It felt like I live in a Utopian world when I decided to replace the much-expected word ‘Mom’ with ‘Parent’ in the headline. But I also despise myself in equal measure, to have begun the article by recounting, the fact that, even today, the discussion around gender-based roles in the context of a family is of much significance. Though gender inequality is a menace fairly prevalent in all walks of our lives, yet what we see inside our homes where we are surrounded by our own family members, is far more ironical and dichotomous.
The Irony of a Modern Household
We have very triumphantly shed away the traditional and embraced the modern ways of living – in smart homes, equipped with First World Technological Solutions, Alexa, for instance. We have grown to lay our trust on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, but have miserably failed to even scratch the surface of an issue that has been staring at our face since time immemorial.
It’s never a moment of an Epiphany for any of us when we witness, these disparities breaking the emotional and psychological walls of our so-called modern homes, because that’s how we have been deeply conditioned, and to no one’s surprise, we also refuse to push back, question and challenge any of it. It’s so rampant that it has kind of become a blind spot for everyone involved in the process.
The resultant is that the lion’s share of a load of managing a household continues to be borne by the ‘Women of the family’ irrespective of whether they have a full-time day –job, outside or inside the premise of their houses.
While we are increasingly encouraging our young girls to chase their dreams, be financially independent, we are also quite organically missing out on making our young boys independent too, when it comes to household responsibilities. I would rather say that the modern-day men who pitch in, definitely need and deserve an appreciation because they do it against all odds of the societal expectations of being born as a Man.
It’s time, we start neutralizing these archaic concepts, by consciously developing a perspective, stepping outside of the set boundaries of the ‘Patriarchial System’.
The Birth Of The ‘Nagger’
No, hold on to your thought – If you are expecting some sob story from the seemingly underprivileged partner and the ‘stay-at-home-parent that I am to my daughter, its merely a testimony of the fact, I narrated above – “we need to look inward” – what examples are we truly setting in front of our kids at the backdrop of gender equality and feminism.
This article intends to address to only those set of ‘better halves, who have no idea about what their partners( parents) are up to when they are working hard to deliver at work -which of course gets the food on the table, and thereby lack empathy for their partners who run the complete show of the house that belongs to them as well and as much. They are someone, who happily take the liberty to feel entitled but constantly judging their partners as “Naggers” ( defying all the scientific data that proves – ‘‘Women fare better than men on multitasking and juggling between a multitude of roles.’’ :))
So, what really is “ Not Right“?
Have we ever wondered – Why do our partners nag?
What can we do to help the situation or make them feel better?
Well, with my limited experience of having an independently managed nuclear family of my own for over a decade and played the roles of both a ‘wife’ ( who had a full-time day job) and now a ‘mother’( who stays at home and pursues her passion because of a supportive partner), I have tried to put down my thoughts( just a few simple gestures and efforts) that could help. This also stems from the fact that me and my partner, have grown and evolved in our relationship over the years, learning from situations life threw at us – what each one of us could have done to break any sort of a ‘glass ceiling’ in our family. This also meant, and did put the focus on the fact that – the only passion of a ‘Stay-at-home-Partner’ isn’t just that, but a lot more – that’s perceivable only if we have an open mind to accept and therefore, change.
Please read further, only if you can do it, with an open mind 🙂
- Acknowledge –The Mother becomes the ‘Primary Caretaker’ and the ‘Default Parent’, essentially due to reasons which are biological in nature. But when did it become any easier for her? It’s the world’s toughest job that drains her out completely – physically, emotionally and mentally. Then why did we stop acknowledging all( or rather anything) that she goes through right from the time the child is conceived till forever. No kind words of appreciation will ever be enough to justify, what it takes to be a Mother. But at least we can acknowledge her efforts at every step. All that she needs to know and hear is that she is the best and doing her best. That she is loved and respected for exactly who she is. (Humane needs, eh? ). That we have got her back, and she can talk to us freely. That we will never judge her for her temperament and apprehensions.
- Be kind – She may not ask or take help even when offered because she is constantly simmering under the heat of her own guilt. Believe it or not. All that a Mother gains out of the entire process of Motherhood is – A Big Fat Guilt, that’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. It’s self-created, self-inflicted and self-sabotaging. Can we not at some point make an effort to fathom, that this Mother who is incessantly prioritising every moment, keeping everything else above her own self, can be, or will be frustrated perennially and has all the valid reasons to break down on several occasions? What does it take, to just be kind and patient with her? Help her figure out a way out of this guilt. Not every woman who is a Mother is emotionally independent( that’s how diverse our background and upbringing is). So it would help if we empathize.
