Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tentative Parenting : Respect Women

The country is making a big mistake not teaching our boys to cook & raise a garden &  do household chores.           --Loretta Lynn
For the first 23 years of my life...traditionalism stared me in the face - a father who held a job and a mother who took care of the house. I won't say it was the happiest of mergers but it worked (or they sorta made it work). I am sure those key formative years had a great deal to do with my schizophrenic personality today where I am a feminist during the day (taking my fair share of the work, performing, questioning, contributing) and a traditionalist at the night (think all house hold chores minus taking the garbage out once weekly).

The truth of the matter is we (women) can be fabulous, brilliant, creative -- have tangible impact and yet at some point there is a mental brake that we apply to our own psyche - because unlike most men women with children are still expected to work the second shift at home (and no! not all of us have the model husbands who actually do their fair share of the household chores). Just as work has expanded to require me to be present all the time, I have realized that being a good mom also requires my attention 24*7. Parenting has become a full-time job: school meetings, doctor's appointments,enrichment activities, homework and projects, organic school lunches... It's hard enough managing one 24/7 job. No one can survive two of them. 

So every time I hear talks about Women's Emancipation the one thing that sticks out for me is this one simple fact - as long as women are the ones doing more of the housework and childcare, women will be disproportionately hurt when both workplace expectations and parenting expectations requires them to be present 24*7. They'll continue to do what too many talented women already do: Just as they're on the verge of achieving workplace leadership positions, they'll start dropping out.  Beyond stats and doom & gloom, the way I am fixing this at home is I am teaching my 7 year old boy to cook, do chores and above all respect women (hard for me to fix 25 years of Socialization that went into K1 but K2 is my blank canvas).

Here's an interesting video clip that got mixed reviews in India, but in my mind it hit a home run in terms of messaging :

This week saw me at PWBC's 25th Conference - Rising Above! It was fabulous and gave me a lot of food for thought! 

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