Did you say house-husband?
Meet the new age of role reversals where the wife in the house-trail stands for husband. Though it is premature to say that it is a trend catching up, but with feminine aspirations reaching an all-time high, a house-husband is not something surreal, anymore. But all said, is it as simple as that? Let us look into the lives and issues of a few househusbands.
Imagine your parents ask you – A househusband or a working one? Weightage a groom carries depends on his earnings. But when you are going to be the bread winner, how easy it is for the groom to accept a subdued position in the house? And most of all who would be tagged the head of the family? Conventionally it is yours but traditionally it is not. Rahul, a doctor settled in UK, quips, “My wife got better opportunities abroad. So, when we went there, I had to play house-hubby for almost six months till I got work. We always participated equivocally in decision making.”
Being a house husband is a taboo as much in India as in the West. Anything beyond the traditional is highly toxic according to the social circles. We can fight it out with our peers but what about the disagreements with the parents in principle? Sreedhar, a content writer, pitches, “When I quit my job, my parents disowned me. My in-laws also occasionally pull my leg about being the lady of the house. However, when I look at the children’s blooming faces and our happy moments, nothing feels better.”
The economic dependence
When a man groomed to lead the house has to take a backseat, how easy is it to look up to the wife for monetary requirements? Pinaki, who heads an interior designing firm, explains, “When we both worked we would centrally allocate our salaries. We continued the tradition when I took charge of the house.” He continues, “When our baby was born, my wife earned twice than me, so, I offered to stay back. It was the only economically feasible option.
Is it debilitating stepping into the shoes of a house-husband? Sreedhar shares, “When I first discussed it out with my gang, they were all in titters. But surprisingly some of our neighbours supported us. I believe we all are born equal and it is about managing the house together”.
How do the wives who lead the financial wagon react? Sreedhar’s better-half Geeta confides, “At first I thought he is joking. As we gathered our thoughts, I realised the grave implications if I quit. Though everything worked out well, my colleagues do mock us. It took time to settle down with the reality, but as I look back I revere him all the more for his mature thinking and selfless sacrifice for the family. He is our rock.”
The famous best-selling author Chetan Bhagat is a recent example of a high profile husband who lobbies for the freedom of working women, and, proudly accepts his indulgence with his children, when not writing.