Despite being modern, liberal and balanced, I used to think that in general men could only work in office effectively and can never come close to women when it comes to running the household…until I moved to Switzerland and realized that it is nothing but a myth ingrained over decades.
About 2.5 years ago I moved to Switzerland from India. My husband was offered an exciting role in Switzerland, so our daughter and I came along. I gave up my job in India in the hope of gaining an experience of living in another country, learning another culture, and the biggest hope of finding a job again
Initially the move was a shock from multiple perspectives – prices which can not be compared to India, double income family to a single income family, rules and regulations of anything and everything, and the biggest of all- you are on your OWN in this country. You buy groceries, you cook food, you clean, you get your children ready, you pick and drop them from school, you do everything. Neither you have the social circle of family and friends and nor you have the affordable help that you are lucky to have in India.
Eventually we survived and I found a job which was satisfying and hectic. And I had a pleasant discovery- The household activities that I thought my husband would struggle with –he was doing it quite easily- such as getting our daughter ready for school, preparing her breakfast or cooking food for all of us. He has never done this in India before and I realized that I had so wrongly underestimated him and his household capabilities J
I could work late evenings or do my travels without worrying about who is going to cook, who is going to clean, how is my family going to manage
The biggest learning that I had was women tend to think they are the only ones who can run the house effectively and thus limit their careers or pick up jobs which are easy but not commensurate with their capabilities – this is a myth. Men can contribute not just financially every but also physically when it comes to taking care of the house and children
Even my dad, who does not touch a household chore in India, contributes actively when he spends time with us in Switzerland
Here are few inputs that can be followed
- Break the myth and have the trust that men can do it. Men may not do the things the way women do but they will manage
- Mutually decide the specific chores that needs to be split between the 2 partners
- Make the move gradually and ideally allocate chores which are more fun or relatively easier
- Self realization : The biggest challenge I faced is you don’t want to keep asking your partner again and again for doing something – There needs to be self realization that eventually comes with time
We need women to continue in their careers and succeed and let, motivate, and influence their husbands or sons or fathers to contribute equally.