Dear Husband, Let's Share The Load
Travelling 4 hours every day for work and managing a house with a 10-month old is no easy job. It's tiring on the first three days of the week, exhausting on Thursdays and pushes you to escape to far-off places on Fridays. So getting a little help with household chores would be great in many ways. My husband does help around the house, BUT only when asked.
While managing the house on a particularly stressful day, I confronted my husband about not helping me. To which he replied, “You should have asked. I would have helped.”
This must be a common scene in many households. But do men know why we don't ask for help? Or rather cannot ask? There is more than one reason.
One is that plans don't always go the way you want them to. You go to make the bed, but find your kid's toys all over the room. You go to stuff them in the cupboard, but find the clothes in a disarray. And it’s a chain of actions from there on.
The second problem, and the more important one, is that you cannot manage a house the way you manage your company projects. Because if you did, then all your time would be spent in planning things and there would be very less time left to actually do them!
The issue of more relevance here is the mental load on women. Men subconsciously assume that women are in charge of the house, the household chores and so, it is her duty to make note of anything that is required. Whether it's time for the weekly grocery purchase, where the kids’ diapers are, if the pipe in the kitchen sink is leaking - anything and everything!
This has been brilliantly explained by Emma, a French illustrator, in a comic titled - You Should’ve Asked.
One day, we may resort to a role-reversal at home to let the men have a taste of their own medicine. But that won’t last for long. Because then the house will be in a turmoil with no one knowing what to do and women will be grappled by guilty feelings!
What Can We Do About This?
1. To-Do List Apps
There are many apps that help you create shared lists. You both can note down things required for the house, as and when you think of anything. Once done, either one of you can tick these items off the list.
2. Order Online
Save time and energy in this e-retail era. Order what you can online or even better, automate it. You can make use of services like Amazon Subscribe and Save.
3. Seek Help
Don't try to be a multitasker just for the sake of the society you live in. Depending on your budget, get paid help if you can. Portion off some of your income for this. At the end of the day, management is more important.
4. Be Agile
Don't bottle up your emotions to finally vent out one day and fight on a big scale. Anytime you feel overloaded, talk to your partner about it. Getting things cleared then and there, helps the conversation to remain a discussion and not turn into an argument.
5. Involve Your Kids
We all love our children and want them to stay happy. But teaching them to clear their clutter is a good habit, that will help you manage better too.
6. Perfection Is A Myth
Everything cannot be perfect. It's okay to order dinner from outside. It's okay for the house to be messy. It's okay for you to not be perfect. After all, we are human beings and humans err.
We appreciate men who are out there, supporting their partners all through. It is men like these, that are helping blur the gender norms set by the society. All we need is for you to share the mental load and both husband and wives can co-exist in harmony.
Although it might take years to bring a revolution in equality, supportive men can help accelerate it, one step at a time, together with women.
This article is written by S. Rukmani, a management professional working as a Product Marketer at Zoho, Chennai. If you agree to her views and have some tips of your own to share with us, leave a comment below!