My house has two vacant rooms used as Airbnb so foreigners (especially Western ones) often come to stay. Occasionally, in the evenings sipping a few glasses of wine or drinking tea and eating cake in the soft lights and melodious music, I asked them how Westerners shared the roles of the husband. and the wife in the family – particularly with the housework.
There is an undeniable fact that even in a country that always praises freedom like the United States, there are still many people who keep their traditional lifestyle such as asking for permission from both families before getting married, or there are still many people who always think that housework is female’s responsibilities.
– Movies do not fully reflect reality. In my place, there are still many people who think women have to cook! – Kat, a woman from Texas shared with me.
– What if a woman doesn’t know how to cook?
– If so, the man must go into the kitchen, if he is better at this.
– What if both of you can’t cook?
– We would eat out. You know! American lifestyle! But I feel that the American style of eating is not good for health. So I also practiced a little cooking. Even though the job is still stressful to me till now (haha). You know, not every woman loves to cook.
– What about other housework?
– We share the work. I expect my man to be willing to share at least half of the work. And fortunately, Jami wants the same.
Do you know? In Sweden, there is the word “hen” to mean a person in general – regardless of gender. When I found this information in the book “Lagom – Knowing enough is freedom”, I felt extremely satisfied.
Niki – the author of the book wrote: “In many parts of the world, people still mistakenly think that women have the mandate to raise children and they prefer to stay at home with their children than men do. I have spoken with many parents who stay at home to take care of their children and discovered that everyone has different interests (regardless of their gender). I know many women and men miss their work and often go back to work earlier than expected. And I also know many men and women who enjoy and love every moment of being at home with their children.
The book also points out “Sweden is known as the country with the highest gender equality in the world. The Swedes believe that gender equality should start from the moment a person is born. They think that children should know a world without toys or clothes just for a specific gender… It is true that many girls naturally have their eyes drawn on dolls and many boys like to play with trucks. But it does not apply to all children and that is completely normal”.
Knowing that we are happy to realize that in Vietnam when society becomes more and more civilized, the issue of “who is responsible for doing housework” is not so bad in the current context of young families. As I often tell people, at home, I like to cook, so I only cook, but most of the housework is my lover’s job, from heavy to light things. I just have to do those work when he is not at home. The only thing I try to change is … keep me from being messy.
Recently, when we moved into a new and more spacious house, we found a solution to hire house helper to help with the cleaning and washing. I still cook. We have the dishwasher to wash the dishes. When we have time, we like to decorate every corner of the house with our own hands, arrange a flowerpot, add fertilizer to the plants, bathe the dogs, clean cat poops, etc. In general, everything is simple and pleasant. Housework is no longer the pressure or unwarranted reason to cause a “war”, but it is a time of joyful and entertaining relief, creating cohesion and beautiful memories.
Looking back on the way I’ve been through, there has always been my family to support. I remember, many people complained about the way my parents educated me that my parents didn’t teach me to do chores, later I will not know what to do when getting married. But my parents didn’t care much. Because my mother was better at social work and my father did everything more carefully and caring than my mother, so my father took care of all the housework. My mother just often cooked at weekends for something my father and I liked. Since a little girl until adult, I have always been a “special-treated” girl. When my cousins gathered for cooking, washed dishes, I had the right to choose whether or not to participate and to do only the part of my choice. I was also able to sit at the table with the adults or men, to get a beer and express my opinion when needed. My success today probably comes from the fact that my parents did not teach me that: To be a girl, you must go to the market, cook, and wash the dishes!
I hope every girl will keep her proud position to choose the man she will stick with all her life. Stop sacrificing. Stop suffering. Stop blaming that was for one person or another. Live for yourself. Be strong in time and let yourself be weak, admit you desperately need a shoulder, if you’re so miserable. Nourish the soul with abundant happiness. Calm down and love. To meet a cool person, firstly you should be cool, right? And finally, use your knowledge, and your heart to nurture your children. Stop stuffing into your children’s heads: Housework is women’s responsibility. If you teach your daughter how to do chores so that she can take good care of herself later on, please teach the same to your son.
To me, gender equality in marriage is each person volunteers to do the things that person can do well, and knows when to be firm, when to let loose to help each other in life, not having to separate the responsibility of anyone. That’s it! This world is ours! Love is ours! And housework is mutually ours!