Share the load activity



 Our washing machine is not working because of overload.It has a capacity of 6kgs and we stuff clothes upto 8-9kgs.It is dead.We need a new one.

SCENE 2 : 
A young woman, in her mid-thirties came to me with complaints of sleeplessness, irritation and depression. She had been married for 7-8 years and had two kids.
During our conversation, I came to know that she had quit her job at the time of her marriage. Her husband has a very time-consuming and tedious job. Even when he comes back home, he’s just sitting with his laptop. She has been managing the house pretty much on her own. She does have help who comes to cook ,but her demands and tantrums also come with her. 
When she tries to talk to her husband, he gets irritated and says, she has nothing else to talk about except maid and house troubles.
 She said that she felt tired most of the day and was unable to sleep during the nights. Her round the clock schedule leaves her with no time and energy to go out and recharge herself. With not much support ,she felt overloaded and drained and depressed.

MOM : Why don’t you join Shashi aunty’s cookery classes? It’s high time you learn to cook! What will you do after marriage?
Me : Ma please ya!You know that I do know how to cook!I just don’t like doing it on a daily basis.I don’t really enjoy it.But it’s not like I can’t cook at all!And what is this marriage thing?Suddenly I am expected to learn so many things!You never say this to Bhai!He should also know how to cook.After all, everyone needs food.
Mom : Don’t be stupid.You’re a girl and sooner or later you will get married.You should know how to run the house-hold and other things.How will you manage?
Me : Not fair.I know I have to manage ‘my own house’ as you say. But, I will get married,not join a company where my roles and responsibilities are written in ink! 
Mom : Uff! Tumse baat karna bekaar hai. (It’s impossible to talk to you!)

What do all these scenarios have in common? Let me elaborate-

1.Managing the house is solely a woman's job (Thank you society for bestowing this wonderful opportunity upon us..or is it God ?)

2. A man has only a few 'very important and prestigious' jobs - Go to office, earn money, give money to the wife for household expenses, attend social events (housework-the wife manages so well!)

3. The possibility of overload exists only for machines. Ladies-you have a duty.(Women were born to do this!God’s blessings are always with us!So please quit the cribbing and get me a coffee!)

4. Even though a husband and wife are 'partners', it's just a fancy term.

Am I saying something blasphemous? Is this not true? No matter how forward and progressive we’d like ourselves to be,it is so deeply ingrained in us that we don’t even realize when and how we’re putting it into practice.

For instance, that couple who came to me.The husband was a very sweet and considerate person. He  just wasn't being able to realize that his wife wasn't cribbing for the sake of it,she was asking for help.After all, it was their house,their problems. She could’ve gone to her friends or neighbors but she didn't want her household issues to become a neighborhood gossip topic. 
All she wanted was a patient ear.And every time the husband snapped and said, “I work all day and I’m tired and your nagging is the last thing I want. Please let me work”, it broke her heart.Was she doing something inconsequential everyday?She gave up her job for their marriage and now she started feeling,there was no marriage..

My constant arguments with my mom about cooking and managing the house, they irk me.What is this ‘you should know this,that’? I haven’t heard a boy being given this kind of a lecture.My brother can cook and can manage things on his own because our parents have taught us and treat us equally.Still, the issue of marriage opens up a different world.
Marriage by definition is the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.

It’s a union of compliments, equals,partners and not of superiority and division.Nature has defined roles for a man and woman-Provider and Nurturer respectively. But I don’t think nature said “Don’t help each other beyond this”. If the woman can take on the role of a provider at times, why can’t men explore their nurturing side?

Well, they can and when they do, it’s heart warming.
Like in the movie Mary Kom(and in her real life of course!),the husband did a splendid job of being a father and husband and letting Mary Kom pursue her dreams. And Mary too knew when she had to halt her dreams and be at home.This is a marriage of equals.

We don’t trample on each other’s path. We make way for each other. And sharing the household chores is such a minor but fruitful thing. 


HUSBAND & WIFE ARE PARTNERS AND IT’S ‘THEIR HOUSE’. When single, men don’t mind washing their own clothes, keeping the house clean, dealing with the domestic help, cooking etc. Once married, it conveniently changes to "It’s not my job". Why? You married a person equivalent in all respects to you and not a person whose job is to cook and clean. In fact, those people also deserve respect for managing someone else’s house.
It’s more about basic etiquette than anything else.


Simple things like making tea/coffee for her, putting away clothes to be washed, helping her set up the dinner table,helping kids with their work etc goes a long way in making a long-lasting marriage.After all, men live in the same house as their wives!

 LITTLE THINGS THAT SHOW YOU CARE-Getting married is a big deal for a girl.It’s like being uprooted and planted on a different soil. She will anyway grow. But as her better half, it’s a man’s duty to nurture and care for her. As a husband,the man will be the center of her universe and his love and concern, are all that she wants. 
 It amazes us(women) when we see our man’s nurturing side in full form. It makes us feel  wanted and loved. 
 So, when the man doesn’t dump his dirty socks on the bed, talks to us about the daily hassles we face, stays at home so that we can have a few hours matters a lot.

