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There's no such thing as 'women's work' or 'men's work'. Running a home and raising kids is teamwork, and the only way to a gender neutral society in the future.
There’s no such thing as ‘women’s work’ or ‘men’s work’. Running a home and raising kids is teamwork, and the only way to a gender neutral society in the future.
I had a haircut appointment for my nine year old daughter scheduled last week. Unfortunately, I had to make myself available for another meeting at the same time.
While it was not most ideal, I suggested that my husband, her dad, take her to the beauty parlor. I shared with him a few photographs of what the hair cut should look like, and we were all set!
My husband readily agreed – to be honest he was happy to do it; he suggested they’d go out for a daddy-daughter dinner date after the haircut.
But when I shared this with a few friends and family, it became a huge deal! My husband became the ‘progressive father’, who does not hesitate to do his ‘wife’s tasks’!
I got lots of comments from friends such as –
“You are so lucky your husband does all that, plus he shares all house work with you. That is so rare.” Suddenly my husband becomes the hero – well, he is always my hero of course!
But how come all those occasions when I accompany my daughter to all her events and clubs and parties get overlooked? How come all that effort is taken for granted, while, the man’s effort at house work makes him such a hero?
Now even more important, how come I think that my husband’s contribution here is just his normal responsibility, while others think this is a big deal? Maybe I am l missing something, no? Why do I think differently from others here?
So I did some more thinking, and here is where I netted –
My mother has always been an extremely caring, hardworking, attentive, ‘working mother’, who, like me, had a full time job. I have always been super-proud of her achievements as a child – a gold medalist mathematician, professor of mathematics who never once ignored her family and her children.
She often accompanied me to my karate club, at my debating unions, and was by my side every evening as I did my homework too. But hey, it was my dad who dropped me to school every single day, he picked me up every evening. And often he accompanied me at all my activities and occasionally at my homework too! I remember him bathing me, getting me dressed and combing my hair sometimes.
What’s more, it is my dad who helped and supported me when I experienced my first menstrual period. My mum was at a lecture that afternoon, and it was just me and my dad at home; he did not hesitate to help me out then. And I did not feel that this was abnormal in any way!
My dad helped my mum in the kitchen every day – cleaning up utensils and managing all laundry were his designated tasks. Cooking still was mum’s duty, however, often dad treated us to his very special egg-fried rice and eggplant curry. Even today, when I visit my parents, I fondly see him doing their joint laundry slowly, but surely!
I guess I have a ‘progressive’ father, so my husband’s efforts to share all house work seems just normal to me. Now, it’s true that there are some things that I am better at than my husband is, and vice-versa. But hey – that’s why we are a team, right? We both have our strengths, and we leverage them to the benefit of our home economy and happiness, as a team. ‘Divide and conquer’- this is what we do.
My mom and dad – they have been a team too! And I always saw them working as a team, as I grew up. And that made me assimilate this idea of living and working together – at home, outside, with kids or otherwise, as just the normal way of life. I never thought of certain work as woman’s tasks only, or certain others as a man’s job only – because I grew up with “progressive” parents.
Some food for thought to you readers – if we raise our children as ‘progressive’ parents today, then that will become the normal for them as they grow up. If we train them to think that some tasks are ‘mummy’s tasks’ and others are ‘daddy’s tasks’, they would grow up thinking it is not normal for a dad to do mum’s work and vice versa.
So, do not hesitate to buy a kitchen set for your little sons, and a lego truck for your girls – it is absolutely okay to do so. Invite your husbands and partners to cook with you if they don’t already. They may not be as good as you are to begin with, but that’s okay. You will be setting an example for your kids that cooking and cleaning are not mum’s tasks.
Trust your men a bit more – they are as good as you are at raising children. They just need a bit of practice, so give them just that. Let your man braid your daughter’s hair, let him change your baby’s diapers, let him do some bed time reading with this kids – I can guarantee you, it will be a fun exercise for all of you. Let us empower our men today, at managing house work and ‘women’s tasks’.
