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Home / Sex and Relationship / Finally, we are equal partners: The slate is clean, draw up your own relationship goals

Finally, we are equal partners: The slate is clean, draw up your own relationship goals

Stay-at-home dads, 50-50 childcare — the field is wide open to new formulas in marriage.

sex-and-relationships Updated: Jul 19, 2020 09:32 IST
Simran Mangharam
Simran Mangharam
Hindustan Times
A father reads a picture book along with his toddler. (Representational Image)
A father reads a picture book along with his toddler. (Representational Image) (Unsplash)

He’s a stay-at-home dad, the man in the kitchen, the parent that handles all the play dates. Other women find that a novelty, I don’t. Raised by a single parent, I saw my mother earn a living, raise children, manage the house. One gender did everything.

In my conversations with singles aged 25 to 45, I keep hearing the women say, “I want to continue working; I don’t want to be expected to bring my husband his tea while he reads the newspaper”.

That’s what they grew up seeing, in the ’80s and ’90s. It’s how the marriages in their homes played out. The parents of those decades, however, raised independent daughters. Girls studied, often with career as a goal. The seeds were sown. And I am so glad they were.

That generation, our generation, of women who finished college, got jobs, travelled and lived in other cultures — and that first generation of men to see women do this on this scale — altered the contours of the urban Indian marriage.

In my coaching sessions, I often help clients visualise what the modern Indian couple should look like. There are three examples I use, real-world couples who inspire me too. The first is the stay-at-home dad and sole male in our parenting group.

To see this couple adopt a formula that works for both of them, is so heartening. They’ve been married 17 years, been parents for 10. And for most of that time she has had no idea what’s for dinner.

The second couple is making the most of technology and the financial resources at their disposal to live their best lives. They work long hours and have two school-going kids. Their staff uses apps to coordinate the ordering of supplies and managing of the house and weekly menu.

The couple’s domestic roles are divided on the basis of strengths and interests rather than gender norms. While he is in charge of the children’s education, she heads healthcare and budgeting. They go on one family vacation, one couple’s getaway and one individual getaway each, every year. They’ve been married 12 years.

The third couple also both work, and live in the same building as his parents, but in different homes. Dinner is always had together, yet everyone gets their space. The wife is more involved in the home, by choice. When she needs to scale back her domestic responsibilities and focus more on work, he steps in and takes over the former. They’ve been married 14 years.

The equality most of our mothers craved in their relationships is finally a possibility for us. Double incomes give us privileges that we should use without the guilt of not conforming to dogma. The slate is clean, draw up your own relationship goals.

Simran Mangharam is a dating coach and founder of Floh. She can be reached at simran@floh.in

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