Being the youngest one at home, was I pampered more? Nope! In fact I was treated more practically than my brothers. Why? As my mother would put it, she believed that girls cannot be like boys, they cannot sit in front of the TV all day or sleep till late like boys. I was expected to serve food to the family along with my mom, and clear the plates later. Yes in a way I was spending more time with my mom and giving her company too but you can’t expect a child to understand all this at that age. I would get into arguments with my mom all the time. “Bhaiya ko bhi bolo na, sirf mujhe hi kyu kaam bol rahe ho?“ (Ask my brother to help too, why am the only one working? Mum’s reply would be “Ladke aur ladki mein fark hota hai!” (There’s a difference between a boy and a girl)
So as we grew this trend kept growing in my house too. I was expected to do bigger tasks at home now like rolling chapattis and getting better at making them each day, staying home with mom during all festivals while my brothers would go out with friends. I started believing that all the household chores belonged to the women in the house while my brothers understood that they should not even get up for a glass of water, as some lady will get it for them.
Don’t judge my mother yet, as her take on education was different. She sent me to the hostel at an early stage to get the best education, as were my brothers. But I was the only one who completed my entire studies, while my brother took breaks because of health issues. I guess I was much stronger as I survived the entire tenure really well. In fact, so well that I never felt returning home after I finished school. But after school my mother made sure I learnt everything at home with her reasoning “Ladki ka kaam hi uska gehna hai” (A girl’s adornment is the work she does). I never really realized the necessity of teaching a girl all the household chores till I was in college, yes I would cook better than my flat mates when I went for higher studies. My mom made no compromise with my studies and she made sure I got the best education.
I discovered the value of my mother’s training suddenly in life. When? Yes, after I got married!! I faced the same scenario in my marital home too, it was no different here. That’s how every boy is treated at home I guess, they are just expected to sit on the couch while the wife/mother cooks, serves and clears the dish. You need to serve water and be alert if they need anything while they eat. Oh! So this was what my mom was preparing me for, since my childhood. She knew how these things work; a woman is expected to do all these household chores, take care of the baby and everything else.
But will this tradition continue generation after generation and boys will continue to warm the couch while their moms/sisters toil away in the kitchen? As far as I am concerned I am not going let this happen to my son. I will not let him be the impractical guest in the house, he will definitely be expected to keep his plate in the sink after he finishes the meal or get a glass of water on his own.
Maa, you made me very strong and practical; I can literally manage most of the things at home and outside myself. I feel so liberated that I can do everything by myself – cooking, cleaning, shopping, working and the best thing is I can multitask. Wow! That really makes me feel good about myself, and I will pass this to my son. I will make him self-dependent so that he never sits on that couch and asks for water from anyone. As mommy to a boy, I feel more responsible; I will try my best and make sure that he doesn’t become that Indian husband for whom every mommy has to treat her daughter differently/tries so hard to prepare her. Happy Mother’s Day!
I am Priyanka, full time mommy to a 2.4 year old Atharva. I’m very old school, I believe in breastfeeding, cloth diapers and natural birth. The last three years have a changed a lot in me, I feel very transformed as a person. I have known various sides of me in this process from pregnancy to motherhood. From cooking to sewing and many more, I have explored many creative activities and still exploring some more…who says being a mother takes away everything? I have gained a lot, learnt a lot. I like to share my stories and chat with mommies. I’m also a social media enthusiast and enjoy blogging at Dailydose.