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The author enumerates various reasons as to why husbands do not help women in everyday household work as much as they should. Read on!
It was the “Nth” time in this month that I was fuming with anger while travelling to office in the morning. The reason was also predictably related to the husband – that he didn’t put his towel to dry, that he forgot to get the medicines, that he left the bathroom like a trash bin, etc etc. I calmed down when I got immersed in my work. However, this time I was really amused with the fact that even after so many years of explaining, discussions, arguments, instructions and yelling how our Indian men are still unreliable when it came to household work. And that hurt.
“My husband does not know a thing about house work”.
“Mere to pati ghar ke kaam mei to kuch bhi help nahi karte.”
These are common sentences one hears so often. Sad. But really – when it comes to any household work – be it routine chores, getting the medicines, grocery shopping, drying the laundry, cleaning, organizing, arranging, anything ; the men suck. Period.
Women crib, sulk, cry, wallow in self pity. But nothing helps. And there is no end.
My man has evolved to an unbelievable magnitude when it comes to understanding my psychological and emotional needs or supporting and encouraging me. But, when I tell him to do anything about grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking – I am sure he will still surely miss the bus. And this even after a decade of marital life.
I am not saying all the men are miserable with house work – there are of course some brilliant exceptions. However, majority of the Indian husbands are still their “Mumma ka laadla” and miles away from efficiently managing the household responsibilities and tasks. No doubt they are willing to change and are taking huge efforts on that path. But considering our up-bringing, our socio-cultural situation, our traditions and mindsets, they are far away from reaching their goals.
Throughout my journey as a married woman and observing, discussing, watching many of the 21st century couples, I have come to the conclusion that there are some basic obstacles and hindrances which do not let the man change/evolve/alter his habits. These obstacles might not be very obvious but stem out from years of deep rooted prejudices or family culture.
Here I am listing down some of the major reasons.
As I said, these might not be the case with every man around. If some men are naturally evolved and help their wives without pushing, God bless them. I hope they share their experience and wisdom with the rest of their community and earn the blessings of lakhs of women.
However surprising this may sound but it’s the fact of the times. Almost 90 percent of the men do not know that they are expected to do some work inside their own homes, that it requires a great deal of efforts to keep their home functioning without a break. They are completely unaware that the reason their wives sulk five out of the seven days in a week is because they don’t help in the house. And the closest reason I could find for such blessed ignorance is men didn’t have to do it before getting married. “Mujhe kuch karna hi nahi padaa”. Of course. Their mothers, aunts, sisters and even bhabhis didn’t ever let them realize how they were managing the whole household without a single assistance from the men of the house. Sadly, the wife now has to bear the brunt. And the best solution is – Forget the sulking. Just speak those three damn words – I WANT HELP.
This is especially true for the men who are willing to change and help. But, the moment the man starts clearing the dishes after the dinner; the matriarch comes running in full swing. “Tum kyu kar rahe ho beta. You are so tired. Let me do it. You take rest”. You see ?? So the wife is not tired, she doesn’t need rest. The man feels its important that the work is done, not who does the work. What he doesn’t know is today mummy helped with the dishes but tomorrow it will again come back to his wife. I have seen countless homes where the men are not encouraged for doing household work just because of the over protective and pampering mothers who still think its not their son’s job to help their wives. I sympathize with such wives. But, the best way to work around such a situation is for men to be firm with their mothers and support their wives. After all, its not just some random work here and there, it’s the question of how you want to set up a pattern for coming so many years.
Now let us accept one thing – men are not handed serious responsibility which, if not done, will bring the entire house to a standstill. If a man forgets to bring some grocery – nothing happens. And they get away with it. But what if a woman simply forgets to cook – the entire house goes hungry. And angry as well. So every once in a while, the men have the luxury to forget their task. And when they realize that it doesn’t actually create some immediate crisis, they don’t take it seriously. But women take it as a personal insult, loss, defeat and THEY SULK. I wonder why don’t women hand over more serious tasks to men. For eg: Ask your man to feed the child. There is no chance he will forget it. And if he does, the child will make sure that his dear daddy remembers it for the rest of his life. Also, the men will understand the importance of completing the tasks at the right time. Ek teer do nishan. Isnt it?
So I was frustrated, angry, fuming and sulking in the morning just because my man didn’t do some trivial task. In retrospect when I think, I feel my rage was unwarranted. But I have also realized that it was not targeted at my husband in the first place, it was targeted at my own life. What I mean is, women get frustrated because of the “unfairness” of their lives in general. They get angry because they have to deal with a thousand tasks every day and how men can get away with not doing even a couple of simple tasks.. Women compare their lives with their men and conclude how they are the tired, overworked, burdened “bechari naaris” and how their men are having a blast. But honesty, women shouldn’t blame anyone but themselves. Its always best to outsource some of the less important tasks. Prioritize. And if women still find there are tasks which are pending then let them be. But no point in being the big-hearted super woman and then get irritated if you can’t handle the stress later.
This is a global crisis without a doubt. So many women just give up the entire exercise to domesticate their men only because the men don’t follow their instructions. As if the women do. How many times will a wife listen to a man and do exactly what she is asked to? Almost never. There has to be an inherent difference of choice, methods, opinions, style between the man and a woman and that’s what makes it interesting. But this is easier said than done. And women then resort to micro managing and telling and instructing their men at every stage. One of my dear friends had a fight with her husband only because he didn’t arrange the grocery as she had instructed. PLEASE. Men will be men. They will not turn into a maid whom one can keep on irritating every day. They need time, space and the freedom to do it their way. Women better accept it. Why not enjoy the book and the coffee while the husband arranges the laundry in the wardrobe?
So if a man, even after hundred reminders does not arrange his wardrobe, it clearly means it is not important to him. Women should accept that the things which are important to them might not appear even on number 20 of their men’s priority list. The best way is to leave it at that. There is no point in raising your blood pressure and think of the husband being insensitive and cruel because somethings aren’t really important. How a man wants to keep his personal wardrobe is his business. Why not to feel happy about your own wardrobe. Or better have some ice tea and chill.
All in all, I would say, it’s a great process for a woman to help remove these obstacles and help the men become equal partners in managing the household.
I wouldn’t say that I am an expert on the topic. However, I am definitely giving it a try. At least this can give me good mornings and better nights.
So when are you starting?
Image Source: Unsplash
I totally agree with you… but it’s the Culture and the brought-up that is to blame…women in Indian culture are suppose to be at home and men should go out for work,that’s “PARAMPARA”… but that’s a different story now…I must say you have perceived very minutely (how some men are..) great writing… best regard.. Lots Of love to “Your Princess”..
All I want to say is we can’t just like that normalise their irresponsibility with all these reasons and let them get away with our own justifications. If women compare themselves with the ease of men and get irritated, it is moral anger. It is definitely something to be irritated. If men don’t do a particular thing after several reminders, it’s not important for them? I would like to ask, What IS important for them in the house? NOTHING. They can get away with this justification even for not washing their own plates and cups. If we keep giving justifications to reinforce that it’s OK for them to be irresponsible like this, they are never going to change. It’s time we strongly say “It’s NOT OK”.
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