How Working Women Look At Working Men

Posted: July 26, 2018

Should a homemaker’s partner need to take up an ‘equal’ share of the household work? Or is it okay if he focuses on work while she focuses on home?

I’m not cut out to be a stay-at-home woman. And I’m also not someone who will focus on a career above any and everything. It may not be at the top of my list, but a successful career is important to me. After becoming a mother, I realised that so long as my child is well cared for, I would like to spend my days productively in a workplace and not just focusing on child care. Sure I love the extra-time one gets when there isn’t a 9-to-5 to go for – the freedom to schedule things on weekdays, more time exploring the world through the eyes of my little one. But it’s not enough to keep me at home permanently.

I recently decided to take a few months off from work and this gave me an interesting perspective on the difference in mindsets when one is working or not working. One thing, in particular, hit me really hard. I couldn’t help but feel that as a generation we have perhaps become too harsh in judging working fathers. In seething internally, and sometimes vocally, when that office colleague has jokingly washed his hands off all things baby related, have I tried too hard to project my own life situation on him?

As working women, we demand and deserve an equal sharing of child-rearing, and in fact all household responsibilities. It is a fight that still needs fighting. In households where both partners get home after 10-12 hour workdays, it should not be only the woman who needs to go and cook the food, or put on the washer, or clean up the toys and books strewn about the living room, or sit down way past midnight to complete that project due for show-and-tell the next morning. There aren’t enough men standing up for their wives’ right to a balanced family life along with career aspirations. Whether it is unrealistic expectations or pure apathy,  working women do get a raw deal in most households.
But, what about a household where the duties are in fact divided? A household with one working-from-office member.
When one partner (albeit it is mostly a man) is working-from-office, then the other will be managing-the-house and everything that goes with it. Women are today proudly standing up to say that this too is a full-time job. Damn right it is. Managing the home requires hard work, and perhaps longer “working” hours than any paid job. It’s a 24/7 365-days-a-year kind of appointment.
But to truly treat this role as work, it would mean a stay-at-home-mom should own the responsibility fully. A working woman doesn’t expect her husband to accompany her to an annual appraisal or a board meeting of investors for her start-up. So do we really need to create a big brouhaha when a SAHM’s partner misses an annual parent-teachers’ meeting?
So while we continue the fight for working women to be treated equally, at home and at work, perhaps working women need to cut some slack to the working men who are focusing on careers while their wives focus on the home.

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Nupur Netan Sachdeva, founder of the Practical Mum blog, writes about simplifying parenting for the

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