Author’s Note: For the last few months, humanity’s thoughts have always been underscored by the all-pervading presence of the pandemic. This humble author is no different. I have struggled for the last few months to write because everything I want to write about seems to revolve around this. So I gave up and launched the CoviMusings series. Stories of humanity finding the new normal. Click here to read all my CoviMusings!
Early into the pandemic crisis, I read a post on one of the many social media apps at our disposal. A man described his day at home, how he kept getting called away from his “work” to help the daughter with homework or the son with a project. He then went on to describe his day hour by hour, how he reheated breakfast and lunch and spent time with his children.
And when his wife came home from her workplace, he was amazed how she managed it all and never complained. He expressed gratitude for a wife like her who managed so much and took care of him and the kids.
While it’s nice that men are cottoning on to the ground reality of how much a woman takes on, this post had my blood boiling, and I was ready for a fight. As a woman, someone expressing gratitude at my ability to multitask and run a rat race 24×7 adds zero value to my life. What I would have instead responded positively to, is if the man of the house joined me in said rat race (like the man of my house actually has done and continues to do), and actually stepped up to make my life easier.
There are many reasons men from my neck of the woods who still go with the old school mentality of expecting their wives to wait on them hand and foot, have everything from their bath water to food ready, throw tantrums if something is not just right need to change.
There is of course the element of equality between man and woman, and to find a balance between them, so no one person is bearing the full load of managing a household during this challenging time.
But more to the point of the present day crisis it is so that you can at least attempt to step in and run the household, manage the meals and the other responsibilities if, for any reason, your home maker falls sick and has to quarantine themselves for your safety.
Do you know if you are ready to handle a situation like that? If you don’t, ask yourself this:
- Do you depend on someone else for your three square meals a day?
- Will you be able to manage if said person is quarantined because they fall sick due to the coronavirus?
- Do you know to wash your own clothes?
- Do you know where the broom and mop are at home? Or whatever newfangled device your primary home maker uses to keep the house clean?
- Do you know to check and balance home inventory for your day to day items?
- Can you run your house independently for a month?
If the answer to even one of these questions is a resounding NO, you need to wake up to a few home truths.
It is no longer possible to leave the learning and applying of basic survival skills like cooking s simple meal so you don’t starve to only the womenfolk in the family, as is how a vast majority of men in many parts of my country still operate. For sheer survival and self-preservation, and to be able to shoulder the responsibilities at a moment’s notice, everyone needs to learn the very basics.
I can even understand the practical difficulties if you stay alone and choose to use a service for food and the like. But for those who are part of a family, it is high time every member of that family acquired basic survival skills.
There are a lot of socially relevant reasons besides the pandemic that should open our eyes by now – gender inequality, stereotypes, and such. Even if you do not want to change for such lofty reasons, maybe one thing will change your mind – your own survival. That, and becoming a dependable member of the family who can be counted on to pull their share of the load.
Figure out how to make a cup of tea. Learn how to make a basic dal and rice or a nourishing soup so you can take care of a family member with hot, home cooked food if they need to quarantine themselves. Learn how to shop for basic vegetables.
Start somewhere. Start small. Just… start!