“Break the age old taboo Mitali, distribute the work among your kids and your husband and soon you will find enough time for yourself.” I advised my neighbour Mitali, whom I found her on toes, overburdened with work and the creases on her face said that she was irritated at heart.
Many times, she wondered how I managed to remain cool and calm and my house was well managed, things arranged on proper place and I was in gaga mood.
“Di, tell me your secret. How you manage? I am at wits end and I feel overstressed. What to do?” Mitali enquired.
I passed a smile and said, “Mitali, you work hard, but you need to be a smart worker.”
“Smart worker, Am I unsmart and dull di?” She made a long face.
I could feel that she was hurt by my words.
“Ohh, Mitali. Grow up, you talk like a school going kid. I mean to say that you have taken all workload on your shoulder and that is the reason that you don’t get enough time to rest or be at ease. Share your responsibilities, it will reduce your burden and your kids and husband will learn to manage. Afterwards, they will praise you for your effort to make them learn to shoulder responsibility and when you are on outing, they will not pile up the work for you and wait for your return rather they will clean and clear the work and you will feel light at heart. Make kids and hubby independent, they will love you more once they are independent.” I explained her.
“Di…they will not feel my need once they learn to be independent.”
“Hey innocent Mitali, now I have to be strict with you. Come on. I will explain to your kids and husband.”
In evening, I called up her kids and asked Mr.Chanda to join me over tea and snacks in evening. They all were there on time as I had scheduled.
“Why don’t you all help Mitali in managing household and ease her burden? She is overloaded and irritated. I believe you all must have marked the changes in her.” I told them.
“Aunty, you are right but mamma does not allow us to do. She feels she is perfect and we are not.” The three kids said in unison.
Mr.Chanda held the same view. I told Mitali and explained her that she should teach them else they are the ones who will face the problems of adjustment in life. After high school, they will leave her nest for further studies and in lack of habit of doing work, they will feel burdened and the easy things will be tough for them.
I started the training then and there from my house itself. I called up the kids and distributed the work of serving ready tea and snacks to all the people present in the house, even I did not spare Mitali’s husband.
If I would have done all by myself, it would have taken half an hour to distribute and with the help and support of all, I was relieved from the work in ten minutes and none felt the burden. The smiles were running on the faces of all.
Mitali had two daughters and one son and she was more particular about her son, an attribute of a typical Indian mother. I lack this quality, maybe because at my place, I am in minority. I am the only lady in my house.
I asked Mitali to distribute the work evenly among the kids sparing none and involve your husband too. You will feel inner happiness to find him near to you, this way you will enjoy his company and your load will be shared.
After a fortnight, Mitali dropped in at my place with a family pack of dark chocolate, my favourite one.
“Wow Di…really you are a magician. Your idea changed my lifestyle and me. I feel happy and involved with my family. Previously, I used to drag along alone and at times, I felt pity on my status but now I feel happy and elated and the division of work has brought smiles on the faces of all and we crack jokes, share our feelings working together and even my house is sparkling.” She hugged me tight.
“Hey Mitali, leave me. I am not your hubby. Go and catch him tight, he will enjoy the hug.” And we laughed out loud.
My daughter who was studying in next room rushed into living room.
“What happened Mom? Hope you are okay.” She enquired.
“We are very much okay, dear. We are celebrating with chocolates.” Mitali said and laughed.
There are lot more Mitali’s in our society, who are dragging the reins of household in her hands and has lost the glow on her face and she is reduced to mere bickering figure.
- Share the workload among the family members.
- Involve them with yourself in arranging things, cleaning the house, laundry and cooking as per their capacity.
- Make the family people independent and caring so that when you are unwell or out of town, they don’t suffer.
There is no gender stereotyping in household work, all can do all jobs and with practice, they will excel. Remember failures are the pillars of success and all learn with trial and error, no one is perfect.
The woman of the family needs to take the initiative to induce the feeling of sharing the load and it will be passed on from one generation to another. If a child is watching his father, brother and sister sharing work, he will follow the same trend for his family and the coming generation will be more jolly and caring towards each other.
At a lighter note, Woman has the birth right to give birth to a child, Men cannot snatch away her bliss, rest everything can be shared.