Share the Load Of Household Chore…..
Scene 1: Its lunch time, Neha went along with her with her colleagues to the Cafeteria of a private Organization.
A colleague asked looking at her as she was holding only her wallet and not the “lunch box”, “hey Neha, where is your lunch bag today? Haven’t you brought it?”
“Nahi yaar…yesterday prepared the presentations till late, so couldn’t wake up in time in the morning?”And then she had her lunch from the canteen
Scene 2 : Its Lunch Time, Rohan was at his desk when his friend Ajay called out
“Hey Rohan, let’s have lunch yaar”
“Han Han…coming, coming” Rohan said while getting out of the desk
Rohan and his colleagues sat together in a table in the canteen and opened up their lunch boxes.
Arre Yaar…main bhul gaya, I have to get something from canteen…”
“Why, haven’t brought dabba, Neha se jhagada hua kya…?” one of them said blinking one eye.
“Abe sale, aisa kuchh nahin hua. Last night she slept late, so couldn’t prepare dabba today as she couldn’t wake up in time in the morning” Rohan said laughingly and went to have something from canteen.
I think, from the scenes above, all of you must have understood what I wanted to say. At least the illustration says it all. Household chores still has a feminine tag attached to it. No matter what heights women achieve in their professional fields, at home they have to do (in most of the cases) cooking, dish washing, laundry etc. We often wonder, why can’t Rohan make dabba for both of them in the morning some days? At least the days when Neha is really unable to do so? Many would agree with me that it’s not in the DNA of Indian households (mostly as there are always scopes for some exceptions) to teach boys household chores. At least when one is married, the lady is supposed to handle both office and home while for boys, often they marry to have someone handle home for them.
Let me tell about another incident…it’s a real one.
Trim Trim….My phone rang.
I saw the name blinking on the LED screen. It was from my Maid. I picked it up holding my breath with apprehensions. Let me confess, I’m really afraid of such untimely calls from my maid as most of the time they’re made to inform me that she would take leave(of course unexpected leaves as they are taken at last moment) which I never liked (obviously). My apprehension was right. She had called me to inform that she had an urgency due to which she wouldn’t come for work that day.
I felt dejected. Well…no option, I had to start doing chores. Cleaning, laundry, dusting, dish washing along with cooking especially when my son had a holiday that day… all the chore were waiting to be done. I started doing things one by one. Perhaps my son noticed me doing the chores while He was watching his favorite TV shows “Doraemon”. May be he realized that “Aunty (He calls my maid Aunty) wasn’t coming that day.
I don’t know what he thought to himself. He went to kitchen and started cleaning dishes. I heard the sounds and rushed to kitchen. I shouted, “What are you doing? Are you crazy? Go and watch TV”
Mama…let me clean the dishes na. You have so much work to do. I can clean dishes. You just see. He pleaded.
After thinking for a moment I let him clean the dishes though I didn’t like that. I knew His little hands were not ready to do any chores. He may break some dishes. And above all…what’s the need? I’m there to do such things…
However He looked very cute cleaning dishes and I couldn’t stop myself taking some pics.
After we finished our lunch…we went to bed. Then he started telling how some of his friends help their mothers doing chores. From Sambhavi, Nilanshi to Sonia didi…he took all those names and what he had seen them doing while at their places. One thing…I realized most of the names were of girls. Hmmm…Girls are normally asked to do such works… #Fact
In the afternoon I talked to my mother and told her about it. She was irritated. What are you doing with him? He is a boy and how could you allow him doing such works meant for girls? Her last words struck me not because they were new to me, I have heard them number of times in my life before but they reminded me my upbringing years when I had been said the same thing numerous times.
Then to see the reactions of others I shared the pictures in my WhatsApp groups. Some friends’ just teased me saying “its child labor” and some said it’s my “Army Rule – a Hitler Type mother”…but some of the responses made me feel really bad. And they came from all corners like friends, elders and relatives.
It was “are you going to make your son a Ghar Jamai or a Joru ka Ghulam?”
So a boy doing household chores to help his mother is an aspiring “Ghar Jamai or Joru ka Ghulam…?”
The immediate response that came to my mind was, “ohh…means a girl has to be taught to do the same so that they remain slaves to their men basically…Right??
But I didn’t say it and just controlled myself to keep that in my mind.
Well…Let’s admit it. We as a society always think that “house hold chores (with overtone of inferiority to it)” are exclusively for women. They are inferior work and women should do them as they are less equals than men. This stereotype thought existed since time immemorial and still has a strong grip in the society no matter how women have proved their strength in every field. Just see the following statistics….it’s giving a clear picture of how our society is obsessed with sticky tag the household chores.
In my upbringing years I have seen how my mother would always teach me that I should learn household chores even if I dream of becoming a career woman. She would always say and so also my neighboring aunts or relatives…
Chahe kitne bhi padhi likhi and servicewali kyouin na ho jaye ladkiyon ko to ghar ka kaam karna hi padega isliye shikhna hi padega….
