A Father of 4 Honestly Talks About What Difficulties He Has to Face Every Day
Mansur Shangareev, a father of 4 kids, has been writing a parenting blog for several years. He gets inspiration for his numerous posts from his charming daughters Lina and Amalia and his mischievous sons Adam and Asad. We can only envy the mother of this big family, because not every father puts so many household chores and duties on their own shoulders. And he doesn’t consider it to be something special.
We at Bright Side kept getting surprised at how easily someone can cope with 4 kids, while reading Mansur’s blog. Of course, they can’t do without funny situations (you’ll find the one we were laughing at the most at the end of the article).
I was a bad husband...
...and then I went to the pharmacy and bought a pill called “Good husband.” I was taking it in the morning and in the evening and became perfect after a week.
You were waiting for this answer, right? But despite all the Vedic, psychological, and other different advice, I believe a man will keep changing if he realizes his mistakes.
My wife did not keep quiet when she felt bad, was annoyed, or was upset about my words and actions. I became more patient and calm. I didn’t want her to suffer, feel sad, or cry. I had 2 growing daughters in my family and the thought that their husbands might offend or upset them was breaking my heart into pieces.
How my wife finds time to do everything with 4 little kids
First of all, I help her. Second, we have our older daughters who help us. Third, our house is full of various technical devices and appliances, like a washing machine, steam generator, and vacuum cleaners for dry and wet cleaning. Our kitchen is equipped with a dishwasher, a slow cooker, various blenders, and even a bread maker.
I don’t teach my kids that they should be like everyone else.
Don’t follow stereotypes. The times when everyone was living approximately the same life: kindergarten, school, college, and then work got left by the wayside a long time ago.
Another dangerous stereotype (but one that is relevant to the present time) is in the fact that we are afraid to let a kid take any responsibility. Today is the time of parents running after kids and doing everything for them. As a result, a kid can’t put on clothes by themselves at the age of 3, they can’t eat at 4, they can’t brush their teeth at 5, and they can’t even tie their shoelaces at 7. And it’s not because something is wrong with them, but because they don’t feel the need to make an effort when their mother is always beside them to do it for them.
Why parents get divorced
When I see the statistics of divorces, my left eye starts to twitch. I have been pondering this for a long time, trying to understand why it happens, and I realized that many modern men are weak, while women are too strong.
No one will praise a mother and say, “OMG, you are walking around with your kid, that’s so sweet! Wow, you changed your kid’s diaper, you are such a good mother!” Then why do people say the same things to fathers? Bringing bacon to the family and helping the wife shouldn’t be perceived as something heroic that men do.
How we manage to keep our kids away from gadgets
Sometimes it might be difficult to take the tablet away from your kid or to turn off the computer after the agreed upon time of using electronic devices is over.
Don’t use your strength — don’t take away or turn off the devices with force. This won’t work. It is much better to come up to your child, sit together with them for a bit, ask something about the character of the cartoon or the game they are involved in, and only after getting “into contact” ask the kid to switch off the gadget and do something else.
There should be daily rituals in the family.
Every morning our daughters brush their teeth, comb their hair, change their pajamas for home dresses, and go downstairs for breakfast. This ritual repeats itself in the evening: brushing teeth, taking a shower, and changing home clothes for soft pajamas.
Right before they sleep, we scratch our kids’ backs, kiss them, say something nice to each of them, cover them with a blanket, and turn off the lights. While my wife is busy with her deals, I am the one who performs these rituals.
Photos on Instagram and real life are 2 different things.
Yesterday, while my wife was setting the table, our daughters Amalia and Lina decided to pretend they were shop assistants and made a pile of money, having cut up our electricity bill. Our older son, Asad, took out all the soil from a flower pot and was gladly jumping around in it. Our younger son, Adam, was singing really loudly while trying to get his fists and his feet into his mouth.
It was only morning — the start of the day. Things look quite different and nice in the photos on Instagram, don’t they?
How to share household chores in the family
Today we have been pondering the question, “Who should cook food in the family?” My wife, for example, has a sister who doesn’t like to cook at all and it’s her husband who performs this task in their family. But my colleague doesn’t cook at all because he considers cooking a “woman’s thing.” But what should you do if the woman of the family works the same as her man does?
I think the right thing to do is to perform household chores equally, without dividing them into “things for men” and “things for women.” Each spouse should do things that:
- are more convenient for them (the husband takes the kids to school because it is on the way);
- they can do better (a wife irons clothes better than husband);
- they like to do (a husband hates washing the dishes, but likes cooking).
It might be more difficult with one kid than with 3 or 4.
Once we took our older daughters to their grandparents for several days and only Asad, our youngest son at that moment, (Adam hadn’t been born yet) stayed with us. We were anticipating a couple of calm days and careless walks with one baby in the stroller.