And yes, for those of you who are keen to know – my daughter’s haircut was such a super hit! Her dad is definitely better at this stuff than I am. I think I will let him do this more often!
Image source: shutterstock
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Smruti Shanbhag was born and brought up in India.
She works full time as an Innovation strategist in Paris. Smruti is a passionate storyteller, and aspires to tell her stories to the world!
Read her read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, indivisual posts do not necessarily represent the platofrom's views and opinions at all times.
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'Dr Saloni will take care of everything,' my MIL said. My cowardly husband refused to go against his mother’s wishes. I was left to fend for myself!
Some time ago, I went to a marriage ceremony with my parents. It was a very high-profile marriage – not the ones we usually were invited to – but in this case it was Ramesh uncle’s son’s marriage. Ramesh uncle was my father’s first cousin. He began his career as a humble elevator operator at the TIC business group. With his sheer hard work, grit, and the knack of sensing the right opportunities, within eighteen years he became the president of the company. My father and he were the best of friends during their school time.
Half an hour before the stipulated time, we left our house, hired an auto and reached the venue. All four of us were in our best outfits. Getting out of the auto and looking at each other, we were highly convinced that we were going to fit in just right. As we crossed the dazzling and beautiful portico, we felt very insignificant compared to the big lawn and building lying ahead.
Mother was wearing all the jewellery she had got, including the big old-fashioned necklace, earrings and shiny bangles. Father was wearing a velvet coat, brother had put on a light orange shirt with a black check coat, I myself was wearing a red salwar kurta with a net dupatta. I had put on a necklace with red beads which at the time of wearing looked very pretty to me. Now looking at the other guests, I felt all four of us must be looking like clowns who had come for a fancy-dress competition. I felt my brother and parents were also feeling self-conscious and uneasy now.
“What you call love is actually possessiveness. You made all my decisions for me. I would probably be happier without you in my life,” Revant screamed!
Revati’s life had changed when, after ten years of being an only child, her parents brought in a stranger into the house. She had looked at the young boy who had wide, frightened eyes, and she had fallen in love with him on sight. He was small-made and a lone tear hung below his eye as he looked around at the huge house with its crystal chandeliers and eye-catching artefacts.
Ma had hugged him impulsively.
“Come here, little one! Meet your sister, Revati!”
As Women's Web celebrates ten years of love, here's the ten best Relationship posts published on Women’s Web in the past 10 years. #ADecadeOfWomensWeb
As Women’s Web celebrates ten years of love, here’s the ten best Relationship posts published on Women’s Web in the past 10 years. #ADecadeOfWomensWeb
Humans and relationships are two things, I realised, you can’t really separate from one another. So whether it is a love-hate relationship between siblings or the bittersweet one of an MIL and her DIL or even the ever-so-coveted one between a couple, we crave people and love and a bit of hate in all our lives.
And our writers, over the past ten years, have shared with us every aspect and every kind of relationship. Be it finding the first love or their soulmate or writing sassy scathing letters to a toxic MIL or even being best friends with their sisters-in-law, we have them all.
We talk about feminism, education, equal rights, equal responsibilities and everything in and around it but unfortunately, we never talk about the reasons why women's abuse is still so common in our society.
We talk about feminism, education, equal rights, equal responsibilities and everything in and around it but unfortunately, we never talk about the reasons why women’s abuse is still so common in our society.
I was sipping my coffee while reading some news online, when my eyes saw a statement flashing “I killed her because she was not behaving like an obedient wife.” It caught my attention and I immediately clicked on the link to read the whole article and found that a 35 year old man from Mumbai killed his wife as a fight broke out between them one night where the wife was replying to her husband’s arguments with courage. He asked her to move out of his life and house, which she agreed to, and told him that she will leave the house first thing in the morning.
This was not the first time when this was happening between them with the only difference that from the last two incidents, she had started replying to whatever nonsense he uttered while he was angry instead of keeping mum. He took it as an insult to his manhood and while she was sleeping during the night, he started stabbing her from the back and killed her.