Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Tale of Two Families - Revealed

I was very happy with all of the varied responses to my post last week about the American and Punjabi families. If you haven't read it, you can find it here and you should read it before coming back here so you can see if you were right as to which family is which.

It's so easy to get caught up in culture and gender labels and use those to define how a person or family should function. The easiest being that it's often thought, in both the US and India, that the man typically works and the woman stays home. Although I will say that most families in the US now have a working husband and wife because it's so difficult to survive here on 1 income with all the demands we must meet.

With that being said, I decided to explain which family was which and why I asked the questions that I did. Whether you commented last week or not, I would love to hear from you as to your thoughts now that you know more about these two families. Which if you hadn't already guessed, are both my families.

The new information is in bold.

Family 1 - American

  • Lives in a joint family with one set of parents, a son and a DIL. Me, hubby, my son and my DIL
  • One of the parents works, the other does not. I work, hubby does not
  • The son works, the DIL does not.
  • The stay at home parent does a little housework. (Hubby) The working parent does a little housework. (Me) The DIL does a little housework.
  • The adult married son comes home from work, stops in his parents room and spends a little time. He sometimes takes off his shirt while in there.
  • The adult married son often eats food in the parents room.
  • The adult married son and his wife both sit on the parents bed and socialize.
  • The adult married son and his wife sometimes sit or lay on the floor in the parents room and socialize. 
  • The male head of the family (Hubby) often gets up and leaves the room when the DIL enters.
  • The DIL spends most of her time interacting with her husband and the MIL. (Me!)

Family 2 - Punjabi
  • Lives in a joint family with two sets of parents, a son, a DIL and two children. Uncle Ji, Chachi, MIL, FIL, Hubby, Me, Kitty, Ashu
  • Two of the parents work, two do not. (One parent from each family.) FIL and Uncle Ji
  • Both the son and the DIL work. Me and Hubby
  • The stay at home parents do the majority of the housework. The DIL does no housework. (I was not allowed but many times would sneak and do it anyway. I did put away my own laundry and dusted our room. But we had a maid so my chores options were heavily limited.)
  • The adult married son comes home from work, stops in his parents room and spends a little time. He sometimes takes off his shirt or changes clothes in there. (Hubby)
  • The adult married son frequently eats food in the parents room.
  • The adult married son and his wife both sit on the parents bed and socialize.
  • The adult married son and his wife sometimes sit or lay on the floor in the parents room and socialize. 
  • The male head of the family often gets up and leaves the room when the DIL enters. (FIL almost always left when I walked in the room.)
  • The DIL spends most of her time interacting with her husband and the MIL.

Which family is doing things wrong? What specifically are they doing wrong? I have been advised that it is wrong for my son to come into my room and socialize with me after work in the evenings. Specifically I've been told this is not normal in any family. Not by my husband but by his friends.

How would you feel about each family if you knew the mother(s) were the ones working and the father(s) stayed home?  Another factor is gender. I struggle with the 'woman's work' issues that I see in blended households like mine. Both me and 2 other women I socialize with offline who work outside of the home are still held responsible for the condition of the household and all that goes on inside of it. This actually angers me because I feel it should be a joint effort if both partners work and if only one works - regardless if it's the female working - then the stay at home family members should be held responsible for the majority of the housework (within their limitations if their are any of course).

I was happy to find that my readers share in my thoughts. Gender should not be a defining factor in who has what work to do. It should be based off of the logistics of the situation.



Also, for those of you who wonder why I've never mentioned said son and DIL before, it's because I removed all traces of them from this blog long ago after threats were sent to me (not by the infamous Nirmal) in regards to their welfare. I am only mentioning them now because this subject perplexes me and I don't manage my irritation over these issues well. I need unbiased opinions and I humbly thank you all for responding to my previous post.

2 comments:

  1. Alexandra MadhavanAugust 14, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    So interesting. The reason why it confused me is that with family #1 - a true Punjabi man would never live with his inlaws. And another indicator - that he would leave the room as soon as the DIL entered. Totally Indian LOL!
    And with family #2 - living in a home with two sets of parents - I thought you meant inlaws, not parents who are siblings. In that case that is typically Indian.
    I am a little surprised that you think of your family as American, isn't it intercultural, more so? Since he is from India and seems very much Indian, as all our spouses are...or did you mean residing in America.
    I don't think it is wrong for your son to come and socialize with you, you are his mother after all!
    And in these times of recession, more so than gender - it's about who has a job, and that person just happens to be a man/woman. Plus, this is 2014, why wouldn't women want to work?

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  2. Technically both families are mine lol. I guess it was just easier to refer to my family here as American as while my marriage is intercultural, they're fully American and my Indian family is fully Indian.

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