If you too have been born and brought up in an Indian family set-up, you need no explanation of how even our daily practical chores have been divided based on gender. Since time immemorial, cooking, cleaning, laundry and other domestic fronts are designated for females and tasks involving physical strength, finances and decision-making have been allotted to males. Just or unjust? I don’t want to get into that debate but yes! ever since I have become a mother, I know in my head what practical lessons my son needs to learn, of course, irrespective of his gender!!
A mother-son bond is just overwhelming. It has been only a year since I held a cute little ball of life in my hands and shed tears of joy as his tiny hand curled up around my finger tightly. The sense of responsibility I felt was just as strong as the absolute love I felt for my baby boy. As the time passes on its own pace, that innate sense of duty makes me question myself every night – have I been a good mother today? In the sense, what have I taught my child that will help him become a better human, a good person, a man in the crowd of boys – someone who is not dependent on others to live, to live well.
Besides the emotional and non-tangible lessons, I feel there are a few practical things I need to teach my son which society would have expected from him, if he was a girl. Meh! So, let me just leave this boy-girl thing and call these life-skills which my kid should know –
We live in a country where mothers tend to ply kids with food all the time. And pamper them with what they like. Paradoxically, the onus of the kitchen mostly relies on women – despite the fact that a lot of leading chefs are men. I have seen my MIL fretting over “Mera Beta Kya Khaega..kaise rahega” when she had to accompany me to hometown for my delivery. If men can feel hungry and want to eat, they must also be able to cook. Makes sense, right? The gender bias that exists in terms of only women having the responsibility of cooking irks me. More importantly, in today’s day and age, it is redundant. I need to teach cooking to my son so that if I am late at work, he won’t remain hungry and can feed himself. This also means he can survive all by himself if he is away from home when he grows up. Rather basic. Also, let’s just face it, there is something special about a man who can cook his own meals.
Keeping things tidy:
Thankfully, this trait exists in my husband and he takes care of the cleanliness at home just as I would do. However, I have seen ladies shrugging off the mess created by their SONS just because they are boys. General response- “Ab ladke sunte hi kaha hain, unka to kaam hi ganda karna hai” Ugh!! House strewn with shoes, clothes and stuffs is an absolute NO for me. I confess that lately my home is a bit messed up, given that bub is only 12 months of age. But, his being a BOY would never come in way of teaching him the importance of a tidy surrounding.
In an era of single kids, we tend to spoil them by giving them whatever they wish for. No wonder, they fail to know the worth of money. Though there’s still some time left for my bub to get trained in finances but still there are little things which I would follow which my parents did to me. I was taken out shopping with them – whether it is for groceries or other stuff. They made sure that I counted the money given by them at the cash counter and check the change or balance we got back. In addition, apart from the fixed monthly pocket-money of Rupees Five, I used to get some payment done for extra work assigned like painting the garden pots, washing Papa’s scooter. All this added up to be my savings which I could use for buying my fancied items, if any.
Respect for fellow beings:
I have always believed that respect is earned- through your deeds. I will make sure that my kid respects all his fellow beings- irrespective of gender, age etc. He should know that he has got no right, whatsoever, to hurt any soul. There is already enough hate prevailing and we just can not afford to pass it on to next generation. The world needs to be smeared with love and respect and my baby should definitely be one of the peace-mongers.
Like all mothers, I love my son so much. I want him to be the best man he can be. Not for me but for him, his future family and the world in general. My son needs to know that if he wants to be the head of his household, he jolly well should deserve to be there. The responsibilities will prepare him to be able to lead his household, and it won’t happen simply because he is a man.
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