- Listen – When it is obvious ( which many men would contest and detest because they feel that women are some strange creatures, high on hormonal steroids, who can never be understood. So why care? :)) that she needs you, just be there, to hug and comfort her. Be completely present at that moment when all that she needs is little attention from you ( multitasking isn’t your forte. So why care? :)). From being a husband or a father, just try and step into the shoes of her best friend, a true ‘partner-in-life’ – who is always by her side – who doesn’t mistake her meltdowns, lack of confidence, tears and emotional inadequacy to handle herself or make through her days, as a sign of weakness. Just be her ‘Punching Bag’( you will never get hurt physically, you know that right ? :))
- Take over – I often hear the fathers say – “I take care of the kids completely at the weekends”. My only question to you is – When you come back from a long day at work, you need space and time to recharge, don’t you? Then, how is it any different for her? Share the responsibilities as soon as you step into that world. It’s not about one day or weekend, but every day. Small meaningful breaks can do wonders to the morale of the person who is neck deep with responsibilities of running errands( Do we also forget, that this is a basic physiological and psychological need and nothing else ?).
- Reassure – You would always find yourself in a situation of being subjected to constant nagging, crying and cribbing. Understand and figure out ways you can pitch in. And once you do, do it with all your might and honesty. Women are highly emotional creatures. They can read through your faces, body language and vibes. If anything is just a show tell, she will just know it. Your reassurance of being with her at every step builds back her confidence and makes all her efforts so much worth it. She would eventually stop seeking your attention negatively and focus her energies on more constructive work(nothing is guaranteed though :)). Yes, I know what you are thinking – It indeed is a lot of hard work. And I don’t disagree.
- Motivate – While postpartum depression is real, it often is more prevalent in the first year of childbirth. But mommies tend to make mommying the sole driver and reason to look forward to their days. That’s all they have to brood over and in the process, they tend to get frustrated feeling dependent and stuck, without putting any conscious efforts to come out of it. While some of the women are more self-motivated and aware, a lot of us are not. We do need help and motivation from our best-halves who presumably have their sanity in place.
- Respect – Many people don’t view a SAHM’s work as work because she doesn’t receive a paycheck for the 24 hours*7 days *56 weeks a year that she is on duty with no/less number of holidays & leaves as compared to her working counterparts. An interesting study shows that a stay-at-home mom would earn $143,102 a year for all the jobs she performs if she were paid. Though her unwavering passion and dedication towards her family isn’t worth putting a price tag to, the least we can do is respect her, and never compare her to others. Just imagine, if someday, she decides to return the favors – by comparing you with other men. You won’t like the taste of your own medicine, would you?
- Rekindle the Love – Date nights or alone time away from kids is a no-brainer. But it needs a plan. Yeah, it may seem quite orchestrated, but that’s how it is. We are no longer in that phase, when we can wait for things to happen organically. You need to make it happen. Fostering emotional intimacy can help you stay connected and iron out the othe peripheral issues which can get hard on the both of you, after the addition of new members in the family.
- Prioritise – You have only as much time to achieve so much, after you step into the world of parenting. You have to be good at prioritising too, along with your partner, working your way around the tight schedules, to pursue your individual passions. Parenthood in no way means putting an end to what defines you as a person individual and keeps you motivated. Having space and time to chase individual passions( No, scrolling through social media updates, isnt what I mean here :). And well, yes, the wife can have a passion too :)) can make some delightful and unexpected impact on your relationship.
Well, This list isn’t infinite, and that makes it workable, right?
They say it takes a village to bring up a child. Some of you might be lucky to have a constant support system- a village, to come to your rescue. But if you are not, then all the more reason to become a real ‘partner-in-life’ to your wife now, isn’t it? – Someone she could give examples about, to her gang of girls, when she goes out on a coffee date with them, taking a mommy break, while you enjoy your date with the kid(s) back at home or anywhere else.
Doesn’t it paint an image of the family that ‘Lived Happily Ever After’ in your mind?
Disclaimer: This article had first appeared on ” Momspresso “
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