 SHARING CHORES GIVES US A CHANCE TO BE WITH EACH OTHER,SPEND TIME AND GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER BETTER-The other day my friend sent me a Whatsapp text saying she’s watching Avengers on t.v and eating cutlets and bread (you’re thinking so what ..?) Well, those were made by her husband and she was so happy that he was pampering her.

By letting your wife have her day off, gives you a chance to take her out or plan surprises at home.It relieves tension and ensures better communication.

SHARING & CARING MINIMIZES CONFLICT.-If only the husband in my above mentioned scenarios, had given a patient hearing to his wife’s woes, she wouldn’t have had a breakdown. Yes, I know after a tiring day at work, no one wants to come back to more inane problems (especially, if you think they’re not yours).For once, look at things from a home-maker’s perspective. She also works the whole week, weekends even more to ensure that her family is comfortable. She just wants to be heard.

And, by listening and sorting out her issues,as a husband ,you ensure that you’re with her at all times. You prevent the creation of mental and later physical distance.You also end up understanding each other better-likes,dislikes,those appreciable habits and those quirks..all become easy to manage!

SAVE SEX!-I know for a lot of people, their ‘night life’ suffers because either the husband is agitated with the wife ,over worked or the wife is too tired or disinterested. If we’re tired at work,we can take a vacation. But does a wife, a mother,a daughter-in-law ever ask for one?

A man’s care,concern, patience and love can be the biggest savior for a woman and works like a charm even when she’s exhausted!Rather than getting cranky day after day, just asking your better-half how is she feeling and if you can contribute in anyway; is more than enough for her.Most of the times, she won't even ask you to do anything (we're just very nice ;-).But if she genuinely needs help, at least she knows she can count on her spouse.

HAVE FUN WHILE DOING THE CHORES-I was watching the movie Ajnabee a few days ago on t.v and there was a scene where, Bobby Deol is trying to teach his wife Kareena Kapoor how to knead the dough and what follows is a song!
Well..we all know what songs in Indian movies signify ..don’t we?So why not give it a try in real life too? After all,’All work and no play,will make anybody dull-be it girl or boy!”

(p.s.- I wonder who was jack,what did he do and why is this idiom only applicable to him and not Jill or Jane?)

SHARING THE CHORES PREPARES YOU FOR LIFE’S TWISTS- Imagine this- a nuclear family-husband,wife and a kid.The wife falls ill, the domestic help decides to quit. The in-laws on either side aren’t available. What will they do? If the man has been more of a partner than a husband, he will be able to take time off work,take care of the basic things like food and groceries till they can find help.If he has also been around as a a father should, he will have no problems in taking care of the child as well.
You never know what kind of a situation you end up in,being together will help you overcome all obstacles.

CHILDREN SEE,CHILDREN DO-My Dad has always been around my mom-listening to her,sorting out her issues and taking a stand in household issues whenever required.
There have been times when he used to get me and my brother ready for school, prepare our lunch boxes (he used to make aloo-parathas everyday!),would always attend our parent teacher meets (even if mom was unable to),take me shopping etc. And that’s what we have learnt from our parents.
We are self sufficient because of them.And that’s what I would teach my kids too!

Parents will always be the anchor to their kids lives.They are sub-consciously & consciously (at times) their little ones' role models.When they see their mummy and daddy together-talking,discussing,helping each other; they pick up these behaviors and attitudes from them.

A woman becomes a wife,not to manage 'her own house'. This designation doesn't entitle her to 'super-woman' powers or tendencies. We've always knows this, but as a society, we just find it convenient to work under certain umbrellas.So much so, that the fear of rain makes us forget that sunshine also exists.

And that sunshine indeed lies within the 'Woman of the house'-who by all means will care,nurture,protect and even provide for her family. All she wants is to be treated like a human-with dignity,respect and lots of love.Not or doing less of cooking,cleaning etc. doesn't reduce her ability to be a good wife,mother or daughter-in-law. It's just her choice.

Something as obvious, as being together in this journey called 'marriage' is over-shadowed by trivial things like cooking,washing,cleaning etc.It even 'becomes an ego and pride issue in many cases.It's easy to say that "What shouldn't be, will always be"; it's not the solution. Marriage is not about 'tags' and 'division of labour'.It's simply about being together-in whichever way-always.

And if we truly are 'modern' and 'progressive' as we claim, then this shouldn't be a topic of discussion at all.Working in your own home, for any member of the family shouldn't be a burden, task or an obligation at all. After all, it's home and not a corporate set up.

But all this is meaningless, if the ultimate aim of any couple is only to manage the house.

The destination should be a happy, fulfilling relationship and sharing the load is just a small step towards it. :-)

“I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at in association withAriel.”


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