Saif Ali Khan regrets not spending enough time with son Taimur, the actor recently revealed in an interview.
The celeb dad talked about the challenges of working late and said, “When I come home after work and find Taimur sleeping, I feel bad. We shoot long hours, but if I haven’t packed up even after 8 pm, I feel uncomfortable because it means taking away time from my son. In my growing up years, my parents taught me about the importance of respecting family space. My father (Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi) was a cricketer and mother (Sharmila Tagore) is an actress, and they both had hectic schedules. However, we learnt that it is important to talk about other things, too, at home and that’s how life becomes beautiful.”
The Love Aaj Kal’s concern as a father is something that many other parents have to deal with as well. Several studies over the past years have shown how working parents are unable to spend enough time with their child due to long working hours.
Parents ‘guilty’ of spending less time with kids
A 2011 survey called Together Quotient conducted across six metro cities in the country found that nearly 70 per cent parents complained of how a disproportionate work-life balance negatively impacts their involvement with their child. Only 14 per cent of parents in Kolkata, as per the study, managed to spend up to at least five hours on a weekday with their child but none in Mumbai could even reach that mark.
Mothers are traditionally seen to be spending more time with kids than the fathers. As per a 2016 survey by Appystore.in across tier 1 and 2 cities, only 34 per cent of fathers in India spent conscious time with their kids while mothers spent twice as much the time.
And parents seem to be aware of the problem. The Ikea Play Report 2014, for instance, found that many Indian parents, who were time-starved, felt guilty and stressed about not spending time with their kids. As per the survey conducted across 12 countries, 69 per cent of Indian parents had meals together, scoring the lowest in the world. About 60 per cent of them said they did not have enough time to play with their children.
Children spend time ‘alone-together’, thanks to technology
If long working hours weren’t enough, technology too has played a role in reducing quality time spent with kids. Both parents and children now tend to spend more time alone with these devices even when they are in the same location, or what Dr Killian Mullan from Oxford University called “alone-together time”.
Needless to mention, children crave their parents’ time and emotional presence. It not only strengthens family bonding but also helps the child feel secure, has a positive effect on mental health and builds his or her self-esteem.
Like Saif, Taimur’s mother Kareena also yearns to spend time with her son despite a hectic schedule. She said in an interview, “What a child really wants is love and nurturing. And that 30 minutes of quality, undisturbed time in today’s day and age, without your phone, without your friends, without your work, without anything; even that amount of time is enough to just look into his eyes and make him know I love him (Taimur). That’s what I think is the most precious time for me.”
Saif, Kareena and Taimur have frequently been seen going on family vacations. The family was recently spotted enjoying their holiday in Tuscany.