Of breaking the norms and stereotypes

I have a good news to share. I am going to US next month for work. 

Alone? What about him? How will he manage home?

Last summer when I broke the news of my work travel to families on both sides, I had not expected the reaction. They were excited for me after being worried that I was going alone. I quickly drew a parallel from the previous times. This was my first and he had been away to other countries before. Then I never sensed a worry. There was happiness for the son/son-in-law traveling for work which was amiss this side.

Women work, manage homes and juggle all that well but their careers come second. It’s not the same for most men. For them, their careers take the top spot.

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Parul, how much do you travel? 

Life is fun for you both. No babies so you can enjoy. Vacations are for those who don’t have responsibilities.  

Every time I am back from a road trip, I get comments of all kinds. Some times I want to hide myself and forget that I have a blog and posting travel pictures help me promote my upcoming work. It feels intrusion. Judgments of all kinds are so easy when you are a DINK(double income no kids). No one cares if this is a choice or forced choice. Where is empathy, world? And isn’t procreation a choice?

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He works so hard. Logs in first and stays back until late at night.

She doesn’t care who is managing the baby. She is irresponsible and must have issues at home. That is why she is always in office.

I have heard many such comments and continue to hear things now and then. While organizations think a healthy gender diversity is a good thing, the women are not feeling included. Some guy finishes her job and takes the credit while she left a few hours early to take care of an ailing child. Some times, she goes through the pressure of what will in-laws say when she wants to stay at work? Then she leaves for home to finish up a chore only to be told later that she isn’t accountable.

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I don’t have an answer but I do know that it’s not just in the hands of women. When we talk about breaking the norms, a woman needs to have the right support. Whether it is from spouse or extended family, there should be people who understand her and her aspirations. If there is a pressure of being married and what will the in-laws think if she works overnight, then we are not doing something right.

Before we talk about how many women we need in workforce, let’s talk about how many families want a daughter/daughter-in-law who gives her all into work even when the dishes are dirty and dinner in ordered in. Or the child is with nanny.

I also strongly feel that women need to have a voice and a say. They need to believe in themselves and that they know how to handle their work. A woman cannot expect others to respect her if she cannot respect herself. I come across women who are ready to put their choices at the back burner but that wouldn’t help the cause if they are looking for a change.

There is no need to be rude but there is a need to show you care about yourself.

Norms and stereotypes

Be you


Linking up with Nabanita’s #FeministMondays for the month of January and #MondayMusings.

34 Responses

  1. G Angela says:

    Parul I am smiling as I read this post:) for I and my daughter have just got back from GOA – attending a convention on “Women Against Violence” leaving my husband for full 4 days to manage himself:) I am aware of whatever talk behind our family… none of us are born to live upto anybody’s expectations and I am glad to certain extent these things doesn’t disturb me so much; as its my choice and my life:) I appreciate you for your courage, the choices you are making and exploring your own purpose in life… hats off to you, do not for a moment take these judgements to your heart… You have a right to BE YOURSELF !! I pray for a day when women themselves will realise that its their basic right to choose what they want, and learn to love, respect and honor themselves. Thank you for sharing:)
    G Angela recently posted…Friendly Tree-27My Profile

  2. Soumya says:

    Oh God! How true this is!

    I have faced the exact same issues as you have stated and trust me I still get this as often as I can remember. When ever I plan to go out with my friends for lunch/dinner, the question always asked is “What will he eat?” and now where I’m going or if I will be safe. It pisses me off to no end. What is worse is that the questions being asked come from other women too! As a woman if you don’t get the other, how will be ever break the stereotype?

    Yes, we as women should stand up for ourselves. And for one another and have a louder voice that will drown these silly questions.

    Yay, I’m glad you are doing this! Also, I just realized Cal and I are Dink’s too 😛
    Soumya recently posted…Book Review: WonderMy Profile

  3. Vidya Sury says:

    Regrettable state of affairs. We are a long way from gender equality. And empathy of course, is out of the question, because it is always so much easier to point fingers, gossip and pass mean comments than appreciate someone for what she does or what she’s trying to do. bah!

    Enjoy your trip, Parul. You deserve to be happy no matter who says what. Hugs!

    By the way, today I learned “DINK” So cute.
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Don’t just do something, Stand there! #WednesdayWisdomMy Profile

  4. Geetika says:

    Dropping after a long time and it feels fresh to read your posts, Parul. Makes me realize how much have I msissed in these months. These circumstances you’ve mentioned are everywhere. A friend of mine have been struggling and fighting day in and out just to make her identity… no one in the family understands and what hurts the most is that her husband too doesn’t want her to work, yet she is working her ass off to get where she wants!

    Life has been really slow on my part but I will soon get back with stories to share… hopefully!

    Cheers

  5. Every word you’ve written is true and it’s so sad. I know how many people point fingers when a woman travels late at night or away from home. Even tougher if you are a mom. We are expecting to build our careers to suit our husbands and our kids later. If not, we just hear all kinds of random stuff. When I lived in the US, I realized that people there just don’t cook like we do. Making rotis at every meal and fresh food with sabzi, dal etc. adds so much work. And I don’t know a single home where cooking is the husband’s responsibility. Even raising the child, finding a nanny, finding a creche all are a woman’s headache. And of course, if she leaves early, she is unprofessional. Makes me so very upset!

