earring, a book. And if you are brave, you can even get clothes :-) It does not have to be expensive, it just has to be thoughtful. Paraphrasing an ad "Remind her why she fell in love with you".
10. Celebrate anniversaries
Of course the wedding anniversaries are the big ones. Do something special. But don't forget the small ones you used to celebrate before you had kids. Your first movie together. Your first kiss. Put these in your calendar so you won't forget.
11. Maintain a fun sexual relationship
And while this is the most obvious, it also often becomes the most ignored as excuses seem to come up from all possible directions. And before you know it the magic is lost. Keep this mind and don't forget to have fun.
Remember, a relationship between husband and wife can easily weaken if enough effort is not put into it. As a dad, you need to do your part. Good luck.