the modern south asian father

Just one generation ago, many South Asian fathers were not accustomed to burping their infants or warming up pumped breast milk.

Ok, I know I’m generalizing…(while my mom studied through the night for her board exams at NYU, I have been told that my father lovingly changed many of my diapers lol)

But as first generation Indian moms in America, we can definitely say things -and times- have changed.

While motherhood seems to share experiences across all borders of the world, for many fathers, cultural pressures and ideas have dictated and shaped that special relationship with their kids. Especially in South Asian culture. Ancient moon after moon, patriarchal ideas persisted and now it feels like, for the most part, my fellow brown sisters and I are breaking those down.

We aren’t really burning bras or anything but it’s just this organic emergence of the modern South Asian father.

I’m not saying generations before me did not have fathers who show love. They did. Many of us have felt the deepest love from our own fathers…

But in the new age of this modern South Asian dad, there is an awareness that transcends cultural stereotypes like never before.

These fathers aren’t afraid to express love at any given time. Aren’t afraid to hold their screaming baby all night and sing. They aren’t afraid to be by their lady’s side at the birth of their kid and beyond.

They aren’t afraid to give in over and over again to a world they cannot control.

The world of parenthood.

With two kids in tow, when my husband and I see an infant sucking their little fingers nonstop when we go out, I’m not shocked to hear him say to the new parents, “looks like he is teething.”

He just knows these things….like I would. Like a mother would.

When new parents tell us, gosh we haven’t slept in weeks, my husband and I knowingly nod at one another in silent agreement, yup we have been there together. While I was the one breastfeeding, he swaddled and soothed.

At a Holi event in the spring, I witnessed an Indian father bounce his sweet baby girl in a baby carrier for 4 hours straight. He was cooing and dancing around as he wore his baby bump proudly and looked at his wife, all smiles.

My heart soars for these joint acknowledgements. For this feeling of togetherness and the truest expression of love…one of equality and no ego.

There are mommas here who may bring up the things their man needs to work on. That he hasn’t jumped the hurdle on…as women who get it, we hear you. For the most part, we know firsthand how moms do it ALL. But for Father’s Day, let’s focus on this big win for not only South Asians, but for women of cultures everywhere that know it wasn’t always like this.

Dads, we appreciate you in every way that you love, be present and shine.

Happy Father’s Day from the chai mommas <3

note: photograph above was taken by Richard Cook Photography

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