The internal battles we fight to feel valid.
It’s been two months since we shifted base to Husband’s home town .Given that my mother-in-law had some health concerns, we felt its best to come home and stay with her for a while.
Back home when the lockdown was enforced, normal routines took a back seat and tedious household tasks took the pedestal. Simply put THE STRUGGLE WAS REAL.
Everyday chores became an added liability together with office work. No more Tara didi and Bahadur bhaiya at your disposal. No more free time or ME time. Free time was alloted to finish the left out dishes, watering my water-deprived plants or hanging out laundry.
Fast forward to the current day and it’s safe to say staying with my mother-in-law has been nothing short of delight. Away with the worries of daily chores, food decisions on what to eat,what to cook and mostly, how to cook.
Don’t confuse me for a lazy soul(well, maybe sometimes).But after hustling for so long between home and office work, it’s a refreshing change to leave the decision making to another. Having a mother-in-law who sees me as her own and expects nothing but love has been a blessing. Although, I must admit, there is an internal obligation to offer my helping hand in everything.
As a woman who has seen and faced the struggle of handling an entire home alone, I feel its my duty to help, blame it on the years of brain washing or guilt infused in us by our mothers. Surely enough, none of our brothers, fathers or even husbands feel the same obligation until asked upon.
We women are schooled from a young age to help around the house or kitchen, be it cleaning, cooking or any other thousand tasks that there are, wondering why the same rule doesn’t apply to our brothers and other male members of the family.
It irks me to see how women and men are treated differently around the home front from childhood.
So my question is – Why women are expected to do more while men have the privilege to do absolutely nothing?
Is it the patriarchy imbibed in us all?
Is it the society?
Is it our mothers who fed us the guilt of being futile?
Or is it less skilled men in our lives who never seem to get anything right?
Personally, I think its the latter. I only pity the partners.
I am not generalising men alone, I know its the same for many women also, who grew up knowing nothing whatsoever about managing a house. Yours truly is one such example. Although, that changed once I moved into my own house after marriage. One could see an entire shift to my persona.
Probably, it was the years of skills imposed subconsciously. Sadly, I saw no such change in my partner. Even though he took up the responsibilities equally and upfront.
I see him with the same non-chalanced, unobligated, casual behaviour when at his home or at my parent’s which honestly, gets to my nerves. While I am on my toes all the time, never resting lest I shall be deemed inept. He seems to wave off any notion of inadequacy and takes delight in regal treatment.
Noticing this I always question myself, why I feel so obligated to partake in every household activity irrespective of whether am needed or not?
I am positive this thought must have crossed through many of our minds. And as is the norm, brushed aside thinking that’s how things are. Or cussing the society for insinuating double standards in us all. But how many of us have actually given it a thought.
What we as wives, mothers and parents as a whole can do to change this thought process? To change this feeling of obligation imparted only to our girl child and to inculcate it in our boys too.
With the advancing generations, I have seen reforms in the society. Observing changes in the thought process of the modern couples. With both genders seeking equal partners rather than submissive.
Many men taking up household work whilst the partner is busy at work. Understanding, its an obligation undertaken by both partners and not only one.
Even the Supreme court has given equal rights to property to a girl child so what’s stopping us from demanding help in our work. Answer is nothing.
I am not a parent yet but I have seen many examples of children being brought up sharing work equally without question.
My advice to young parents is to teach your kids regardless of their gender to learn and partake in all household activities from a young age. Kids imitate everyone around them, so create an environment where they learn to treat each other equally and respectfully without creating a bias towards any kind of work.
Start with baby steps, teach them to make their beds each morning.
Ask them to help you while cooking, cut vegetables or clean a dish.
Water plants daily or feed the pet.
Like its said, change starts at home. So be that change.
Disclaimer : No husband’s were hurt during the making of this article. All the men in my life are incredible, inspiring people and I have no complaints(well mostly).