  6. A woman’s career comes secondary and especially after she delivers the baby. The line which resonates with me most from the post is -‘Before we talk about how many women we need in the workforce, let’s talk about how many families want a daughter/daughter-in-law who gives her all into work even when the dishes are dirty and dinner is ordered in. Or the child is with the nanny.’ And I can tell you it gets dirtier from here with the *supposed* support system trying to create all sorts of dramas of ridicules, criticism and manipulation. It is not easy for a working mother when the baby is at stake.
    For all those DINK related comments, stuff your ears and mind with invisible cotton balls. People always have something to say and for every situation.

    • Parul Thakur says:

      I am sure it’s harder for parents and specially mums. I think the support system is the wrong approach. Kids are parents responsibility and not grand parents’. One a while during vacations or baby sitting is fine but making them take care as if it’s their job isn’t the right thing. Any ways not the point of the post here. 😉
      Thanks Anamika! Mind and ears are stuffed!

  7. BellyBytes says:

    Ah we all love to comment on others’ behaviour. But I admire you for standing up for yourself and doing what you want to do. Be true to yourself always Parul and keep doing what your heart tells you to do.

  8. Suzy says:

    People have a habit of talking and love to make judgements. You have to do what’s best for you but also keep in mind that what’s good for one is not necessarily good for another.
    Suzy recently posted…Nice Surprises #WOTY #MicroblogMonday #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  9. VINODINI says:

    Hey, congratulations on your new assignment! I’m sure you must be excited at the prospect of spending a few days in a new country exploring the place. I feel one can give their best only if they are happy. If we put our happiness aside and sacrifice our aspirations for others it does affect the happiness of people around us in the long run since we are not giving our best to them. It is vital to have that work-life balance. So, let people keep their own opinions. You know whats good for you. Hope you make the most out of your trip! Enjoy. 🙂

  10. Shilpa Gupte says:

    Oh yes, Parul…I have heard so much myself…”No kids! How nice..you can enjoy all the time!” Not once do people think before making such comments, I know. But, this taught me to think twice before jumping to conclusions about others, AND, accepting that people will always have stuff to talk about us…”Kuch toh log kahengey..logon ka kaam hai kehna..” SO, just turn a deaf ear, and do what you think is right, what makes you happy! And, BE YOU!
    Lots of love!

    • Parul Thakur says:

      Yes, that’s a good advice. I don’t take comments to heart but they do get saved at the back of mind and on some days, they hurt cos one feels that the freedom to choose is lost. I loved your point about thinking twice to jump to conclusions. So fair and right. Thank you Shilpa!

  11. I have lived by the “Be You” principle for a long time. I don’t do things that only makes someone else happy. At the sam time, I don’t expect others to do things just for the sake of my happiness. But I agree, many women are sadly in a situation where they are judged for making their own happiness a priority and that needs to change.

  12. Kat says:

    Hi Parul! You know, I’m finding that as I get older, it’s harder to be a woman. There are many ‘injustices’ happening. But, I think it all boils down to respecting other people’s choices. Just as long as we’re not hurting anyone, these things shouldn’t be an issue. Too bad not everybody agrees with this. 🙂

  13. These words resonate well with many women –
    Before we talk about how many women we need in workforce, let’s talk about how many families want a daughter/daughter-in-law who gives her all into work even when the dishes are dirty and dinner in ordered in. Or the child is with nanny.

    I agree on a lot about all the incidents that you mentioned. When I had to go to the USA, fortunately, both from my in-law’s side and my parent’s side, encouraged me and supported me by taking care of the kid. But, if I listen to my colleagues, not even 5% are as lucky as me to follow their careers, which is very sad. As you said, it is the families who should support if more women have to go to work. If there are in-laws waiting at home for the daughter in law to cook food after she comes from office tired, how can women even work?
    Mahati Ramya adivishnu recently posted…Sankranthi celebrations, A dull snowy day and a lot of books #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  14. Bikram says:

    Yes be you always.. why worry about what others say .. someone will always sonething so why bother.

    All the best always

  15. Vineeta says:

    Excelente
    Sometimes such type of posts are very important even I get strength being your mom after reading them .
    Keep it up
    Love u

  16. Bang on! I keep hearing things on why I am still a bachelor and such bullcrap. How tough it must be for a woman! And, the entire not having kids crap and hearing it often from women. Sadly, society is wired in such a manner. It gets so ludicrous.

    • Parul Thakur says:

      Yes it does! Thank you for stopping by Vishal. I appreciate that you are so open to share thoughts. I don’t think I have many male reader and if there are a few, this post would’ve been not important to read 😉

  17. Balaka Basu says:

    I have heard all the comments you mentioned..I wrote about this in my blog also about how I was judged not only by family and friends but even random strangers when I left my husband and son and went to Europe..It is not easy being a women. Good post as always Parul

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