Reversing gender roles

From taking care of the house to helping children with homework, men are stepping up with chores since lockdown
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST

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Among other things, Covid-19 has forced schools and offices to operate from home and caused a temporary freeze on the work of household help and cooks. With nuclear families and no grandparents to help out, taking care of all childcare responsibilities and household work amidst the lockdown has been a challenge for many.

However, it seems that men across families have stepped up to play their part and help their families navigate this lockdown.

Home support system

Komal Tandon, secondary school teacher, says, “When my school reopened online and I resumed teaching, I was faced with managing the household work and working from home as well as looking after my son. I also had extra cooking to manage since we could no longer eat at our workplace and school cafeterias.”

Luckily for Komal, her husband has been helping her in the kitchen. “He has been extremely enthusiastic about doing the dishes after every meal and even tried his hand at some cooking,” she shares.

“It definitely would have been easier if I had my parents staying with me,” Komal says.

“My brother who lives in my hometown with my parents in a joint family has been having a much easier. When there are lots of family members in a house, you have a larger support system and can divide the work further.”

However, she says that with the same teamwork, she and her husband have managed to find a pretty good work schedule and household responsibilities as well as free time.

New balance

For couples both in the peak of full-time careers, the lockdown presented a greater challenge. But with men breaking traditional roles in the household, families have been achieving a new sense of balance.

Shruti Goyal, a data analyst, and her husband who is a software engineer, have long working hours. They also have to take care of their two young children.

“Before the lockdown, I primarily relied on household help and my cook to get by,” she says.

“When the lockdown was announced, the thought of doing everything by myself seemed almost impossible. But my husband said that we would split all the chores. And it has worked.” She further added, “We’ve reached a new work-life balance over the past few months. We have realised that things are much easier when we split duties.”

Behind the scenes of the front lines

Roles and responsibilities seem to have shifted even more drastically in families where women are on the front lines of the fight against the virus.

Kushal Nigam, who is married to Shruti, a doctor, says, “My wife is working long shifts to keep up with rising cases of the pandemic. Recently, she started living away from us because of the risks. So I have picked up the housework after my working hours at home.”

He adds, “I’d never washed the dishes or done laundry for a whole week before, but it has been an interesting challenge.”

He also added that he has been enjoying helping his children with their homework, which is something his wife usually does.

Published 31 July 2020, 18:12 IST

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