I have witnessed a lot of situations that are unhelpful for today’s working Indian women. And, it’s not the Indian men who are to hold culpable for this. It’s their Indian mothers and Indian grandmothers.
Indian mothers, you have to step up
First of all, at least in the Malaysian Indian community, most married Indian women go out to work and earn. They have to work at home too, cleaning, cooking and washing. But, their husbands get to keep their feet up after work at home while the women slave away. And the former’s mothers don’t tell their sons to do their part – neither they were raised to be responsible in the house.
Most Indian mothers treat sons and daughters differently. Indian mothers nag and nag for their daughters to do the housework but not their sons. The latter’s pig sty of a room isn’t theirs for the cleaning, it’s their sisters’. Yes, some Indian mothers do tell their sons to do housework but they don’t push it so the sons end up slacking and when they get married, the one who is troubled now is the equally working outside, night shift, job stress, and all daughter-in-law.
The problem is, sons are raised as only breadwinners while daughters are raised to be both breadwinners and housekeepers and it’s really taking a toll on the former. It’s called burnout. It needs superhuman strength to do what Indian women of today do due to the ignorance of Indian mothers who raised their sons to be absolute lazy bums ineffective at home. I still remember a Malaysian Indian uncle saying he wants his wife to bring his towel and toothbrush for him – his wife works just like him. Uncle, are you not ashamed that you are unable to fetch your own towel and toothbrush? It’s not the uncle’s fault though – it’s his mother’s for raising him to be so dependent on a woman at home.
I recently attended a family function and I joined the circle of ladies of the family, spanning 3 generations chatting. 2 of my lady family members that work who married my cousins were lamenting about how their husbands are total asses at home. Immovable to even clean up their own mess – one of the mothers was like, “I tried telling him to keep his shit at home together. Now, it’s your turn.” And, the grandmother of the guy was quick to jump at his defence, “Why are you always pointing out his mistakes? You have to live with him only. You want him to divorce you?”
I’ve seen an Indian mother telling her DIL who works just like her son to cut up fruit for him. Why a simple task as that also need the working DIL to do? The son got no hands to cut up fruit, is it? Engineer but can’t cut fruit to eat by himself. Actually, I won’t say anything against the son – it’s his mother that I have a bone with. She has no consideration for her working and as tired as her son at all.
This is the BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH INDIAN MOTHERS. THEY DIDN’T RAISE THEIR SONS TO BE CO-SPOUSES WITH THE WOMEN THEY MARRY AND THEY WON’T LET THE WOMEN MAKE THEM CO-SPOUSES.
Someone said that men nowadays know how to cook while it’s the feministic women who earn are the ones who won’t cook or know the way to the kitchen. Feministic women were also accused of not being responsible.
Hello, knowing how to cook and cooking daily at home are two very different things. I dare anyone who agrees with the paragraph above travel the whole of the Asian continent and see who cooks in the home kitchen in most days. Many men know how to cook, yes but they don’t do it as a part of housework – they do it when they are in the mood or during special occasions or to try out new recipes. After cooking, many don’t wash the utensils used or keep the spices and ingredients in the designated places or clean the kitchen floor – that work falls on the working wife of the house only. Indian bachelors, who know how to do housework because they worked/studied away from home and amma, how many of them do housework after marriage?
For most working Indian men, Sunday is an off day. For most Indian working women, Sunday is catching up with cleaning and other pending housework day.
Enlightened and compassionate Indian men these days are willing to pitch in around the house because they understand that women are burdened and overwhelmed with juggling their job and home. This usually happens in nuclear families where the mother of the husband is absent. But, even in nuclear families, the woman does more housework than the man.
Also, the binary of, ‘if the husband works, the wife should stay at home’ is redundant and impractical due to the skyrocketing cost of living. Also, staying at home isn’t equal to doing nothing. In case of a gay married couple (both being men), which man gets to work and which man stays at home? Are you going to say that the stay at home guy is doing nothing at home too?
The situation in the future, say 30 years from now should be where fathers can teach their kids housework. Actually, no need to teach, just show by example and the kids will follow.
Yes, maid service exists but how many can afford it? Also, home domestic service is an exploited industry steeped in crime and cruelty. As soon as your kid can reach the sink, teach him/her, most importantly him to do whatever work he can in his capacity. I saw my 2 years old nephew taking the broom and sweeping the house, imitating his mom so, don’t say that boys are innately inept at housework. It was only after my stepmother scolded him “Ithu pombala velai. Ne pombalaya?” (This is a woman’s job. Are you a woman?) did he stop doing it – it’s because of social conditioning. My nephew’s 10 this year and since my step-sisters and my mother and I moved out from my half-brother’s house, he is doing his part in the house, sweeping, cleaning, washing and being his mom’s superhero.
And that’s how it should be. He does it happily – chatting away with his mother. Luckily he’s the only boy. If he had a sister, all the housework will fall on her without a doubt. His Indian grandmother is there to ascertain that.
Let the change begin with us. Be considerate Indian mothers and Indian guys, it’s not about feminism. It’s about maintaining equilibrium in your home to be a happy home in this era where women are mutual breadwinners requiring men to be mutual housekeepers.