Thursday, December 02, 2010

Men, mothers, marriage, mo(u)rnings

A large part of lunch-and-tea-time conversations at work revolve around the contributions that our spouses make towards housework and life in general. Or the extreme lack thereof. Some things that crossed my mind, and that I saved for posts like these are...

There's a मराठी idiom that goes like this: स्त्री ही क्षणाची पत्नी अणि जन्माची माता असते। (Those who know better, feel free to correct me.)
It loosely translates to: A woman is a wife for moments and a mother for a lifetime.
Here's what I think: Most men deserve their mothers and nothing more.

A popular complaint is that men sleep late into the mornings while their wives do all the housework, get the kids ready for school, and get themselves to work in time. They resent the husbands for their shameful boot-up time. The ones like me abhor this trait and resort to yelling curses to get our point across. Trust me, we've tried gentle and more socially-acceptable-but-never-to-be-spoken-in-public ways of making our fellas rise n' shine. It seems like some of us are doomed to an eternity of foul-mood-mornings cuz we have to think of and do EVERY FUCKING THING ourselves. Or spend our lives giving reminders, without the respect that a fucking cellphone / planner gets.

Hence, the popular quote: Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
...should be changed to: Early to bed and early to rise makes your wife happy, zippy, and nice.
...cuz the quote only talks about 'men' anyway.

Disclaimer#1: I'm not proud of myself for gossiping or ranting, but this had to be put down.

Disclaimer#2: Cuz the hubs doesn't seem to have read this yet, and cuz the responses surprised me. It isn't as bad as I made it sound in the post. My problem is with our society and our mothers who bring up boys differently than girls. There are exceptions, but they aren't as many as we need for our society to become one where spouses are equal contributors.


Unmana said...

Have you tried refusing to do his work? Leaving his clothes in the laundry bag, cooking only for yourself etc.?

This is something I have never faced, and am shocked to see how common it seems.

simplypallu said...

Tried everything. There's only so far you can go with that.

Although, in my case it's not as bad as others I've seen. In fact, there's significant improvement in the 4 years we're living together. Although it's still only about 15% and not the expected 50%--we'll get there someday.

Trust me when I say this--you've found a one-in-a-million person. A keeper. Half the credit goes to you for knowing what exactly you want and then looking for it.

My lad is a slave of sheer laziness and immaturity. He wants to be an adult with all the luxury (non-interference from others) and none of the responsibility. I hope to see that change with age and with me putting my expectations forth civilly. Otherwise he's a sweetheart--very, very adorable.

~G said...

Really!? I thought this was the last generation thing. Of men reading the newspaper in the evenings after work while the women cooked, cleaned and helped kids with studies. Although I never saw that in my parents house cos they seemed to believe in equally shared parenting/housekeeping. Anyway, why don't you try oversleeping and lazing around? Let the tasks be forgotten for a while. When all the pending to-do's come rushing, the man will surely pull up his socks.
Since you are doing it, nobody else bothers.
Sorry for the long comment, but a rant needs a co-rant. :)

simplypallu said...

All co-rants welcome. However, I think I made it sound too bad. I have it much better than most others that I see around me.

And yes, it is partly about how you were brought up and partly about what you are. Being the lone kid, I hardly had to do any work at home, but when I live on my own or start my own family I know there are some things that have to be responsibly.

Parents need to inculcate that into children. Especially the men in this patriarchal society. I keep joking with P1 that I'm paying for the mistakes his mother made ;-)

Unmana said...

Love G's comment.

I actually can't offer a solution here, because I haven't faced the problem, as you know.

I can only say we started out this way - I learned to cook before the Guy did, but he was always on hand to chop and clean and appreciate.

Had P1 actually lived alone before living with you? I think everyone should learn to live alone and do things for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Well said P. And I second your sentiments.
The BF has improved by leaps in the last 4 years but I still recoil in horror at the shock I got when I found out that he had NEVER kept a single piece of clothing inside the cupboard himself *gasp* .
He's much better now (according to me) and turning into a joru ka ghulam (according to the GMIL and MIL). Frankly, if they're the ones who pampered him, why should I suffer??!! And if I take measures, they shouldn't be complaining!!
I keep telling the BF (AND the MIL/GMIL for good measure)that I would never let Shobby turn into a lazybone like him :D

simplypallu said...

Noor, I am so amazed at how to stick up for what is right and for yourself against the traditional male-child-pampering. I'm sure you'll do a great job a bringing you boy up to contribute equally to his household and relationship. Another colleague is doing a great job bringing her little fella up so that he doesn't go on to be another joru-pe-bojh. You women are the hope of other women in the future :)

simplypallu said...

Unmana, you're right to catch that. P1 never live on his own anywhere. Although he did live in a hostel, but I think that only ups your tolerance for living in a pig sty--not necessarily teach you how to be responsible. There has to be an inner urge for that. Before we go married, I tried to help P1 learn this... I got him to move from his cousin's place to another room for about 3 months. But that was too short a time span to undo all that he didn't learn in the 25 years prior. He's always had a sheltered life.

It's not that he doesn't help. He does a whole lot. But he has to be reminded a gazillion times. (That's how we earn the label of a nag!) He says he'd do things, but takes ages to do them. There's a time for everything, and timely help is appreciated. If the tap is broken and you take 3 months of reminders and a threat of getting any random plumber home before you get to fixing it is not acceptable. It defeats the purpose of living together if you can't make life easier for each other.

Well, things are improving, but much too slowly. I'm not losing hope, though.

simplypallu said...

G, I tried being lazy and not doing things to teach him a lesson, but that's a bit too much for me. I am becoming like him, and his turning around is too slow. I'm afraid all my sense of self-worth by the time he becomes and equal contributor. If I'm not careful, I might turn into those slimy women who complain all the time and do nothing themselves. I need to change the situation without letting go of myself.