A friend: Had a big order to fulfill and was able to do it with few minutes to spare.
Me: Yayy, am so proud of you
She: it was 50% my effort and 50% S’s [her husband’s] effort. He was a sweetheart, made me breakfast and that’s what kept me going and the ability to complete the order.
Me: Nice.. when he went to the office, you used to be up early, make breakfast, pack lunch, etc right?
She: Yes, true..
Women still do a majority of housework and childcare. In many cases, couples prioritize the man’s career, and there are very few men who pitch in with housework or go the extra mile [which is how it should be]. While am happy for her that her spouse pitches in, it kinda has me wondering about a few things. The same applies when someone tells me their partner took care of their child/changed diapers or made lunch/coffee. I ask them ‘why are you praising that why do you make it sound like he did something out of the world? Isn’t a marriage or any relationship be 50-50? Shouldn’t both partners be equally involved? The whole contributing/pitching in is something that should come naturally and not something that needs to be pointed out nor does that act deserve a pat on their back with a thank you.
While am not married or have kids of my own, I do understand relationships and have enough people around me who are married, with[out] kids, inlaws etc.
I live with my grandmother and whenever I am heading out for the evening, mom or uncle come & stay over with her. If it is mom, she will typically stay the night, but uncle will stick around till I get back home and then head to his place [he lives about 20 km away]. On such evenings, grandma makes it a point to mention that he stayed here late, and must have reached his home around 11 or later and she does this every single time I step out. I honestly don’t know if she says this to make me feel guilty/arm-twist me into not stepping out in the evenings or if she is being overly appreciative of what her son has done for her? Yes, in the past there have been days when I felt guilty my uncle was here late and we had a long drive home, but that has changed over time. He is here cos he cares about his mother and therefore him sticking around later than usual isn’t something that needs to be put on a pedestal..
When I think about all these, my mind circles back to “conditioning” – how we have been brought up, the rules laid out, and the way we are expected to behave. And then there are the different rules for boys and girls, considering we live in a patriarchal world.. ugh
Cos, funnily enough, most families turn towards the daughter to help them out in times of need, and yet it is not acceptable for the daughter to live with the mother (post her marriage- even after 20- 30+ years of her marriage). On the other hand, it is perfectly fine for the son to move out [cos his wife insited], disappear into his world or choose when he wants to be around and yet he seems to be holding the baton in the family (especially when the father is no longer around) *shrugs shoulder*
Ever since I started dating I have come across guys – most of whom were married or committed & just looking for fun. While there were the one or two single guys, there was a sense of entitlement in their attitude – I was expected to go over and beyond to satisfy them (be it physically or otherwise) and so when I came upon a guy who was/is a gentleman, I was touched & overwhelmed. I told him as much. He just turned around and said ‘but these are the basic things, nothing special about it’. My only response was – “well that goes to show the kind of guys I have been with, so thank you”. So good to know there are guys like him and my friend’s husband who meet their partner more than halfway and show us how much we mean to them~
Things that I believe bring equality in relationships –
1. Open Communications – Communicate Openly, talk things out and be open to discussions & debates, confrontations, and understanding different perspectives
2. Make Decisions as a Team – List them down, figure out what works best for both of you and then take decisions
3. Do your share at home – Divide and conquer .. Take charge, share the responsibilities around the house, and don’t wait to be asked.
4. Show the world – break the stereotypes – initially, you might face scowls/frowns from family or even friends, but stick to it and show your partner they matter.
Coming back to the whole partnership between two people be at a marriage or relationship of any sort what is your reaction when your partner pitch is in or offers to do XYZ errands? Do you gush and show him off to the world or do thank your stars that you have a man who understands and is a partner in the true sense?