Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Mar 2017
A few years back during my higher studies in a city outside Kerala, a bunch of friends including a few boys and girls, paid a visit to a classmate’s home. We all had a good time there and soon it was time for lunch. Needless to say it was a sumptuous treat and at the end of it we got up and was about to take the plates to the kitchen. The host was literally shocked to see us do that and asked us boys not to do that whereas there was no objection for the girls to take the plates to the kitchen. I for a moment thought about my home where my mom ensured that, my brother and I were given the tasks to do everything possible at home to the extent that we almost had a roster for doing the chores!
We see a lot of families around us sharing responsibilities. Some even have a practice of dividing the responsibilities between the husband and wife. While this definitely helps in getting the work done there is a bit of risk with this approach. The division of responsibilities make a family institutionalised. It simply means that tasks A, B and C are yours whereas tasks X, Y and Z are mine. Hence there is a possibility for each other to think that if the other one’s tasks do not get done, it is their problem. A typical ‘None-of-my-business’ attitude!
There are also very regular cases similar to my experience I shared in the beginning. There are quite a few people who strongly believe that certain tasks in a family are exclusive for the man whereas certain others are only for the woman. This is probably only a natural continuation of cave-man-thinking. Those were the times when men of a tribe was entrusted with hunting and finding food for the family whereas the women used to cook and take care of kids. We came out of the caves long ago, but quite a few left the mind-set still there!
The modern day world where the cave man has become a chapter in history lessons, it is quite necessary to think differently on how to run a family. A participative approach in everything that you do may work out better than the division of labour approach. If we make a list of every activity required to be done in a family there is hardly anything that can’t be done by both husband and wife. Probably with the exception of delivering babies that still is a woman’s forte for which medical science is yet to find an alternate solution!
Responsibilities are quite smaller when you start your family and obviously gets bigger and bigger with every addition to the family. More the responsibilities, a better management of these become imperative. There are usually three types of responsibilities in every family. Daily chores, short term plans and long term initiatives. It is a great feeling when you and your partner is involved in the planning for all three phases. Each one then executes the tasks with able assistance from the other if required. This also has an added advantage that you can be quite proud to say that you own the family together rather than running it like a ‘partnership-business’.
It is extremely important to instil the spirit of involvement in everything a family does, right from the childhood. This will hopefully make them grow up as more responsible adults and involve themselves in every tasks when they start their own family. It is equally important to make boys and girls in the family to appreciate and respect each other so that when they take up the roles as husbands and wives in future, they apply this learning to support each other throughout the phases in life.
Let us unlearn some of the misconceptions if any we have about the perceived responsibilities in a family. When it comes to planning and executing a task in your family let us tell each other this: Yes! It is my business!
May you have the ability to run your respective families through effective participation and own every task with love and respect to each other!