Men will be men! Most men accept women friends and colleagues as equals and respect them for what they do. But when it comes to their wife they want her to take the major responsibility of the household even if she is in a good job. All in all she does not get the support that she deserves from the family.
“I think majority of men are like that. If you find someone who doesn’t then you are lucky,” Dr. Sonali Mhatre, who studies and works in Nair Hospital for Diploma in Child Health, says. Her husband Sarthak left his business to do full time job (Operational Manager) in a BPO to support the family so that his wife could complete her higher education. It is not often that you get to see such an example.
But there are men like Anil Shinde, Engineer in HPCL, who have seen the discontent in his friends’ families because their wives were working. His family on the other hand according to him is spiritual and so there is no space for this kind of discontent. He says, “The economic situation in the country is such that both husband and wife have to work. But we have a mutual understanding and thus make our marriage work.”
Yashraj Pednekar, Project Lead in Wipro insists, “I also think that the wife should get support at home because if both are earning, both spend more than 9 hours in the office per day.”
Anil is particularly critical about the couples, where the wife earns more than the husband. “In general, when the wife is working she has an ego. If she is earning more than her husband, the salary factor comes and there is no mutual understanding between them. I don’t have such problem in my family but I have seen it with my colleagues’ families. They are suffering with this problem.”
But then, the wife is burdened with the household work as well high salary or not. Anil says, “It can happen. Some men don’t like their wives working. Whenever he comes at home, he wants to see her in front of him always. Now-a-days, due to the economic situation, they have to send their wives to work. Otherwise in my case also, I don’t like my wife to work anywhere.”
Thus the patriarchal attitude comes to play and the wife has to encounter stress due to extra work. Anil says, “There are a lot of reasons. It depends on his family background and his relationship with his parents. It may be the effect of his father’s behavior with his mother. That could be the root cause. But once the education and later career has begun, the man goes out to the society and mingles with colleagues. Then there is a change in him.”
Yashraj suggests that it is the male ego that makes them domineering in their behavior towards their wives.
The reason according to Dr. Sonali is, “What you see is what you do. You have seen your Mom and Dad’s relationship. The same thing goes into you. If your Mom has been a housewife, you think that your wife should be my Mom-type. If she is not then you are not happy even if your wife is the MD of some big shot firm. You have seen your Mom working at home, cooking, washing clothes, etc. I mean kudos for her. You don’t realize that she could do these things because she was not doing one extra work of an outside job. Now your wife has a career you want that to be and then you also say that I want my wife to be just like my Mom. I mean you don’t want to compromise in the home sector. If there is a joint family, even the in-laws will expect the same, they don’t see that the woman is going out and working so hard. They want their son to come home and relax in front of the TV and daughter-in-law to come home and do all the work. Too many expectations take a toll. Wherever the in-laws are supportive, there is a very high chance that the husband is supportive.”
All the couples spoken to for this article agreed that the mother can inculcate the right attitude of the son towards his future wife, but this is not being done. Anil reiterates the general thinking, “We should inculcate respect for women in our son. My son for e.g. should learn from my behavior with my wife. It is ultimately the atmosphere at home that will decide.”
Asked if the mother can play a role in honing the personality of the men, Yashraj says, “Usually, guys are attached to their mothers. Whatever, they learn from their mother in their childhood, their personality will be developed accordingly.”
But, his wife Shruti insists, “I will bring up my daughter in the same way as my son. I will give them the same values. Later there will be the influence of the society in the form of peers.”
Dr. Sonali also concurs, “It should be the same thing with daughters. If my daughter helps me with chopping the vegetables I will call my son also to do the same. The values given should be irrespective of the gender. As long as the Mom has the equal attitude between the daughter and the son, it will go a long way. At the same time, the Dad shows respect to Mom in front of the kids, your kids are going to be excellent. On the other hand, if you are yelling in front of your kids… My husband and I have decided that when we fight it will be within the four walls of our room. It should not be seen by his parents or our kids. No one outside the door should know that we are fighting. It is a deal between us. As long as we both are comfortable with it, I don’t think…”
Yashraj also agrees, “If there is also a daughter at home, it will be easier to teach as well as learn. Because whatever you are teaching the son sees it being implemented in front of him.”
This article was first published in Eve’s Times. Reproduced here with the permission of the editor, Swati Amar.