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The household burden is often skewed in most homes - but maybe you should expect a more equitable distribution if you are an earning member too?
The household burden is often skewed in most homes – but maybe you should expect a more equitable distribution if you are an earning member too?
What is the one thing a working woman who doubles up as a homemaker, wife, and mother most desire? Balance- a state of equilibrium where work, home and family all co-exist in joyous harmony. But making a house a home calls for love, care and hours of toiling. Hard work done the smart way by outsourcing, off-loading and of course getting your own hands dirty.
How to get it all done, yet spend time with the family, and keep yourself in shape both personally and professionally, is the tight rope walk which today’s modern woman constantly strives to achieve.
In many double income households I know, the financial burden is almost equally distributed between both the partners. For instance a major expense like rent is usually borne by the man, while groceries, monthly bills, fuel & all other miscellaneous expenses including comfort shopping are usually borne by the woman.
It’s a convenient arrangement where the load almost equals in monetary value but distributes the hassles unequally. After all paying rent only involves a click of a button in today’s digital payments era, and probably a calendar entry as reminder. While one half does this every month, the other half slogs with multiple calendar entries for various bills & payouts to be made. Plus she has to remember the inventory of the household from groceries to toiletries.
This exactly mirrors the way even the household burden is distributed in most double income families of modern India. The woman puts in place a system to offload cleaning, mopping, doing dishes and laundry to a household help because she being equally employed would rather spend her free time with her family rather than doing such tasks, which can be outsourced to a househelp and cook. But this outsourcing doesn’t mean that the home is on auto-run, because there are bathrooms to clean, stores to sort, wardrobes to manage, shoe racks to clean, dusting of surfaces, watering of flowerpots, and many such tasks which go unnoticed, but help a house stay a home which is tended to. Hence the household burden remains lopsidedly on the shoulders of the lady of the house.
Times have changed and women today demand an equitable distribution of this household burden.
Come on men, you may have not seen this practised in your parental setup because of as many reasons- maybe your mother was not employed, or employed in a less equitable manner with respect to the salary she drew, or was equally employed but unequally burdened due to patriarchal norms, or was the sole bread earner but circumstances called for her to be the champion both outside and inside home! Whatever the reason be, the times have changed and along with that have changed the ambitions of today’s woman- she knows she can’t have it all but has to still strive to have it all.
So ladies, play it smart, continue to outsource and offload. Make the family part of the activities and make activities part of the family. Over and above all ‘live and let go’ – not everything will be achieved, but what is important is your happiness and peace of mind; only then will you be in a healthy shape to be a healthy mother and a healthy partner!
Image source: YouTube
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).