Why are my professional commitments held lesser than my duty towards my household chores: A woman speaks out


“Being a working wife is a struggle that I am going through in this lockdown and it is my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s fault. They did not raise their voice when they had the chance, now who do I hold responsible for my always-a-struggler-role as a working woman and a wife in this society? 

Anubhav, my husband has been working from home for two months just like me. Though I have an added task of working FOR home while working FROM home - he has the leisure to skip that just because he is a man. But, why is it okay to ask a woman to stop her work and complete the errands? Just because we are women, our professional work isn’t as important as a man’s? 

Every day around 11 pm, Anubhav comes to the table and says, “Tanu yaar, ek cup chai pila do na, papa ko bhi puch lo woh keh rahe the dawai lene se pehle chai mil jaati toh mast hota,” and here I spring right up, always obeying to every request by putting a stop to all my work and serving everyone their needs. Don’t I have the right to work peacefully without any interruptions the way Anubhav has the leisure to do? Can someone not make the tea instead of me each time and serve it to me for a change? Is it too much to ask from our patriarchal society?

Be it in between calls, or filing reports, everyone feels free to walk into my room and demand this  or that while with Anubhav, his calls and work time are sacrosanct, not to be disturbed.

For two whole months, just so that I can cover up as much as possible of my office work before everyone gets up, I have made it a habit to wake up at 4:00 am in the morning, even though I sleep at around 11:00 pm after clearing up the night’s chores. I am tired mentally and exhausted physically of this new routine now and I feel bothered about the fact that why should I be the only one taking a leap for this extra mile? I get so worked up by the end of the day that I don’t even feel like moving to the kitchen to get myself a glass of water, but Anubhav gets everything at the table while he is working from home. If even for an instance I am not there to serve Anubhav his tea, his  mom will do it for him, but she will not do it for me. Discrimination at its best!!! 

Last week I was in pain because of my menses. I took an off from work so that I could rest but everyone at home just took it as an opportunity to get the extra household chores done. When I cried about my stomach ache, my mother in law asked me to have medicine; I searched for the pill and took it myself. That very day, when Anubhav complained of dry eyes because of long hours of staring at the laptop, my mom-in-law laid cold water strips on his eyes to make him feel better. No one even asked me if I was feeling any better or what I wanted to have. 

My mother has taught me that it is a woman’s job to serve her family and I agree to it, but why didn’t my mother-in-law teach Anubhav to share the load? Why is it JUST the woman’s job to do so? Why aren’t men taught that women’s professional commitments are equally important?

I blame all the mothers out there who have served their sons even before he asks for something. I blame them for not teaching their sons respect for the women folk in the house, and respect for her professional commitments. I blame them for instilling patriarchy in the minds and hearts of their sons.

Honestly, I am tired of these gender gaps and social structure of what a man and a woman should do and this lockdown has just made everything even more crystal clear to me.

But can I stand up against it? I love my family more than anything but just because I do, why do I have  to slog it out for them? Why is it okay for me as a woman to stop doing my professional work for household chores?” - Tanushree Gandhi (a 27-year-old IT professional)