Brand new Parents, whole new world…!!!
Having a baby for us, as brand new parents, was like being born again. When the doctor called me in and informed that we were blessed with a baby girl, a sense of relief enveloped me followed by this swelling feeling of pure delight. For the first few days, one is simply lost; one doesn’t know what is going on. Then slowly as the congratulations sink in, one realizes that everything has changed forever. Especially as the father of a girl child, he will never sleep peacefully again for the rest of his life.
It is very important to get the baby started on its mother milk as soon as she lactates. This initial contact contributes hugely to the bond between mother and child. On the other hand, I had to leave for Mumbai within 1 week of Aarohi being born. Once I was back alone in our flat in Mumbai, I started pondering over my fatherly bonding with Aarohi. Under usual circumstances, the child grows up with its mother which results in a very strong bond between them. On the other hand, the father is just a paying guest, who comes home to eat and sleep and provides for all the requirements of a family. Well, the more I thought about it, I realized that this is not the kind of bond I wanted to share with Aarohi. Even I wanted to be a full-time parent. The first 3 years of a child’s life are very crucial as this is the period in which he/she develops a bond with its parents. It was very important for me that even I was present around Aarohi during this period of her life along with her mother, my wife, Snehal.
The initial contact contributes hugely to the bond between mother and child.
This way of thinking led to a life changing decision. We decided that we will both quit our jobs, stay at home and raise Aarohi, at least for the first 3 years of our lives. Easier said than done. If both parents will stay at home then who will earn the money to run the house? This question led to a lengthy investigation into how much money would we need to sustain ourselves for 3 years without any income. Budgeting showed that we indeed had enough money saved up to last us for this duration. But this was only possible if we brought down our expenditure to just the bare necessities. The first thing I did was quit my job in Mumbai and moved us back to Pune (Where my parents lived). Then we rented a cheap house (1BHK). We stopped going to parties and movies. Our social life came to a standstill. We stopped using our car and started using public transport. One of the places where our expenses went up was food. Around this same time, we got introduced to Organic food (detailed in this article) which was more expensive than conventional food.
The first thing I did was quit my job in Mumbai and moved us back to Pune.
Even though this was a very unusual decision on our part, we did get a lot of support from our parents. I mean, who leaves their job when they have a newborn baby in their house? But this decision was based on such a strong will to be present in the life of our child that the whole universe conspired to help us achieve this responsibility. We were able to manage most of our expenses without needing any financial support from our peers. Of course, we did not buy any new clothes for the next 3 years. Although as soon as our relatives realized what we were doing, they started showering us with gifts in the form of clothes for Aarohi using one or the other excuse – usually birthdays and the most popular being all the hundreds of festivals we have in India. On the side, I was able to procure small freelancing jobs as an artist and this helped us in maintaining a somewhat respectable lifestyle. Let me make it very clear, this type of lifestyle is not easy to live and caused a lot of friction amongst us. But the choice was so clear that we never had second thoughts about it.
The whole universe conspired to help us achieve this responsibility.
Right before our eyes Aarohi rapidly grew into a toddler and soon her requirements expanded beyond the reach of our financial situation. Nearing the age of 3 years, it became very clear that one of us had to get back in the grinder and hunt for a job. Snehal and I both started sending out our CVs and fortunately (for her) / unfortunately for me I got the call for a job in Dubai. After completing her 3rd birthday, we moved to Dubai in the year of 2013.