Laundry and the traditional role of women– My Monday Musing.

My Monday musing for today is inspired by the book I had recently read called “The Guest” and the Korean serial I’m watching called Misaeng. Both the things show the struggle of working women  with their personal lives. While book’s main focus is the adjustments between the newly wedded couple, the series focus on work-home balance.

Then, the group Blogadda came up with a contest called #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob, and this musing was originated.

We live in a world where both men and women work, where sometimes women earn more than men– but when both come home at the same time, it’s the women’s duty to make that tea, or when it comes to household chores (and this includes managing the servants/maids as well), it’s a women’s responsibility.

When I was a kid, the first thing that was instilled in me was that studies are very important, but equally important is to learn the household work. My mom used to say that I’ll have to know these household chores even if I take the post of President of India or of world. Her words till date are: “Work is at its place, but you would never be able to delegate the responsibility of these chores on anyone else.” And after almost twenty year of this lesson of hers, I know she was right.

Today, when our society is coming out its shell, the scenarios have changed a bit. The husbands and sons have taken some load off the females of the house. But then have they truly taken the load off?

Out of all the household chores, I have seen males (including those associated with my life) wear an apron and don a chef’s hat occasionally. I’ve seen them doing the dishes alongside(rarely alone though), but I haven’t seen them doing the laundry. When the woman of the house is not “at home”, that dirty laundry gets piled waiting for her to arrive. When she’s at home, she’s the one who’s supposed to wrestle with the stains. The maximum help you can expect is that of hanging the laundry to dry, but in that also, you’ll hear grumbles of “what will neighbours say?”

Washing machines have made the job easier,  but then there is still the decision of sorting the clothes according to color, deciding the wash cycles of those machines and then rinsing them is still a female’s job.

I’m not blaming males only for this because like every other thing, it’s a mindset thing. We might believe that we have advanced enough to share the workload of household chores, but we really haven’t. Women still carries the major burden of those chores. Here are a few examples apart from those I mentioned above (I’ve deliberately taken the maid/servants as the examples here because that’s what my brothers argue–that all the work is done by them.) :

1) Both husband and wife have returned after a hectic and tiring day at the same time. Both are sitting and resting themselves. The cook arrives. Who do you think will go to check on the cook in the kitchen?

2) Maid is on leave for a week. Who do you think will bear the major burden of this leave?

3) There is an urgent meeting for the husband. The wife already had her day planned to the last minute. Who will now go and pick up the child from the daycare? Now reverse the situation. Wife gets an urgent meeting call, and husband’s day is already planned. Again, who do you think will sacrifice their work that day?

I am not sure what your answer to above situations were, but these are true and seen situations. In fact, today itself I was arguing with my friend who wanted her wife to be home by 6 so she could take care of the chores. He also wanted her to earn sufficiently as per her qualifications (which are way better than his). So, I do agree with my mum. Women may reach the sky, but then they’ll still have to bear the burden of those chores. They’ll always have more balls to juggle than their male counterparts, and they’ll forever be guilty for neglecting those 1001 things.

So there ends my Monday Musing for today– a bookish-bloggish-serialish–kind of musing.

I am writing for #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob activity at in association with Ariel.