Several years ago, I attended a workshop. The women said I am the centre of my home and I need to be in touch with my family at all points. A little like Mrs Weasely of Harry Potter who monitored every movement of her family on her magical clock. I wondered whether I would ever be able to hold so many strings in my fingers at the same time. When I got married, we decided everything would be a joint responsibility, shared equally between the two of us. We managed. Perhaps it was early years of coupledom and we were out to impress. The husband sometimes lent a hand in the kitchen and I still shudder at the outcome of it. He would shatter glass vessels and spill entire cake mix in the few minutes he spent in the kitchen. I wanted to shoo him out but he would retaliate- it is my kitchen as well. My feminist tendencies would not allow me to protest.
A few years later, I became a mother. A mother to twin boys. It was scary in the beginning to be responsible for the needs of two frail children. The husband, well, he is a more confident man. He could handle the intricacies of potty washing, crying and cranky children and mulishness of the aforementioned children with ease. Parenting came easy to him. The children, for some reason feel he is the final authority on all that is dear to them, cricket, gadgets and movies. And I? I am responsible for their nutrition needs and studies which they imagine are more my need than theirs. Parenting made us unequal couple. By nature I became responsible for handling proportionately more needs of the children and the husband began to suspect my focus had shifted from him to the twins.
During the scary beginnings of parenthood, we blundered about trying hard to find a middle path of our parenting philosophies which both of us agreed to. The husband believes in adjusting and accommodating our parenting styles as per situation. He is happy to let the children loose, get them to snack on junk and not open their school books, left to him. I am a rigid parent who plays by the rule and needs order and time table to function with ease. We argued several times over our approach to parenting.
Even today, the spouse detests my control freak nature and I hate his languid stance towards the day however we have little choice. Slowly, we have fallen into a pattern. The back-breaking EMI is the husband’s responsibility. I run the household, organise birthday parties, become the chief worrier and Home CEO, orchestrate the children’s exam preparations whereas after several years of indignant revolt at being ordered about, today he is happy to do my bidding. He has learnt the hard way that ultimately my way prevails in the household so it makes better sense to let go and focus on what he does better. Sometimes I wonder whether I could just let go and allow things to go with the flow. However, nature takes over and I go about orchestrating the workings of the household, multi-tasking physically and mentally. I lament. I need a wife. A wife who would worry about empty larder, replenishing hand-wash bottles, sending children to school on time, planning the menu et all. Sometimes I wish I could resign from the post of the Home CEO.
But there is no scope for change. With time, both of us have fallen into comfortably defined roles in the household.
He is a foil to my social skills and while I am the brain behind every party, he is our social face and chief conversation-ball holder. I plan the holidays but he drives us to our destination and cashes on his tiredness until I revolt.
In my book, Double Trouble, Double Fun!: A Supermom’s Guide to Raising Twins, I talk in depth about the differences in parenting objectives between the Superdad and Supermom. I also discuss how the dynamics of a couple’s relationship changes as children come in and how we begin to think in packs all for the benefit of the children we are there to raise. We alter our schedules, our lifestyle and begin to think about how to be a better example to the humanoids we are responsible for. They are our moral police and we learn to be straight and on the narrow. We watch our words, actions and philosophies because the children are watching. In a nutshell, we become more conscientious versions of our usual self. Read on for more along these lines from the lens of a working mamma of twins.
Welcome to the world of thinking-on-the-feet parenting. A world where questions are answered and answers are questioned, where one day segues into another without a warning sign and where intense exhaustion co-exists with blissful happiness- the true signs of parenting.
Double Trouble Double Fun is Riti Prasad’s hilarious, realistic and tell-all chronicle of raising twins during their early childhood. She delivers an irreverent insider’s account of parenting through a decade that has seen the best and the worst of parenting theories, the boom of internet moms, the battle between working and stay-at-home moms as well as other parenting after-shocks.
In her thought-provoking memoir, she questions accepted parenting norms and expectations, struggles to come to terms with the ever-expanding scope of motherhood and races against time to fulfil them.
Sifting through memories of her parenting tactics and theories, Riti delivers a power-packed punch of a book that negotiates through challenges of pregnancy and parenting, pearls of wisdom, nuggets of humour, screams of frustration, sighs of exasperation and tears of joy and disappointment in equal measures.
Written through the lens of a career-invested, borderline-workaholic and delegation-savvy mom, this book shares a parenting journey navigating through poopy diapers, potty training, balanced diets, tiring holidays, PTA meetings, workplace triumphs and disappointments.