Does sharing a load within the Indian household lead to happier and better quality of household, of course it does, but it is just one part of the story. More I think is about acceptance and acknowledgement.
Let’s look at the very scenario that that the prompt talks about, the husband gets ready and the wife is not ready since she has work to finish. Well this looks like scene right out of a Hindi movie or an ancient women’s era story where sister Sita is a focused house frau, and hence the marriage is strained, and sister Rita trots along and teaches her how to balance, home and husband.
Sure enough works fine. But ladies, we are now on the second level of the challenge…. balancing the house, and work. With all our visuals being bombarded by the set designers of the TV and Hindi movie scenario we seem to have some rather warped concept of living spaces. The cruellest irony of housework, people only notice when you don’t do it.
Sunday’s for me became a day of celebrating with self-pity and victimization. My husband would be busy with his work, and kids with their friends. The ultimate declaration of my oppression was the festival of holi, food had to be ready, and there was the clause that cooking had to done after a bath. That meant, washing up after 12 noon, and then cooking lunch mind you a festive one at that, the traditional puri-mithai wallah.
The drama went on till I accepted that the secret of surviving housework is simply to do it. pull the plug on the part of my brain that always want to negotiate everything. You need to change a diaper rinse a bottle, clean a spill, fluff a pillow? Consider it done. It’s a no brainer. End of conversation, end of story. It meant not postponing chores-and spending any mental energy equivocating, temporizing or stalling- it is actually a lot more restful than worrying about what needs to be done.
All the same the deep sense of not being acknowledged was hurting. Then I had my burns accident. The seven months taught me that I was not indispensable, life went on, the things that had to done miraculously got reallocated. And hallelujah the lesson of life, I am not indispensable, and my family does know to chip in, when needed. So what stopped them all the my revelation two—I , me and myself this was such a shock, and an ego deflator, my halo no longer fitted me. i had kind of become like a person who took control and that did not feel very pleasant.
The third revelation came here, the car washing, the scooter washing which was hard labour, all that was done by my husband. Well, it was not as if he did not help in the housework just as my part was taken for granted his work was taken for granted too.
The fourth was revelation was I never asked for help so none came, the exercise in delegation, and was a hard one, and then there is always this issue of my way and your way, it is even harder to accept that there could be another way of doing things that is just as efficient as mine if not more.
It was not just about getting the family help, it was also about letting the family help. It was about balancing the structure. letting my daughters or husband buy the vegetable did not mean that I get disempowered, it means that their energy is getting invested in the family, from a polarized, I and You we move to the zone of us. Getting one daughter to load the washing machine, and the other the dry the clothes. Getting one daughter to lay the table and the other clean up. Small things to make wrapping house work faster.
Life lessons mwah mwah sweetie laundry loading—absolutely top hole—have to say.!!
By: Parwati Singari
The post was first published on the author’s blog