[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Love and the joy of Fatherhood

Monday, March 28th, 2011

I have no clue how the last few months has rushed past my consciousness. Harini completes her full-term this week as we eagerly await the arrival of our second one. It seems as if it was only yesterday we started talking about a second child. As the ensuing months simply sprinted for me, I reckon it has been awfully tardy and burdensome for her.

Add Rishi to the equation and She can spend days elaborating on what it takes a go through a monumental 2nd pregnancy with a 2.5 year old constantly buzzing around your head. Don’t bother adding a clueless father to that equation, it gets really ugly.

Needless to say, I have been slipping by without a deep sense for what we are getting into. Of late, Rishi has been reminding me of the upcoming new release by saying ‘I love you, daddy!’ about 10 times within an hour. Over the course of a day, he must be uttering those words hundred times over between me, Harini and her mom. I cannot fathom what must be going on in his innocent mind, I do see he is preparing to face the reality of sharing his parents. Though he knows how to share toys with others, the moment he realizes what it means to share us, especially mommy, his tender heart is going to be sore.

One thing I am thankful to Rishi is he has shown me how to love. Shame on me, I didn’t realize it in the years that I have been married but better late than never. With the way Rishi loves us and expresses his love, I cringe with a sense of guilt that I am unable to reciprocate with same vigor and authenticity.

As part of our bedtime routine, I will read whatever book he choses that day and then we go through our motions of hugging, kissing, turning off the lights etc. I finally wrap him in his blanket and say “Night-Night, Rishi” and I walk out of his bedroom, just about to close the door…

“Daddy, Are you going to sleep with Harini?”

I lose my breath for a second.

I pause, “Yes, Rishi. Good Night! Sweet Dreams!”

“OK Daddy…”

Rishi loves Puzzle

I am glad he doesn’t say anything more because if he did, I would be in tears. I walk away with a heavy heart mixed with sense of love, warmth and guilt. It is with these subtle moments he has been giving me the precious joy of fatherhood.

I constantly question if all my love is self-centered around my desires. I am as much in love with my music or adventure sports or reading. Is all the myriad things that I get attracted to same as my love for Rishi or Harini or our to-be-born?

I wouldn’t trade anything else for the moments I spend with them but neither can I imagine going for months, if not days, without spending sometime with my other love affairs – reading or writing or playing tennis or whatever. Is it egregious to feel so? Thats the question I grapple with these days.

Simple strategy to reduce over commitment and slow down

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Lately, I have been thinking more and more about over-committing myself. On one end are the day to day little things that I like to do – internet, books, TV, movies etc. On other end, there are bigger things such as long-range goals on sports, music, writing, business ventures etc. And then, there are things that I should do but never consciously plan for – spending more time with family, calling friends, relax, laugh out loud etc.

The desire to do “MORE” can sometimes be a chronic addiction.

Having said that, I genuinely wanted to slow down. In Praise of Slowness and ADULTITIS couple continue to inspire me to “escape adulthood” and find practical way to stop being stretched too thin.

My greatest inspiration though is closer to home: my little boy and my wife.

Unaware, he has been disciplining me to slow down. He won’t stop until I put down the phone or remote before we can play. If I have a book, he will ensure its put far away. And when he is playing, he is just playing. He makes me wish God had given a toggle switch somewhere in the head to stay focused.

I continue to admire my wife’s ability to get so much done at home and outside and yet find time for me, Rishi, her parents, chatting with friends, wishing birthdays, facebook and people.com! Not for a day had she complained that she didn’t have time to do her things, it’s really a question of if and how I am planning for and make our time together and family time.

I know many men struggle with this, so here are some steps that I am using to reduce my yeses…

1) Accept the problem exists and then sincerely commit to fixing it – if you don’t admit, then there is really no issue – at least as far as you are concerned.
2) Take an inventory of all your activities (time suckers!) that’s going on daily/weekly – don’t get worked up with GTD – just grab a piece of paper and dump it.
3) Just do the top 3 things – for next 1 month. Don’t do anything else. Your time and energy will be spent on whatever the top 3 things from your dump. Remember to share the top 3 with your family so they know you are cutting down.
4) If you are successful during the month – revisit the top 3 – change it – but stick to 3.
5) Trust that you will be happy – by doing less. Trust your soul will rest in peace no matter what.

Finally, don’t think too much. Don’t try to rationalize it. Any approach is better than no approach.

I still am struggling. The top 3 strategy is working but still takes up more of my available time. I have started somewhere, nevertheless.

What has worked in your experience?