Jobs don’t have genders-Share the load!

It was the first of January 2020 . Another year had passed. After the crazy festivities of the previous night, it was time to clean up and leave for work. Natasha was fervently washing the dishes when her husband declared,’I have cleaned up the entire dining area. Do you need help with the dishes?’
Natasha smiled as he joined her in clearing out the pile in the sink.
Natasha’s husband, Veer ,was truly her prince charming. He always knew the right things to say at the right time. With him by her side, the utterly monotonous work of cleaning the dishes seemed monotonous no more.They laughed, threw soap bubbles at each other and finished it all up in less than ten minutes.
‘I still have an hour to reach office. Care for a quick b’fast at Ray’s? Don’t feel like cooking now.’ Natasha asked.
Veer winked at her.
The year was going to be beautiful after all,she thought.
Natasha came home later than usual in the evening and found her mother-in-law sitting in the lawn in a visibly foul mood.
‘Welcome mom! What a pleasant surprise! When did you come?’ Natasha asked as she entered.
‘I wish I had not come!’ pat came the reply.
‘Why do you say that mom?’
‘At least I would not have to see my son do a woman’s job!’ She turned her face away from Natasha and looked at her son hanging out the laundry.
Natasha looked at Veer. She knew he must have come home and decided to do the laundry when she messaged him that she was going to be late. How she was going to explain that to her mother-in-law…she had no idea.
Veer saw the visible tension between the two ladies and came over.
‘Hey mom! Why are you upset?’
Natasha gestured towards the bucket in his hand.
‘Oh! Mom,I am sorry you are upset coz of this…but you need to understand. There is no longer a thing as a  ‘man’s’ or a ‘woman’s’ job.’
Seeing that her prince charming had come to her rescue(as usual), Natasha thought it better to leave the mother-son duo alone and excused herself to make tea.
‘Thankfully,she does that at least!’ Veer’s mother said.
‘Mom, don’t say that please!’ Veer sighed.
‘I do understand that it is difficult for you to understand all this. Everything was so different back in the times. Now everyone knows there are household chores and outside jobs and both men and women are sharing the load of either.’
‘You are wrong’, his mother was irritated. ‘It is a woman’s job to do the laundry, wash the dishes, look after the house… You insult the family name. Maybe you are going to start stitching now too.’
Veer chuckled,’Not a bad idea mom! I am really messy at stitching though.’
His mom was not amused.
‘Men don’t go around doing all this. Your father never even picked up a glass of water for himself’,she declared with pride.
‘Didn’t you ever wish he did?’
She was quiet,probably reflecting on what her son had said.
‘I’m sorry if I hurt you ma. I didn’t intend to.’
‘I know son. You are right. What does an old hag like me know anyway?’
‘Please ma….don’t for God’s sake. Just hear me out!’ Veer sat down next to his mother and held her hand.
‘Ma, I have seen you toil from morning till night. Getting up early in the morning,preparing meals,sending us off to school,going to work and coming back and doing all the household chores.
Dad came back from work and just sat reading the newspaper and grandma said, “My poor boy works so hard.”
Dad was a great man ma and a wonderful father. I don’t mean otherwise but even as a small child I never understood why he never helped you with the work. Just because it was a ‘woman’s job’?
Whenever you fell ill, the entire household collapsed. Dad couldn’t even toast a bread and you had to get up and work even when you could barely walk.
Times have changed ma,people have changed and for the better too. The labels of ‘man’s job’ and ‘woman’s job’ are obsolete. Everyone understands the importance of sharing the load. Women are everywhere,from sports to corporates to politics. So is the question of who does the laundry or who buys the groceries really relevant?
Take us for example. Natasha goes to work,adds another income to the household and we share the responsibility of the household chores. It gives us a mutual sense of respect and support . We feel like equals….like the two wheels of a car,always together,always headed in the same direction,not one larger than the other. It also gives us quality time with each other. When we are doing things together, they become interesting and we share everything about our offices while doing so. Things get finished early and we can indulge in socialising despite our busy schedules. You know we both go to salsa classes on the weekends? Our lives at our workplaces are very stressed. Why add the stress of the odd jobs at home to it for one person?
We share a home ma, we share our lives,why can’t we share the burden of household chores?’
Veer’s mother was listening now.
‘Ma, I respect Natasha because you taught me how to respect women. In Natasha I see the fire I saw in you ma. You have always been my idol. Is it really wrong of me to treat my wife as an equal and help out with the work? Does picking up this bucket make me less of a man in any way? You tell me ma,you have never given me wrong advice.’
There were tears in her eyes now. She was staring into the distance thinking of all the times she had wished her husband had understood her and just kept a hand on her shoulder when she was tired and worn out.
‘I am sorry son. You are absolutely right. I don’t know what came over me. I wanted things to change all my life but never had the courage to ask your father for the support I needed. I don’t even know whether he realised how hard it was for me. I am glad you do beta. I am so proud of the son I raised.’

Veer hugged his mother and smiled at Natasha who was watching from the kitchen window. It was a sign for her to come out with tea.

Author’s note: 
“I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at in association with Ariel.”

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