In the contest of playing blue and pink right from the time we conceive, it’s often overlooked that the pink blue arriving shortly is a human being after all. In many countries including mine, pinks are given the baton of the household chores while the blues have the fair share of luxury of being pampered even in the lowest of income groups.
In the last four years of being a parent to the blue or the pampered gender, I cannot help but notice that the person I am raising is a normal human being born by the same method as a pink is and is no different in his attitude towards me compared to that of a girl towards her parents. He loves or say is obsessed to HELP me out in all my chores that I started doing because I am no more a ‘working’ woman, rather I have a 24/7 job at home.
So this little man that I am raising has no qualms about being the BOY that he is. He doesn’t think twice before taking the stirrer in a cake batter or making a flat bread for himself (the cute kiddish version of course) or washing his lil socks all by himself. He snatches all these things from me if I have any sort of resistance. And then I see him jumping like a monkey here and there, playing with the cars, tracks, play doh, watching Sofia the first, octonauts, handy manny, Mickey Mouse, bow toons! Yes he watches all that a kid his age does.
I have not bought him the toys that I think are good for a boy! I got him what he asked for and also those that I think will encourage his creativity. The dolls went out of the picture couple of years back even though he admires those with his cousins.
So where does this gender biased attitude comes up in the boys and girls. I think It’s we who inject the stereotypes beginning at home. The wife does her job of getting up early, cooking the lunch, breakfast, tiffin, and what not before she can take care of her own self. Be it getting ready for office, or sipping a cup of tea at peace. The child begins to think that come what may, a lady has to grow up and do these things for the family. The boy child aspires to be like the daddy he sees everyday – office, TV, rest, going out in the evening! And the mom – office, household chores, soothing the child, getting homework done, etc etc and yes, serving the dinner/lunch too whenever she is available.
We think the stereotypes are changing but it’s a big NO. I am a good example of that and I have hundreds in my knowledge who are still following up with this tradition of the men wearing the pants and women the apron. I have done away with cooking except for my son, but still most chores at home are taken care by myself, homework, play time, tv time, all that is my responsibility (which can be joyful and stressful at the same time). Women take up the whole or most part of the responsible for their child, even when husband is around. To remind that I am an engineer and an MBA who had an awesomely paying job five years back, it would not make any difference as am at home now!
I chose to stay back because my son needs the two of us. Slowly am realising that he is getting the same unconscious upbringing that I didn’t want to give – that women are made for the home job and men are the breadwinners. I am torn between the right and wrong of it. I will make rules for sure but it won’t change the mindset that am slowly imbibing in my son, who as of now is minus any prejudices. But one thing that I can do is to make him aware of the equality that the genders share.
Only a child knows that all humans are equal, when we grow up we fall into the traps of society’s expectations and do things as they want us to do. I don’t want a girl to fight like boys and I don’t want boys to be soft voiced like girls. Just being a human being respectable of each other’s life’s choices is what we need to tell them. They will get influenced by the society – our parents, school teachers, friends, their families, TV etc but end of the day, they will imbibe what we will keep injecting into their minds.
A little extra respect, shared chores and compassion at home towards each other (husband wife) will make them so secure and nurture them beyond words. The same human being will go on to create the next generation with such lovely qualities of respecting others irrespective of their gender.
This is all we need – respecting each other and our choices irrespective of our gender. Love will follow!