But we were wrong. When there were 3 of them, Asad was doing everything together with his sisters: he was eating with them and going to bed together with them too. It was noisy and messy, but structured. When he was alone, he started to require constant attention from us and on top of that, he would refuse to eat and sleep.
We got the girls back and our home became noisy again, but Asad stopped whining and started to do everything with his sisters again. While we were still trying to restore our nervous system.
Parents shouldn’t always skip out on the best things, for the sake of their kids.
What is the right way to divide a watermelon? Should parents give the sweetest central part, without seeds, to their kids and the rest to the adults? Or should everyone get equal pieces?
For many of today’s kids, it becomes a revelation that their parents might also have their own wants and dreams. And I am being serious. We give the best things to our kids. The kid’s interests are a priority. How about us — adults? We are also humans with our own emotions, wishes, plans, and dreams.
In our family, we split everything equally. We don’t deprive our kids of anything, it’s vice versa — we give them the priceless experience of living among people where everyone should take into account both their own interests and the needs of others.
Should we try to curb the jealousy between our kids?
2 sisters look at their brother. Is there a feeling of jealousy between them? Yes, it happens. I think that jealousy is a normal expression of feelings. The main thing is to learn to control it.
Actually, those who have siblings are luckier to some extent — it’s good training for the future of adult life. Kids learn to communicate, stand up for their interests, find compromises, and listen to others in a big family.
Don’t steal childhood from your kid.
If a mother’s love and care basically lie in making sure that a baby eats well, that they’ve exercised, and that they sleep on time — when it comes to the father, it’s important for him to have his own ambitions.
When Lina was born, I was 30 years old. I started to teach her since the moment she started to say her first words. Lina turned out to be a really talented kid and my parental ego was flourishing.
But looking at Amalia, who only knew a couple of letters at the age of 3, I realize that we are giving her something that Lina was missing — a really carefree childhood. We don’t expect half of the things from Amalia that we were demanding from Lina at the same age. Sometimes it seems to me that we have overdone it with her upbringing, trying to create a perfect kid with our older daughter.
It might be difficult to travel with the entire family.
Traveling with kids is a constant hustling and bustling. They want to eat, drink, and pee every hour. We have to constantly apologize for stomping on someone’s foot or for running into someone’s bag. We are always late, because it’s hard to collect all the kids who are running in different directions.
Eventually, you end up reaching your destination point with only one thought — to go to bed as soon as possible, because you get as tired as you would on the most hectic of your workdays.
But it’s so nice! It’s in these moments when you feel your life has a meaning. You have someone to show the beauty of this world to and convey your feelings to them. Travel with your family, guys. You’ll feel empty without your wife, sad without your kids, and lonely if you’re all alone.
I am against pre-schools.
They spend time teaching pre-schoolers one and a half hours at most, no more than that. And who says that kids need 24/7 entertainment? A child develops well, being involved in family processes like common cleaning, preparing dinner, walking, or watching a movie. None of the pre-school teachers will be able to teach or replace these emotions.
I am not judging or criticizing anyone. If a family requires pre-school, it’s their choice. And, of course, each parent only wants the best for their kid.
How to prove to a kid that they are loved
Oftentimes, a kid might think they are a burden, a punishment, or a source of unhappiness for their parents. Why does that happen? First, parents might think that the best way to express love is to do things that their kid needs (in their opinion). While an expression of love for a kid is doing something they want. Oftentimes, a kid wants to adopt a kitten, but parents buy another Barbie dollhouse. Or he might want to go fishing with his dad, but the parents take him to a museum on the weekend.
You need to tell your kids as often as possible that you love them, even if you think it’s obvious. Look in the eyes of your kid (on the kid’s level), use tactile contact, and say, “I love you, you are the best thing I have in life.” There can never be too many of these words.
Bonus: Business meetings with tiaras and glitter
Once I left my house, late for an important meeting. Having already traveled half the way there, I realized I was still wearing slippers and a tiara on my head that my daughter Amalia presented me for my victory over a bloodthirsty dragon.
What did I do? I was extremely late, so I removed the tiara in the car and kept the footwear on. Much to my luck, I got to the restaurant where the meeting was supposed to be held just a few minutes earlier than my colleagues and got a seat where I could hide my footwear.
But still, the people who came to the meeting were looking at me in a strange way. I asked what happened. My colleagues turned red and told me to go look in the mirror.
In the restroom, I realized why they were so impressed. No, I didn’t have a tiara on my head, but my hair was covered with silver glitter. I took a deep breath and went back to my seat. I was no longer hiding my slippers — there was nothing more for me to lose.
The result? It turned out that the director of the company was also a father to a lot of children and we signed the contract. Kids connect people.
Do you agree with Mansur’s rules on upbringing? How do you share the parental duties in your family?