Parenting has long been perceived as a woman’s domain. Unfortunately, the discourse around it remains the same, even as calls for equality are rising across cultures. Scroll through your social media feed and you will find an overwhelmingly large number of mothers helming ‘sharenting’ accounts about children’s growth milestones, needs and challenges.
However, thanks to an increasing awareness of intergenerational trauma around the globe, there is evidence of a growing tribe of awakened men who are becoming active and equal participants in parenting. They are making a conscious effort to be present for their families, participate equally in domestic labour and raise the children better. It is heartening and deeply healing to witness this trend. Here are seven such accounts that we recommend you check out.
Run by Sydney-based gay dads, Vignesh and Andrea, this heartwarming page (@dads.of.meenakshi) chronicles the lives of the couple and their beautiful two-year-old daughter Meenakshi. In their posts, they talk about the many challenges and delights of raising a bi-cultural, multilingual toddler while also documenting parenting milestones. By telling their story loudly and proudly, the couple are normalising the idea of a child being raised by two fathers. The popularity of the page—which has 58.6K followers at the time of publication—is a testament to that.
Also read: Proud of being a sharent? Think again
It’s 2023, and yet, to this day, women bear the entire load of housekeeping and childrearing across the world. Even in homes where men “help out” when asked, the mental load of planning, assigning and reminding still falls on the women, often causing them additional stress. Zachary Watson, a husband, father and accountability coach, creates content that teaches men how to truly share the load and show up as equal partners. For example, it's not enough to just volunteer to go to the grocery store and ask your partner to make a list for you. Think a few steps ahead, anticipate needs and bring her a list to which she could add items if required, Watson says. He also uses the platform (@realzackthinkshare) to call out other male content creators who praise women for “doing it all” or only participate in chores with the expectation of being rewarded with sex.
Aditya Vashisht takes to his Instagram page (@daddygoesgym) to talk about his journey as a husband and father to 16-month-old baby Vaanya. At 26, he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Guillaine-Barre Syndrome, which left him paralysed on one side of his body for months. Through his posts, Vashisht shares stories about his road to recovery, at the end of which he became a fitness trainer and got his life back in order. He also talks about his wife’s struggle with postpartum depression and the challenges of being an exhausted parent in the Instagram era when everyone seems to be travelling and having fun. The page is peppered with a number of light and relatable reels as well as cute baby pictures that followers seem to enjoy.
Seattle-based Ron Kenney, 57, went viral on YouTube a couple of years ago for his video series entitled ‘Dad, How Do I?’, wherein he put up simple tutorials on how to change a tyre, how to knot a tie, how to unclog a drain, and more. As someone who was abandoned by his own dad at the age of 14, he had to figure such things out for himself while growing up. He started creating these videos to help those who don’t have anyone in their lives to teach them. In a matter of months, he had millions of followers, and in 2021, he published a book titled Dad, How Do I?: Practical "Dadvice" for Everyday Tasks and Successful Living. Besides tutorials, Kenney also shares wisdom, life advice and chuckle-worthy dad jokes on his social media (@dadhowdoi). He also hosts a podcast wherein he shares stories from his life, and answers questions from listeners. It’s heartwarming to hear him start his posts with “Hey, kids” and to see comments that say, “Thanks, dad!”
Also read: This summer vacation, I plan to let my child get bored. Here's why
Nikhil Jawrani, a biomedical engineer and father to six-year-old Zoey, chronicles his life as a single dad on @nikhiljawrani. In his posts, he speaks of the grief of losing his wife to cancer a couple of years ago and seeing her traits in their daughter as she grows older. His earnest writing captures the fleeting nature of life, and the seeming endlessness of grief. Jawrani finds hope in his daughter’s milestones, a feeling shared by the moved readers.
North Carolina-based content creator Michael Vaughn is another funny dad, who is simply documenting his thoughts and epiphanies on social media (@worldshaker). One of the issues he tackles in his posts is gift-giving and how men are generally bad at it. So, he shares ideas, tips and reminders that they—and others—can use around important occasions. He also speaks on topics such as intergenerational trauma, patriarchy, misogyny and the dangers of exposing children to social media.
There are many among us who don’t have a healthy father figure in their lives and tend to seek validation and support on social media that they never got at home. Los Angeles-based Nick Cho is someone who cheerfully meets this need. He calls himself “your Korean dad” (@nickcho) and puts up reels and videos where he talks to viewers like a gentle, accepting, fair father would. He tackles subjects like heartache, shame, love and also the politics of LGBTQA+, abortion rights, etc. Cho also shares videos where he ‘takes’ the viewer out for a walk, a meal at a restaurant or shopping. Full of insights and dad jokes, this page is a treasure.
Indumathy Sukanya is a Bengaluru-based writer and artist.