I was lead to this article by this article – essentially Chetan Bhagat’s treatise on work-life balance ‘tips’ for Indian women. The basic premise of his advice to Indian women stressed about managing home and hearth is to take a chill pill and just NOT get stressed. How helpful.
And how telling that he forgot to mention the most glaringly obvious solution- ask for husband to help out.
Which brings me to the topic of societal roles. Every individual plays a multitude of roles on a daily basis and slips into and out of different identities.
Your identity when you are single depends heavily on your work/profession. I’m not sure if defining yourself by the work you do is necessarily a good thing, but that’s the way the world works.
When you get married, however, you assume the identity of ‘wife’ or ‘husband’.That’s fine until you create rules for these identities. Society dictates that the identity of ‘wife’ goes with the role of managing the house(and any career role she may have is secondary) where as bread-winning is the ‘role’ of the husband.
In the face of such rigidity it is all the more important to be with someone with whom you can be honest about your desires and expectations. Obviously, the magic formula is different for every couple, but, the key to getting it right is to keep an open mind, and not automatically project ‘roles’ (taking care of the home, earning a fat salary) on to your significant other. This goes for both men and women.
I also (very cheekily) want to point out that being a stay-at-home wife is NOT a ‘job’ – it is more accurately, a choice. What is the equivalent term to describe a single person who does this?It doesn’t exist, because no single person can do this ‘job’. This is not to devalue the work of managing a home; I just want to point out that the choice not to work is only available to persons (mostly women) in long-term relationships.Being a stay-at-home mom however is an entirely different ball game-raising children is arguably the toughest job of all.
Which brings me finally, to kids. When a couple has kids, all other identities SHOULD take a back-seat. Becoming a parent involves taking on a momentous role – a star turn if there ever was one. Again, you should not assume that the role of care-giver to the child is/isn’t automatically yours , but discuss and divide responsibility equitably. As it is, you will remain ‘in character’ as a parent for the rest of your life.