Family roles. It’s a concept that’s been with society since the beginning of time, or at least since the institution of a family was recognised. Each member in the unit has a role that’s governed by certain parameters. Of course, patriarchy reared it’s nasty head into it and has moulded this system into a mechanism that encourages a man to step out of the house and earn the bread and butter, while the woman stays at home to birth and raise the children. But Mohammad Khizar Hussain’s household looks a little different.
Hussain is an out and proud stay-at-home father whose wife, Farheen, is the sole earning member of the family. They have one daughter, Ayat. A #GirlDad through and through, Hussain is thrilled about the fact that Ayat and him are an inseparable pair. “I know my daughter can depend on me fully and I am the first person she runs to when she needs anything,” said Hussain. “I am her rock.”
Hussain and his wife are high-school sweethearts, having met for the first time in the 9th grade, and went on to marry in 2015.
“Both of us had moved to the UAE for better job opportunities,” said Hussain, recalling the tough times they faced post-marriage. “At the time, I was working as a fitness instructor. When we started living together, we faced a lot of financial challenges but we continued to hustle.”
Hussain made a career switch to a call center agent so he could give more time to his family and start planning for the future. After an unfortunate miscarriage in 2017, Farheen conceived again in 2019. At the time, the couple was looking at an imminent return to India due to financial instability. Farheen had a job but she couldn’t sponsor her own husband’s visa with her salary limit.
A stroke of luck came by with a change in the rules.
“A miracle happened during Farheen’s pregnancy. A change in the salary limit for wives to sponsor their husbands.”
On 13th October, 2019, Ayat was born and Hussain decided to take a life-changing decision.
“I didn’t want to leave my daughter in the care of a nanny. So instead of Farheen leaving her job, I chose to become a stay-at-home dad to be with our daughter.”
Smashing the pedestals of gender roles and societal expectations, Hussain is setting an example of how one family can choose what their dynamic looks like, and that it’s absolutely okay if it doesn’t look like the norm.
“I’m so glad that we’ve gotten a chance to strengthen a waning father-daughter relationship,” said Hussain. “When Ayat grows up, hopefully she will realise that there needn’t be rules for everything in life.”