“Hey Vidur, bring a pack of soap – the container is empty!” said Sury from the bathroom – about to load the washing machine.
“What’s this? Why did your Mom buy a small pack? She usually gets the 1 or 2 kilo pack!”
“Dunno, Daddy. I found this on the shelf. Let’s ask her”.
So they head to the kitchen where I am fantasizing about a strong cup of coffee as I heat the milk and hum to myself.
“What’s with the small pack?,”asks Sury.
I snap out of my reverie and see what he’s holding up – and – OMG – it is the sample pack I received last week! I grab it sheepishly, carefully – secretly relieved they haven’t emptied it and thrown away the empty pack! Then I tell them about this #ShareTheLoad – #WashBucketChallenge – referring to the ad we see on TV now.
“Oh!” says Sury. “So – what do we do now?”
I tell him he has to pose with the pack of Ariel Matic washing soap.
He asks, “I can use the soap right?”
I say,”Yes, that’s the idea!”
So he says, “Cool!” and heads off to where our washing machine, his pride and joy, awaits him.
I grab my digital camera and turn it on, only to find that it wants me to change batteries.
Not stymied, I grab my other camera and we’re good to go.
“Are we doing a video?,” asks Sury.
“Um..no,” I say.
“I am okay with that too!” he says.
What a family!
So I reply,”Nah, a photo or two will be good”.
So he puts on that ready smile of his and, with his finger on the part of the pack that says “Ariel” is ready. I gently tell him to have the pack as much in view as possible and click! click! click!
And we have the photos.
So – for the question in that advertisement – Is laundry only a woman’s job?, I would ask “Is laundry only a man’s job?”
You see, that’s the state of housework in my home. We were not cash-rich, but my Grandma tried her best to ensure we were rich in values. This included, among other things, gender equality.
The men in our house:
- help plan menus
- pack lunch boxes
- give the women a day off
- wash clothes
- look after their children, and often their nephews, nieces and the neighborhood children, in sickness and in health
shop – feed them dress them, play with them, cuddle the heck out of them
- accompany their women when they go shopping and take an active part in choosing stuff
And they do all the above – cheerfully, not because they feel forced to.
The above is not an exhaustive list, but you know what I mean.
When the question of “is laundry only a woman’s job” popped up with research statistics to support it, I felt I had nothing much to write about.
Then again, maybe I did. Call me blessed to have also married a man who believes in sharing the load and enjoy it.
Early on, when Vidur was a toddler, we encouraged him to wash his undies. Thing was, he enjoyed playing in the water so much, we felt compelled to leverage that in a productive way. He loved doing it. In fact he would insist on washing his towel. Soon he started to make his own tiny tub of his toys’ clothes.
We gradually coached him to sort colors – which achieved more than just sorting clothes – he also learned colors and felt very excited when he was done. Which is more than I can say for myself as I am colorblind and simply hand wash the colors I can’t figure out so that they don’t bleed onto anything.
One of my favorite memories is of Sury explaining to Vidur how to use the washing machine – how much soap to add where, why remove the lint and fiber before running a load, how many items of clothing to add in a load – and of course – which soap to use. He also taught him to troubleshoot – what to do when the machine got stuck at various stages.
So today, it is simply a matter of routine at home for Sury or Vidur to run the machine thrice a week and supplement it with items – usually mine – that need hand washing.
Best part is, he does it with a song on his lips. Doesn’t get better than that.
No – actually it does. He shares everything. It is not just that soap opera called laundry – we also share the dish washing, sweeping, dusting and mopping. On occasion, he also cooks.
We’re a happy family primarily because we believe that everyone is responsible when it comes to household chores. It ensures that each one of us understands what it entails to get something done and builds compassion. We appreciate each other.
On the flip side, I am sad to say these stats are alarming… did you know: