Friday, 11 October 2013

Straight from the heart.............7.............(Domestic chore...whose task?)

 Sometime ago, I was visiting some of my friends.  One of the friend’s children a boy and a girl, now  grown ups, working at their respective jobs were in a heated discussion. I have seen these  kids grow and more out of the friendly relation we share, I intervened to find out what their topic of this heated discussion was.  I wasn’t very surprised, though, to learn about it. It was the most common situation seen with the young working couples of today ie in a marriage, which of the two, must take on the domestic chores since both were almost equally qualified, both worked fulltime and both reached home, almost at the same time. And all this, when they are still to begin on family!!!!

I have seen so many of these couples adjust with each other in whatever ways they can, when they live alone ie as a nuclear family but when they are subjected to adjustment in a joint family system, problems start cropping up, as the “lady” in such situation is expected to take on all of the domestic responsibilities, never mind, how much and how hard she works outside of home. Of course, there are some girls who manage all of that and how, some willingly too,  while some others, maybe a little grudgingly, and why not??

Everything in the environment is slowly and steadily changing, so isn’t it time that we too change the age old customs with which a boy and girl were brought up sometime ago? Yes, few of the elders in many such joint  families, today, have accepted this fact and we therefore see that the  older women in many a home, do  try and help out their working daughters-in-law, in whichever way they can!! But still, a major portion of  our Society’s  older generation are driven to believe that whatever a lady may take up to endeavour outside of her home, the domestic chores have been, are and should be, only and only her responsibility. “Sons will be sons and men will be men” is what these people are bound to say. Now whatever does that mean? Today, a girl spends an equal amount of time and effort to acquire the degree that these “sons” and “men” do!!Therefore , she too aspires to make it big in her chosen field of work, as much as  the boy does. Therefore, she not only needs but deserves to be helped out by her husband as well as others in her family,in  all the domestic chores!

Having said this this in her favour,   more so, because of need of change expected to be seen  in the  behaviour of present day family system, does it mean it is alright for her to deny all her domestic responsibilities and feign complete ignorance about them? I know of some girls who  take pride in saying that they neither know to cook nor do other house chores.  “I am an Engineer or Doctor  or 'some other professional', you know,” they say (as if what they qualified to be is unique and the only thing required to be done in this life(?)) and therefore I have never had the time to learn to cook or be familiar with any household chores. In fact, I have never done any domestic chores in my home before I was married!!" True that this could possibly have been a very difficult time to manage “educating” oneself both ways, but, sometime later,  would it not be necessary to be as competent and qualified in this 'career'  as much as in a 'career' of their choice?

Aren’t our very basic necessities food, clothing and shelter? Yes, we do have restaurants, dabbas, dhabas etc to cater to our food arrangements as a couple alone, but will this continue even after we begin our family? Would we have our infants and todlers eat  foodstuffs from the outside? Would these “qualified” parents have enough time to learn about coping with these “life learnings” with a growing family, when they  did not seem to have enough time in all their years of growing up?

So then, will the 'Parents' of these boys and girls  insist on these “learnings” without pampering their “professional education seeking wards” ?? Because, as I see, it is not only the  children but also the parents who have a casual approach towards this attitude of their “work shirking” children. Instead of downloading domestic tasks on their children from a very young age, they protect their wards from even getting exposed to them. I know of some people that find it weird that a child has to be taught to   shop for the daily vegetables and groceries. They feel that asking their child to do a domestic task will put the child off from their studies. Both the girl and the boy children are heavily pampered!!! I think we, as parents are equally responsible for seeing that both our children are brought-up in the same way in respect of everything, be it education or be it the domestic chores! We cannot expect to take stands only when issues wrt the above crop up in their marriage. Today, it is more important that the parents make their wards understand that there is no difference between their boy-child or girl-child, that there are no defined codes of domestic responsibilities, rather “sharing” them together lovingly as one unit will go a long way in  creating a strong familial bond. It is not the “who” but the “how” that will make happy homes.

Just as the “ working wife” will partner her husband in all fiscal matters of making a home, the “working husband” too must do his bit in sharing the domestic chores for the family, not to mention, the children coming in later, must, also be moulded in to contribute their bit and gradually to take on these “true and necessary life learnings”.

Having said all this for and about the “educated and both working” class of the young, let us also not forget the fulltime housewife, the woman having the “ultimate career” of them all!!!......That she does not work outside of home , does not mean that she is any less occupied!  Infact her duties are both timeless and thankless!! She is on duty right from the moment she wakes up till the time she can finally make it to bed and call it a day!! Please do not think that she does not need you all to put in your bit to help her help you each day.

In the words of C.S.Lewis,

"“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. ”