For a Better Tomorrow #ShareTheLoad
For a Better Tomorrow | #ShareTheLoad #ShareTheLaundry #ShareChoresMultiplyLove
The World is reeling under one of the most severe medical crisis in almost a hundred years. The novel Corona Virus or COVID-19 is among the major pandemics ever to hit humanity, probably the biggest one since the 1968 flu. Last time the world witnessed a humanitarian crisis of such epic proportions was during World War II.
This pandemic has created a new ‘Normal’ in many ways and has forced us to seriously contemplate the way we were living and (mis)handling the environment around us. Country after country has been put under lockdown and people have been unprecedentedly asked to stay within the perimeters of their homes.
Initially, people saw it as an opportunity to spend some quality time with their families and focus on honing some long-lost hobbies and skills. What looked like fun for many people in the beginning, soon started turning into a nightmare. Mental health issues have risen during this period and as days are passing more and more people are finding it difficult to cope with it. Humans are not designed to stay in closed spaces for a longer duration of time. He is a social animal, which wants to go out, meet people and communicate with them.
For some, the productivity has rocketed but for many just coping with this new normal and surviving through it is in itself a battle. Both are right in their own places. Almost everyone who isn’t employed in an essential sector is working from home. The Schools have been now shut for more than three months with classes moving to online platforms. With the restriction of movement of people, most of the households are without their domestic helps and maids (those who can afford it).
All of this has resulted in a lot of home-making load falling on the shoulders of the woman of the house. With kids and husband home, their trips to the kitchen have multiplied exponentially. If there are elders living along, that by default increases the effort for her. It becomes even more imperative in situations and times like these that we, especially men, should #ShareTheLoad.
Whether big or small, just try to contribute and reduce her effort. Help doesn’t mean that you decide to cook something for her and in the process end up leaving the kitchen all messed up. Most of the women would agree with me on this – the moment they hear their husband cozying up and extending help there is a slight fear in their mind that somehow this help is going to turn in amassing their workload.
I am living along with my mom and in a city that was under lockdown for this entire duration of the last three months. We faced similar issues, with our maid gone even the smallest of chores that we never thought required much effort turned into a cumbersome one. We learned it the hard way.
We used to cook our own food, wash our clothes but mopping and cleaning were still outsourced to a domestic help. This lockdown made sure that mom and I have to put some dedicated efforts into this also. I took up all the tasks which were strenuous like mopping, sweeping, cleaning wardrobes, washing clothes and then taking them out for drying, while mom putting focus into cooking. I did try to pitch in by trying new dishes on alternate days in a way to give mom a break and making sure that I clean up all the utensils and kitchen after the dinner is done.
I clearly remember those days of childhood, when my father would call mom for even a glass of water, while mom would be busy drying clothes on the terrace. She would climb down, come to his room and then pour the glass of water which would be lying on the side table. Incidents like these left a lasting impression and I knew I never wanted to become like that. I won’t say it is totally my father’s fault but a lot of credit for such an attitude goes to the kind of upbringing that is prevalent in our patriarchal society.
The stigma attached to doing household chores where people don’t miss an opportunity to start name-calling and shaming. Saying that a certain task is gender-specific discourages even those men who actually want to help. I would forever be in debt of my mom that she made it sure that I don’t turn out to be just like one of them. She encouraged and helped all along and one doesn’t realize how much these things actually help in him becoming independent.
I left home around mid-2003 and since then have been mostly on my own. Having never employed a cook to prepare meals for me all this while, I have tried to undertake almost all the household chores. Today, I can proudly say that most of my mother’s teachings have helped me grow as a person and understand that no task is gender-specific barring giving birth.
The Irony is when I am alone I am self-dependent but the moment I am home, I tend to become a little casual about these things, which means more work for mom than usual. This lockdown after the maid stopped coming I could see mom running here and there for minuscule tasks as well. She kept running from one post to another and that is when I realized that she needs a helping hand.
Start with simple tasks like if you don’t know how to wash clothes then at least help #ShareTheLaundry by taking out the load, drying and later folding. One can easily take care of their own wardrobes. I know cooking doesn’t come naturally to men, but one can at least pitch in by doing the dishes. These acts of contributing to the domestic chores really go a long way in strengthening the bond as well. Remember #ShareChoresMultiplyLove.
These small gestures of helping out in what they are doing have done at least two things. Firstly, they have brought the families a little closer. Earlier where they only got time on weekends to catch up on each other’s lives, now has become a daily affair. Secondly, most of the men eyed domestic chores as hardly any work. By helping out they have also understood the importance of each task at home and the effort it requires and above all how this is a 24*7 job.
If there was a degree in cleaning, sweeping and mopping I can humorously say that I am now a Bachelors in Sweeping and Mopping and Masters in Washing Clothes, even with bare hands.
I hope this new normal of people rising above defining household chores as gender specific, helping each other out with everything, being consciously aware about the damage we cause to the environment and leading a life for those who matter the most to us, the family, is here to stay in the long run.
For all those who under Lockdown,
For all those who #ShareTheLoad,
For all those who #ShareTheLaundry,
For all those who #ShareChoresMultiplyLove,
It’s not a goodbye,
But it’s a GOOD BYE.
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
Do you share the load with your family and loved ones, if yes tell me how in the comments section. Do leave your feedback on this post.