I had been a dissenter and defiantly reacted when my mother had asked me do some work while sending my brother to play. Sometimes, my mother would end up doing herself but never asked my brother to do the same. And in other times, mom would convince me that it’s a “compulsion” for a girl. It’s mandatory to do household works even if we work. Ladke kapde nahi dhote, bartan nahin manjte, khana nahin banate…it’s just not their works…as if some kind of Universal rule created by God or something celestial happened to make this a notion of the society.
Unfortunately now days also I see many of my friends who are mothers of teenage daughters teaching their girls kitchen etiquette and household works even if it has become obligatory for girls to work and earn…these days. Same thing I still notice in many families even in a metro city like Mumbai or Delhi. That time also “boys doing household chores at home” was considered shameful and against their manliness. Now also same thing is going on.
I don’t have problem girls learning the house hold chores, of course they should but I have a problem with BOYS NOT LEARNING THEM Just because they are boys.
I can understand my mother or her tribes for such educations to their girls as “Division of Labor” from ancient times had been a norm those days. Women were expected to handle house and family while men were to earn and handle the expenditures of the family.
But, time has changed….we are living in altogether a different atmosphere now.
Now day’s good news is many families are bringing up their children – no matter girls or boys – equally unlike before when girls were considered less equals. They are now equally educated, given opportunity and respected in the family. They are now even earning equally or sometime more than their male counterparts. And my son also has such girls as well in his surroundings as his peers. Can I afford thinking in same line for my son? Especially when I see my peers who are having only girls and bringing up them the way I rear my son? Then how can I typecast that “boys don’t do household chores” and they are girlish type of things?
You know what; sadly I have seen some of my friends, cousins and other relatives suffering a lot (even it has gone to an extent of divorce) after marriage because of this prejudice. If I’m a genuine mother and considerate about the well-being of my son in future especially his future family life, then definitely I can’t afford to feed him with the age old prejudiced thoughts and beliefs. Can I say him he is superior just because he is a boy? No way! Because that’s not the reality for him.
At least I think…it’s time for us to change this stereotype in the next generation. I think it has become unavoidable for us to teach our kids especially boys to Share the Load of the household chore when girls have already learnt to share the financial burden in the family.
Now days as I have already mentioned, both Rohans and Nehas (read boys and girls) get equal upbringing in terms of education, care and support from the family. The only difference is, still parents ask their girls to learn to take responsibility of the home, children and household chores while boys aren’t needed to learn. Honestly, if we will not take these established gender stereotypes seriously and work towards breaking them right now, we can’t expect our children to enjoy their family lives. It’s a question of the future of our children, their emotional needs and their legitimate rights to have a blissful family life. It will happen if we teach our kids regarding these stereotypes. It’s not that everyone is like Rohan as people are changing these days. But we need a big part of the society to change, free itself from those outdated established norms.
It’s said that marriages are made in heaven to unite two people, then why should there be “stereotypes” to divide them/couples on Earth?’ The established gender stereotypes are real threat to the “sacred knots” of our society.
The following ways, we can teach the Gen-next about the outdated gender stereotypes in household chores
First, the parents have to wake up if they want their children to be happy in future. They should start teaching their boys to bear the responsibility at home.
Workshops at schools, workplaces should be organized to depict, a family that works together, share the responsibilities, is a family that stays together.
New curriculum should be developed as home skills to instill young minds with the equality in sharing the loads at home.
All those advertisements should be ban that only “glorifies” “Maa ki hath ki safai” or “Maa ki hath ki khanna”. It has a gender stereotype over tune it. New concepts of such advertisements are should be done like “Papa ki hath Baingan ka Bhurta” yeah “Bhaiya ki hath ki Pizza” and as my son prepares, “Best white sauce Pasta By The best Son of The World” along with “Didi ki hath ki cake” and “Maa ki hath ki Laddoo.”
As we are all going through a difficult time and observing lock down, my son does household chores as a responsibility and just helping his mother. Once I said to him you have to do the same in future as well. He said, yes even though we can afford maids or servants but at times it’s a need. I also see many men posting videos and posts of doing household chores on social media. i hope they are really doing it and just showing it off. There are memes and sarcastic posts going on Social Media how wives intimidate their husbands not doing the chores. What does that means. Are men really doing/sharing chores at home at this time when they are free….not having much office work. #JustAsking.
Now a day a real #RealManChallenge is going on where the celebrities are uploading pictures of doing household chores. I don’t know if I should be happy about it or not. Because it’s sad that till now these things were not included in “Real Man Attributes” and hence a need of such activity. But let’s be optimistic and see the brighter side that “At least the acknowledgement of the biases has started” then the dilution of the age old tag is not far behind….I Feel!
I am hopeful that one day Most of the Rohans will prepare Lunch for both for themselves and Nehas.
Share the Load Of Household Chore….
IT’S TIME WE TEACH OUR KIDS…AT HOME ALL ARE HUMANS NOT BOYS OR GIRLS OR MAN AND WOMAN!!!
This is My Post for The Alphabet S #AToZChallenge 2020 by @blogchatter in the Month of April 2020
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