Most working women in Mumbai end up juggling a full time job, only to come home to a list of household chores and cooking, with little or no help from their husbands or boyfriends. The Woman’s World Team spoke to women across the city to find out if times are truly changing, with more and more men pitching in with household work, or if the responsibility still falls solely on their shoulders
While you definitely find more women running businesses and building strong careers than you did 20 years ago, are men stuck in a time warp when it comes to sharing responsibility around the house? Do women end up doing a second, full-time job once they get back from work, simply because the men won't help out, or are men more aware of the importance of giving their partner a break and sharing responsibility when it comes to chores that need to be done in the house they both live in? While the jury is still divided on the issue, women around the city seem rather pleased with their partners. Take a look:
In our household, we pick the chores according to our interests and who’s efficient at what task. since we allocate jobs to each other accordingly, I never really have to ‘get him to’ to do any household chore; he sees that I’m a working professional too and offers to help out willingly. In all honesty, he is a better general manager and excellent disciplinarian, so that makes it count too.
— Juthika Banerjee, Worli
Husband, The Heavy-Lifter
Gone are the days when a husband was merely the bread-winner and the wife played a home-maker. Men (though not all) have become increasingly sensitive about the need to help their wives with household work. I usually do the chores that involve more skill than strength, while my husband does all the heavy-lifting, such as moving the couch. However, when it comes to buying groceries or other household items, we do it together. Asking him nicely, with a smile, is usually all that is required to convince my husband to pitch in. In such situations, nagging your husband to do the required work is often counter-productive. A smile can often achieve things that a frown cannot.
— Malavika Hemmady, Vasai
Divide In Advance
Times have definitely changed. I think education and the internet have increased our awareness about equality. Our roles are clearly divided when it comes to housework. We discuss what chores we don’t mind doing and ones we hate in advance and then balance it out. Luckily for me, I just have to tell my husband that I’m swamped and he immediately helps me out.
— Karen Alfonso, Borivali
Saturdays For Her, Sundays For Him
Since we are both busy, we have employed a maid. She does everything during the week. Over the weekend, I do the chores on Saturdays while he does them on Sundays. A man is no longer the only bread-winner in the family. As I said, we share responsibilities equally and he does all the work on Sundays that I do on a Saturday, including cooking and doing the dishes.
— Neha Kapoor, Colaba
Home Over Work
I have always been taught to be responsible for household chores. So, for the sake of my husband and children, I have taken up a job as a part-time parlour assistant. It is something I love doing and I finish my work by 3pm in order to come home on time. My husband works really long hours, so I do all the household chores. Sometimes he helps me if I am unwell or too tired.
— Pushpa Shinde, Powai
Divide And Work
I usually do the work while my husband helps me prep. For example, when I cook, he chops and packs our respective lunches. Couples in our friends circle also follow the divide and work rule, so there is a change from the way society thought earlier. Women are being given an equal opportunity to excel at work and be a good homemaker. We usually decide the weeks agenda at the beginning and follow it through the week. Its easy, efficient and saves a lot of time.
— Kavita Nair, Ghatkopar
Women Do Everything
I feel that husbands usually don’t share household responsibilities. Women always have to do most of the work. But, I think husbands and wives should divide the housework equally. Especially when the wife works, as it gets hard to manage household chores along with work and the long hours spent travelling in a city like ours.
— Neha Kapur, Powai
Fortunately, right from the start of our relationship, my husband hasn't been the sort who would let me do all the housework alone, while he puts his feet up. Instead, he always helps me out with everything, whether it’s cooking, cleaning or shopping for groceries. Apart from this, we end up dividing the other chores based on our interests. So, he takes care of the odd repairs around the house, while I do the laundry because I find it therapeutic. I think times have changed and men no longer see household work as a woman's job.
— Divya Jhaveri, Versova
Train Them Right!
I’m sure that many women still struggle with men helping out around the house, but I am blessed. My husband picks up after himself (thank god!) and also gives me a hand with dinner preparations and the washing up afterwards. He is petrified of fire, so he can't help me cook, but he lends a helping hand wherever else he can. While I have met men who help out their wives, I know that many women still bear the brunt alone. I think we should train our sons to help out with chores right from when they are young so that it becomes second nature for them.
— Ramya Reddy, Colaba
A Way To Catch Up
My husband is quite nifty with helping me out at home once he is back from work. In fact, he finds that it’s a good way to destress after office and we even catch up on each other's day while we do the chores! While he enthusiastically helps with washing and laundry, he is horrible when it comes to handy-man chores such as getting a painting hung on the wall or fixing a leaking tap. I have to remind him for weeks before he stops being lazy and actually does it or gets someone to do it.
— Maya Jain, Borivali
Discuss Daily Chores, Every Morning
Before I got married, my other married friends always complained about how their husbands never helped out with any housework. I was very vocal then and I am now that husbands should always help their better half with household chores, whether their wives work or not. Once I got married, I was slightly apprehensive, but I must say that my husband helps me out very willingly. Every morning, we discuss all the chores that need to be completed while we have breakfast. Then we divide the work — it isn't always equal; it depends on our work schedule for that day. The kitchen is the only place where he doesn't do much... but he says that he loves my cooking, so I am not complaining!
— Kiran Fatnani, Colaba
Don’t Look For An Exact Division
I do believe that a husband and wife should share household responsibilities. At the same time, I would advise women not to divide work exactly in half. It’s alright if either one does a bit more or less. The important part is to enjoy doing your chores together and not stressing about the unwashed dishes for one day! Taking it easy is the best mantra.
— Ridhi Kapoor, Santacruz