It’s time to #Sharetheload

A few days back I came across this video by Ariel that had been doing rounds of social media and to be honest it did quite touch a nerve because of a constant struggle I have been facing for the past few months so when I got an opportunity to address it and become part of the initiative , I thought it would be a great idea to put my views forward and tell you exactly the reason I feel it is a great cause.

Let’s start from the beginning…. A normal day at my parent’s place would be my mom waking up early to get everything done,wake up my dad with a nice cup of tea, chit-chat with him for a few minutes and then go back to getting ready for work. Once my father is up, he would make the bed, usually help my mom with stuff she needs to get the breakfast and lunch done sometimes even cook a nice breakfast for all of us and most definitively prepare the tea my mom likes to have with her first meal of the day. On weekends it’s usually my father who wakes up early, gives my mother the leisure of having a bed tea and we would get to enjoy a nice meal cooked by him at least once in those two days.

Now let’s look at a normal day at my new home that is my in laws place….my mother in law wakes up early usually followed by my husband or me. She usually is the one taking care of the chores ,me helping her while hubby dearest is in front of the television catching up on news or highlights of the last nights match. Breakfast is served to hubby while he is still enjoying the television followed by a tea or a coffee. On most days mommy in law insists that hubby shouldn’t even need to pick up his plate after a meal so you can imagine her reaction if god forbade hubby participated in a house chore.

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Now obviously coming from the household I described to you in the beginning of the post , such a preferential treatment if I may call it that was kind of a cultural shock for me.I simply did not understand the logic behind making such a big deal out of sharing the responsibility of house chores and why would my mother in law, my husband’s cousins and friends make fun of him when they saw him lending a hand to me. When I say this by no means I am saying that a mother has no right to dote on her son, she most certainly does. But the problem arises when the doting and the caring becomes gender specific.

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I have lost count of the number of times hubby has been asked to leave the kitchen because that is not a place a guy should be seen in or not iron his clothes or arrange once they are washed and sometimes not behave in a certain manner because he is a guy. And it’s not just the guys, we as girls are always told that we need to take care of our family, the house and particularly the kitchen. I can’t even tell you how many times before my wedding,  “well wishers” would come up to me with me with a huge list of things I needed to learn and character traits I needed to imbibe just because I was a girl about to get married.

Let’s take a simple example. I for one kind of hate cooking so much so that I would rather not eat than cook and most people I know are horrified to hear this simply because being a girl I am not really supposed to be saying this. I have no clue when cooking became a girl thing. The same thing goes with buying groceries, washing utensils and most definitely doing the laundry.The only thing I can say that is that did I miss the memo that said that the lady of the house is supposed to wash your dirty socks, fold them and put them in your wardrobe only to be asked the next day where those exact pair of socks are at.

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I am going to be honest. I like that my husband is dependent on me for some things and it feels nice to take care of him but I can’t help but feel bullied when I am told I have to do things for him just because I am a girl and he can’t lend a hand because he is a boy.

It took a little while for me to actually get my mother in law comfortable with the idea of my husband helping me around with things. She was not happy and even now there are days when I think she does resent me for making her dear son work on what most people would describe as “things a wife should do” . I don’t blame her because she has spent a lifetime living with the ideas of gender specific roles in a household and it obviously makes her uncomfortable to see something new happening. But I know change is necessary because eventually we would be setting an example for our next generation and I would never want my daughter to think that she has to do something because she is a girl or my son to feel that he has to do nothing because he is boy.

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I loved the Ariel video for two reasons…one the simplicity with which they described a very normal day in most households in our country and secondly for reiterating the fact that kids learn what they see not what we ask them to do. I am sure my mother in law would come around this little change I making and I am hoping that you would do the same. We do not have to go out and propagate a cause, all we need to do is to take the responsibility of changing things at our homes and eventually the change will affect a whole society and yes the important thing in this scenario is to have patience. I know it is difficult, trust me I do and have been frustrated enough times only to understand that it takes time to build a new habit and break a century old one so start sharing the load till it just becomes a norm.

I am joining the Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign at BlogAdda and blogging about the prejudice related to household chores being passed on to the next generation.

Is there a gender inequality in your household? How do you deal with it?

Do share your story by commenting below 🙂

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