How PR industry heads strike a balance between work & fatherhood?
This Father’s Day, exchange4media spoke to industry leaders about their fondest memories with their children, how they carve out time from a busy schedule and much more
A good father believes that he does wisely to encourage enterprise, productive skill, prudent self-denial, and judicious expenditure on the part of his son.
– William Graham Sumner
Fatherhood is a bond like no other. They have always been a role model for their children in every aspect of life. Father’s Day is celebrated annually on the third Sunday of June to recognise and prioritise his efforts and hard work that has been put into establishing a family. Today, exchange4media spoke to some of the industry leaders to know about their fondest memories with their children, how they carve out time from a busy schedule and much more.
Recalling fondest memories
The most overwhelming and happiest moment of a father’s life is when they see their child for the first time. They take care, and keep their children safe and loved in every possible way. Kunal Kishore, Founder-Director, Value 360 Communications recalls his memories and how he spends time with his children. He said, “For every parent, the most cherished memories of their children are watching them grow, take their first steps and say their first words. Unfortunately, all those years ago, I missed my daughter’s first steps due to the extensive travel required for my work. In my son’s case, the lockdown had us all together at home, which was a blessing in disguise because I now understand why parents are excited about those precious, fleeting moments. How they start to make eye contact, how they start understanding your expressions and mimicking them – I was able to witness all these milestones with my son.”
“I've been blessed with two kids - a boy and a girl. Talking about my fondest memory with them, I think right from a child’s birth, all parents are fond of every single moment of their kids' lives and shared memories. You can seldom pick and choose a particular memory that outweighs the other. And it's exactly the same for me as a parent. I'm fond of all the memories I have with my kids,” said Udit Pathak, Director, Media Mantra.
Talking about his fondest memories, Madhukar Kumar, Founder and Chief Strategist, Grey Cell PR described, “We recently gave birth to twin boys - Noah & Cuinn, who arrived on 10th September 2021 and changed our lives forever. Our hearts are full and filled with love. To hold these little angels can only be described as an out-of-the-world feeling - every single time. My wife Sylvia and I are so grateful for these beautiful gifts in our lives. They make us complete. They are growing up fast, becoming naughtier by the day, and we are creating memories every single moment.”
Taking out time from a hectic schedule
It is not an easy task to balance work and personal life but it is not impossible either. Kumar talks about how he manages to make time for his kids. “It's all about prioritising. While work is important, my kids’ growing years are equally important. So, I make sure to spend quality time with them. We (Wife and I) have divided our duties to be able to take care of them adequately. Despite my hectic schedule, I make sure to go to the paediatrician, or the park, or be a part of their daily activities in order to be involved in every step in their growth. At our firm, a hybrid working model is created in such a way that there is a good balance between personal and professional life,” he said.
Kishore explained the impact of the hybrid model or work from home on his personal as well as professional life where he added, “Before the pandemic, we used to plan short getaways, weekend activities and summer trips to enjoy family time. Plus, I never missed catching up with my kids every evening after work. With the hybrid working model, I’ve been able to spend more time with my children between calls and meetings. Earlier, I’d spend so much time travelling from one place to the other that I would hardly be able to find the time for the kids. Now, work-from-home days are special because there’s so much extra quality time to spend with them.”
Pathak said, “On Saturday evenings, we generally go swimming at our membership club where we subsequently partake in a family dinner. While swimming really helps us unwind together as a family, a nice dinner serves as a great platform to interact and bond after a usually hectic week. During the pandemic, the hybrid or work-from-home model didn't really have an impact on my personal life. Truth be told, I was a little sceptical about working from home but it eventually proved to be a blessing in disguise. I actually made the most of it by spending more time with my children and family. Talking about the professional impact, meeting and interacting with people did pose a challenge initially but technological innovations helped us in adapting to the change.”
Importance of paternity leaves
It is imperative that both parents be there for the well-being of their children. Paternity leave is as important as a maternity one. “Becoming a parent is a feeling that cannot be quantified, thus, it's really unfair to define how important paternity leaves really are. Media Mantra has its own provisions for paternity leaves and we value its importance as much as maternity leaves. While mothers, owing to the pregnancy, need time to nurture their health, the physical presence of fathers to support them at one of the critical junctures of their lives is equally important,” elucidated Pathak.
Kumar opined that providing paternity leaves to new fathers is a welcoming move. “These leaves give a father an equal opportunity to participate in a child's birthing and initial growing days. Also, it is a sign of acceptance by society that both parents are equal partners in a child's well-being,” he added.
Kishore explained the importance of the leave by saying, “A lot goes into taking care of a newborn and in today’s fast-growing nuclear family setup, dads do need to step in and do their bit, especially during the first three months. Organisations offering paternity leave are a welcome change from the traditional setup. Even at our office, we are seeing young fathers taking time off to spend with their wives and babies. We are also in the midst of introducing policies that will encourage them to take this time and cherish the early months of this life-changing experience.”
Anecdotes & life lessons
Kishore recalled his learnings from his father and said, “Three things come to my mind when I think about the most valuable lessons from my father. First, he always used to tell me that whatever you do, be the best at it. He was a perfectionist and believed that if you strive to be the best, you’ll excel at any and every level. Secondly, he would ask us to dedicate one hour every day to health. He understood that health is the most important part of life and as long as you’re healthy, you can manage any crisis or pressure. I’m glad that I have been able to follow this advice to a great extent. The third was about utilising every moment to the fullest. He used to say, don’t delay anything as no one can bring back lost time. But, being humans, we tend to procrastinate from time to time. Still, I try to avoid postponing important tasks and live by my dad’s words.”
Pathak stated that his father has always been a man of morals, beliefs and values that can't be defied. “One of the most important lessons imparted by my father to me is that there is no shortcut. Owing to his struggles and the hard work he's done, I've always looked up to him as a role model. He built his business from the ground up, building a factory on his own. No matter the situation, he never said no to work,” he added.
Kumar emphasised a father playing multiple roles for his children - from a provider and a protector to a safe haven. He further stated, “I am thankful my father had all this in him. He always taught me to believe in the power of blessings. Since childhood, my father taught me to respect one and all and seek blessings. One adorable thing about him is that although I have all grown up and run a very successful venture, still, whenever he visits me, he will make sure to give me some little money. He never forgets to do this every single time.”
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