Growing up in a typical Indian household, where the mother does the household chores and the father goes to office are cultural influences that we grow up with. It is all around us, it is the “normal” way to live and no one really realises its implications. This thought process is seamlessly carried on from one generation to the next, till one day a sudden realisation / movement / campaign makes us think outside the box.
As a mother of two boys, my long term goals for them are really a good education, active sports involvement and being a compassionate human being. In this bigger goals scenario, I have unconsciously lost out on teaching them essential life skills. Life skills such as doing your own bed, helping out at home by doing the laundry load, setting up the dinner table and for younger children, winding up your toys in my opinion is something that forms the culture of the house.
The burden most evidently falls on the mother who is the primary care giver. While co-parenting and other buzzwords are getting peppered in, how much of this is honestly being followed? The #sharetheload campaign by Ariel brought to light so many of the issues and made me realise it is not only ok to ask for help. but also to expect it.
As parents, we are all tired. We each shoulder several responsibilities. However, I realised that managing the home and every chore that invariably comes with it, fell on my shoulders. On a weekend while my kids were busy playing football with their dad, I was too busy straightening up the house. When we had guests for dinner, I was the one in the kitchen serving up the dishes while my family sat around the sofa and chit chatted. Everyone says join us in the fun, but who will do the work?
The #sharetheload campaign by Ariel really brought to light the glaring gender inequality that is prevalent even in our progressive households. It gets passed on from one generation to the next and is the accepted norm. I saw it in the subtle differences being raised alongside a brother and now with my two sons who neither I nor my husband have ever really encouraged to pick up their dinner plate or set their wardrobe right.
The Sons share the load ad by Ariel struck a chord with me and I realised it’s time to take charge and initiate change. It is never too late. And as part of this, we now have some very positive outcomes in our little home. I ask my boys to help segregate the laundry load with me. Used clothes go into the wash pile and it is their job to load up the machine. I add the liquid detergent and once done, we jointly hang it to dry. On weekends I encourage my husband to take charge while I sit back with a cup of coffee.
It is my hope that through awareness created by share the load movement, the sons of today, will grow up to be husbands of tomorrow who would want to nurture an equal partnership marriage. It is time to do away with unspoken social conditioning and move towards a more conscious society.