Sunday, March 9, 2014

Men At Work!

The newspaper article reads like this: "Indian men spend a mere 19 minutes a day on housework" The average minutes per day men spend on unpaid routine house hold work was the highest in Slovenia- 114min! That set me wondering if I had married a Slovenian, because my husband definitely didn’t belong to India or any other Asian country according to this survey!

In the early years of our marriage, I recall he would often wake me up with a cup of tea. When my daughter was born, he took over the ritual of sterilizing the milk bottles, mixing and making her cereals and feeds. When she started play-school it was his duty to get her ready for school and drop her off on his way to office (As I use to leave for work early missing out on this great fun activity). It is he who bargains for bhaji with the local vendors on our weekly trip to the haat! He is the one who cooks the yummy Sunday dinners of pasta, pizza or noodles!

And what are my chores in the house?

I love sorting out the laundry, tiding up things around the house, cooking the routine every day meals, managing the domestic helper, planning the monthly shopping, booking the LPG cylinder payment of bills and millions of other little tasks which needs to be done (and get done unnoticed in many homes), tasks that are so important for the smooth running of a house and family!

Isn’t marriage supposed to be a partnership? Why should the women do all the house-work? Why can’t it be shared equally among all the family members?

In the U.K. men don’t do much household chores either. (Speaking from my experience of a year’s stay at the U.K)However, there the domestic work is less labour intensive. Their cooking is convenient. They have machines to help in the washing and cleaning. Dusting, sweeping and scrubbing the floor is not needed as vigorously as is needed in Indian houses. Here in our country the cooking is elaborate. The dust and dirt is baffling. To top it all our climate makes us lazy and tires us easily.

Over the years the participation of women in the work force has steadily increased. Opening up of the economy, greater education opportunities, changing attitudes were the key driver for this difference. More and more women now go out to bring in the moolah. In the future too we are going to see more nuclear families with double incomes. When both partners leave for work, return home tired and hungry who does what to tackle the mountain of domestic chores that greet them at the end of a tiring day? Will the Indian woman alone have to do the juggling , while the men sit on their butts? How will this mentality work?

Indian mothers baby their sons right up to their marriages (some unfortunate souls even beyond that), they don’t allow their precious sons to lift a finger inside the house. Women nurse their fathers, their husbands and their sons, mollycoddle them and see to all their  needs. We may blame the patriarchal  medieval mind-set for this but now things have got to change!

Sharing of household chores is the only solution. Indian men need to “get up, stand up”  share the house work, contribute in parenting and doing all the tiny odd jobs that need doing inside a house. They have to discard their delicate princely statuses, come down to earth, help their life-partners and show their true worth as a house-holder!

Thank God my husband belongs to the Republic of Slovenia otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this blog at Sunday dinner time, would I have now?
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