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What is it with men that it never occurs to many of them to take responsibility for any housework, or even think about helping out, on their own?
There’s that one day of the year I have always looked forward to: the day the world heard my voice for the first time. My parents, sisters and friends always made this one day of mine, special and memorable. I remember those tiny handmade cards that my friends gifted me as a kid, the scrumptious cake dad got for me in the evening and an amazing party my mom organised for everybody.
I remember everything and I miss them all. Yes, I miss those days when my birthday morning started with surprises and concluded with good wishes. I miss them because now I am married and staying in a different city with my husband and in-laws. I miss those days even more, because now my birthday is less of surprises and more of a planned event.
It rarely occurs to my husband that he needs to plan a surprise for me. That he doesn’t have to take me out to shop for my birthday gift, and that even he can shop for me.
This is not limited to birthdays and anniversaries. It never occurs to him that the tea cup needs to be put in the sink and not on the kitchen slab. That the water bottle needs to be filled after drinking from it. That after coming back from office he should take over the responsibility of the kid completely! And by completely, I mean COMPLETELY. Once in a while he can offer to help in the kitchen too. He can arrange the book shelves and the cupboards, sort out his papers, and the list of expectations is unending.
But all I have on my plate is a long, long wait. I keep waiting for the day, he will come up and offer his help wholeheartedly.
It’s been 5 years now, and finally this time I decided that the best birthday gift I can give myself is ‘speaking my heart out’. So a week before my birthday, I told my husband – “Please plan a dinner for my birthday. Every time I check out restaurants and their ratings on Zomato and finally book a table. This time I want you to do the needful and book a table for us.”
This wouldn’t have been a complete surprise, but I was happy that he willingly agreed to do that. And not just agreed, he did a great job of even ordering the food before hand, and we had an awesomely quick service. So, I learnt a very important lesson of life – “Don’t keep waiting for your hubby to offer you help. Just ask for it bluntly.”
Since that day I ask him to fill the bottles at the end of the day, to sort out the dinning table after dinner. I tell him to take our son to the park while I relax on the couch for an hour in the evening.
Anything and everything I expect him to do is dictated to him, word by word, with proper punctuation marks. Because, that’s the way hubby gets it right. He is a very loving man and always willing to help me out. But it just doesn’t occur to him. The task needs to be defined and reminded time and again.
And he is not the only one. Most of the men I know suffer from it and in such cases it is better to ask rather than wait for them to do it on their own. Many a times he agrees to do a task only half-heartedly, but I insist even then, because as women, even we do a lot of chores that we don’t love to but have to. There is no harm if the man of the house also does it. Just go and ask for it. In case he forgets about an assigned task and the clock ticks past your patience levels, remind him again!
That’s how I got my life sorted. I learnt it the hard way. But as they say ‘Better late than never’.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: a still from the movie Sui Dhaaga
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