While surfing the TV today, I saw a new commercial by Comfort. It shows how a mother is teaching her son that it is his duty to help in the laundry as much as it is of his sister. After the Ariel ad, this one breaks the stereotype of showing the women managing the laundry and other household chores. One of the main reasons for most of the problems in our county is gender inequality. The culture in our country is patriarchal and we have traditionally demarcated gender roles. Men are considered to be superior to women because they earn and this gives them the right to do or not do many things, whereas women have no such privileges.
We run campaigns on Facebook and do candle marches and what not to bring about a change in our society. I strongly feel the day we break the concept of gender roles in a house, we will definitely be able to make a change in the society. I am a stay at home mom with enough house help and as per many people, I might not be allowed to write this blog. They feel I should do the domestic duties of a wife or a mother because I do not bring the moolah home. May be, they are right? But I am sure I can talk of other women around me who work outside and manage a home, or maybe I have the right to voice my opinion.
Last year when my daughter was born, innumerable people including the family told me I was lucky to have a hands-on husband who did not bother for a minute too before changing a diaper. Why was his changing diapers a big deal and my duty? Is she not his daughter and only mine? Is he doing me a ‘favour’ by helping with the baby work? Parenting is the primary job of a mother even today and for most of the part, she is not appreciated. I do not remember any one even saying once that I was a good mother. Ok, I might not be the best one, but I am sure I was not bad either. The only person who did appreciate was my husband and I love him and thank him for it.
Even in the most educated and so called modern families in our country today, when a man does any household work it is appreciated and celebrated. The problem here is most of the men are raised with a notion that household work is not their domain. It is ok for them to leave their dirty clothes on the floor or not clean the cupboards. They were not taught to live without help from their mothers and live within a budget. Women have their own negatives, but trust me most of them are capable of running a house and in limited means. When women can go out and work, then why cannot men work at home.
We have to be equally blamed for this behaviour. When our husbands do something in the house, we praise and celebrate it as if they have climbed Mt Everest. When my husband cooks it is a big deal and everyone including me appreciate him. I do not like to cook or rather I am scared to cook and this is a problem for many. But when I clean the room or do some other housework without help, who appreciates? He does not like to clean and that is normal and acceptable as it is not his job.
It is not only the question of mindset but also of responsibility. Undoubtedly, the way the mind of a woman works is different from that of a man, but it is all about taking the initiative. Men are given the ‘choice’ to do work and whereas it is the ‘duty’ of a woman. A father helps when he feeds the child and a mother is fulfilling her responsibility. We use words like ‘hands-on’, ‘involved’, ‘helpful’, ‘perfect’ and what not for fathers who do work for their own child, but I do not think there are any such adjectives for a mother. She just does her job and may be does it well. Usually, mothers are the most judged people and never right.
It is a sad truth that in spite of progressing as a country, we all still think handling kids and the house is a job of a mother. I also do it unconsciously many times so I cannot blame anyone else for it as this is drilled into us since we were young. We are making an effort to change and we need to consciously do it to ensure that our next generation is free from these clichés. Men often say no one asked us to do this or we were not told. Why should they be told to do something? Can they not see and understand what needs to be done or only a woman’s mind functions like that?
Women are not only physically but mentally overworked and we all need to understand and appreciate it. Peep into the mind of a mother or a wife and you will realise it is never resting. Men need to understand when they cook, clean or baby sit they are not doing us a ‘favour’ by ‘helping’ us. They need to know this is their job as much as it is of their wife and all that they are doing something all adults can and should do. I am not a feminist but I am a mother who wants a different and better world for her daughter when she grows up. Do you think we can manage this?