When I saw this Indian laundry detergent commercial, I felt a bit of relief that someone is acknowledging all the work women tend to take on, even outside their regular day jobs. It's something I had learned and realized in one of my Global Studies classes in university, but had never seen acknowledged outside that environment. Women do 3/4 of the work in the world, and much of it is unpaid. Here in the first world it is becoming more common that men are stepping up to the plate to help out with "household duties," but it's overall still not a fair balance.
I admit, I've felt frustrated coming home feeling like I need to rush to take care of everything. I'm blessed to have someone who does help out, but to really no fault of his own, Chris has done exactly what this commercial shows us. I can't blame him for this kind of behaviour though, because I'm sure he learned it from his mom and dad, who probably learned it from their parents. I've observed the same kind of man-to-couch behaviour with my parents, too. Chris will say, "I've worked all day, I deserve to relax a little." Then I think, well don't I, too? And it's not that he doesn't think I deserve to relax, too. Yet, if we both relaxed upon getting home we'd get hangry before we get any dinner on the table.
Growing up, when it came to my dad, my mother would always point out how hard he works. We worry about his health all the time because he works so much. He has never been a 9-5 guy and he travels a lot for work. So my mom would tell me that this was her way of balancing the workload. While she works a 9-5, she is the one who is able to come home at a reasonable hour. So, since my dad comes home so late, and works round the clock, she wants to make sure he gets a proper meal in and can relax when he gets home, because when he gets home, he may have an hour or two at the most before he goes to bed to do it all again. Plus, if he's been on the road all week, she wants to make sure he has a comfortable home to come home to. I always thought that was very thoughtful and caring, which it was, but I also think it's in part how she was conditioned, because I noticed she is always asking me if Chris is hungry, and if Chris is hungry I should get him food. Of course, I always then tell her, if he's hungry he's got two legs, two hands, and a working mouth. It's not that I don't want to cook for Chris, because I enjoy making him a tasty meal and seeing his happily satisfied face. There just seems to be an expectation of women to care for their husbands, but the opposite is not necessarily true. People like to ask me what kinds of food I cook at home, but do they ever ask that of Chris? No.
We no longer live in a time where the men are off being the sole bread-winners while the women are at home minding the children and the chores. Yet, instead of maintaining a workload balance, as women went off into the work force, their load only got heavier.
No offense to my dad, because I know how much he does and has done for our family, but when he cooks a meal it's different from when my mom cooks a meal. My mom cooks a meal to feed the family, whereas my dad cooks a meal to create an event of sorts. He's a fabulous cook, and I love when he cooks, but he's not necessarily cooking in the sense of "sharing the load." He enjoys cooking for his family, and seeing everyone enjoy a delicious meal, and that's why he cooks. Basically, for my mom it's work, for my dad it's usually pleasure.
Of course, my dad takes care of a lot of things around the house that my mother doesn't. He's the one who taught my brother and I how to clean a bathroom properly. So, I think for the most part in my household, I grew up with a relatively good example of what it is to share the load at home. Still, there were and are times when there are things expected of me around the house, but not of my brother. That frustrates me the most. It's like they raised me to be independent, but not necessarily equal.
Now as I start my own family, it's very important that we do share the load. Chris is an only child, and never had to do a chore. His parents babied him his whole life and still do to this day. So, It dawned on me that him helping out with the housework is sort of out of the norm for him. I was curious. I asked him what is it that makes him think to help out when he does. He said he loves me and knew he had to step up to the plate to be my man--we're a team. That made me feel really good, I have to say. I've written before about how with Chris, I know I am on a great team, and it's little things like this that remind me of that.
It's important to share the load within a household, because if you don't, someone will eventually feel under-appreciated and the imbalance may cause resentment. Moreover, it's important to set the example for our children so that they may one day do the same. Every member of a household is part of that team, so each team member must be a team player. My parents never let us forget that.
In our home, Chris and I mostly have a system down. I clean the bathroom, Chris vacuums, I dust and tidy, he takes the trash out, we do laundry together, and when we work together like this, our home feels even sweeter. It's not just this place that I cook, and clean, and sleep in. It's our home that we take care of together.
Beyond sharing the load, remember to say "thank you." My parents also always showed their gratitude for one another, and they each make sure my brother and I recognize the hard work the other does. Chris and I are the same way in our home, because we know that a little gratitude can go a long way.
Remember to share the load--I think the world will become a happier place if we do.
BIG LOVE & HUGS