International Women’s Day

Let alone being able to do what a man does (that’s a given), I am yet to see a lady not being able to do what a man does — a whole lot better (in every aspect of life and work and beyond).

As someone who hasn’t generally helped out as much as I know I should have in household work over the years but is finally making an honest effort off late at making an improvement (and I think my wife, Meenatchi Muthu, might agree with that, at least to some extent — I hope!), I’ve to share this experience.

The Grand Plan

  • About 3 months ago, I decided to take care of doing the dishes, wiping the kitchen countertops, etc. So, here was the idea (a rather simple one).
  • My wife will prepare dinner as she always does (if I attempted to do that, my family would need to sleep on an empty/hungry stomach).
  • Once she does, I’ll do the dishes (either before/after we finish dinner: some before, and some after)
  • I’ll wipe the countertops.

Simple, right? We shall see.

Execution

Week 1

  • I was extremely enthusiastic (I needed to prove a point as well).
  • I was eager to do the dishes (more so than eating dinner).
  • We ate, I did the dishes, and even said something along the lines of: “See, that wasn’t too hard. Just like I told you”.

Week 2

  • By this time, I had done this about 5–6 times, and had gotten the hang of it.
  • I did a bunch of optimizations (which pan to clean first, in which order, how to load the dish washer in an optimal manner, etc.)
  • I was feeling pretty good about myself, and my skill level so decided to challenge myself.
  • I added kitchen-area vacuuming to the list. So, a quick vacuum around the dinner table, and kitchen after every session.

Week 3

  • I was maintaining a good routine, but felt the need to find ways to make it a little less mundane. So, created a few Apple Music playlists, picked my favorites, Airplayed it to a few devices while doing the dishes, etc.
  • I felt more confident so decided to take it up a notch. I added mopping into the mix. So, dinner, then dishes, then countertops, then vacuum, then mopping. (Also, I upgraded everything we had along the way: a better vacuum, a newer mopping machine, etc.)
  • The kitchen was always spic and span, floor was clean and you could almost see your face be reflected (let alone, on a wood floor) :) I was proud, and I didn’t hide my pride. And self-proclamation definitely made its presence as well.

Week 4

  • Okay, at this point, I was becoming pretty good at what I was doing having gotten the hang of things. I knew where the Le Creusets went, where the Demeyeres did not go, etc.
  • But, I wasn’t enjoying the activity just as much. I had proved that I was completely capable of doing this, had good intentions, and can also be consistent about it so there wasn’t much in the way of motivation.
  • Besides, the time it took (about an hour, or hour and a half) and when that time needed to be spent started infringing on some of Snowpal’s work (typically the time I do code reviews, merges, etc).
  • Therefore, I tried to make some adjustments. No more silverware (at least, not all the time) so I ordered more disposable plates from Costco. Disposable plates, spoons, forks, knives, bowls, etc.

Week 5

  • Things started to get boring, and more mundane.
  • I wasn’t “looking forward” to doing dishes. I was sort of beginning to dread it. But, I didn’t share my feelings. I told myself it was one of those days, and I’ll feel more upbeat about it the next day.
  • I did the dishes, completed the vacuuming, and almost cheated on the mopping.

Week 6

  • I caught myself saying things like, “Would you like to take a couple of days off from cooking?”, “You need a break, for sure”.
  • The truth was that I needed a break (and my wife didn’t even need me to finish the sentence before she called out the ulterior motives).
  • So, we ate out. We ate out a bit (read: lot) more than usual. And I initiated all the dine outs. That part was also slightly outside the norm.

Week 7

  • At this point, I had to make a few more adjustments.
  • I changed the time I did code reviews, modified my work schedule a bit, planned out my day consciously, cut down on TV time, sneaked workouts every now and then (and in shorter bursts).
  • It was mostly alright but doing dishes did become a part of my day. I was constantly thinking about it, planning for it, trying to work around it — not to mention, scheming ways to bail out of it. Yes, I admit it.

Now, 7 weeks in, I realized that doing just one household activity (doing dishes) consistently was an ask. A significant one. I didn’t have to run a company, or go to school, or do research work, or report to a boss, or give birth, or teach my children, or drop them off at classes, or stay fit, or cook, or do laundry, or entertain guests, or keep my family together, or deal with unprofessional (read: weird) requests on LinkedIn , or worry about being stalked— I didn’t have to do any of it. All I had to do was do dishes.

I didn’t exactly tell my wife I was going to write about this (and she doesn’t read my blogs, or watch my podcasts — I don’t blame her, she sees and hears enough of me at home) so she doesn’t know that I am absolutely baffled by how she, and all the women out there, find a way to do all of this, and a lot more without complaining about it. Kudos to them, one and all.

To know that we are in 2022, and are still only making progress towards gender equality is appalling. Progress is good, but I only hope it is a lot quicker.

I am yet to see a woman do less. I am yet to see a woman not be good at whatever she wants to do. But, I do see women not be able to do what they want to do — for a variety of reasons. All the time.

I think each one of us, regardless of our race, religion, color, caste, creed, sex, preferences, orientation, skills, beliefs, or location, should at the very minimum have the privilege to do whatever it is we desire to do & whatever it is we love to do (so long as it is within the laws of the land, obviously) but since I am writing this on International Women’s Day, I want to add that the rest of us should do whatever it is that we can do to ensure that we present our best selves when we are in the company of women — be it at work, at home, at school, while traveling, while socializing, while eating, be it on camera, or in person.

Happy International Women’s Day.

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Manage your personal and professional projects on https://snowpal.com. Keep it simple.

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I am a Software Developer and Architect, and run the engineering team at Snowpal. Use our Web and Mobile Apps to manage all your projects!

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Krish Palaniappan

Krish Palaniappan

I am a Software Developer and Architect, and run the engineering team at Snowpal. Use our Web and Mobile Apps to manage all your projects!

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