I had heard rumors of this but never knew they existed, the stay at home dad. I know of two families where the dad either works from home or stays at home and helps with the wife’s business and manages the children. In both cases the wives are doctors and lead a hectic schedule. Both men are Indians living in the US, away from the judgmental Indian relatives. They are free to exert their individuality instead of conforming to societal norms. They took a decision which suits their particular family.
Getting judged isn’t just an Indian phenomenon. In other cultures people are equally judgmental and gender roles are well ingrained in their psyche no matter how ‘modern’ the country. I know people who think that Indian men are somehow worse than say other men from other countries. A good man doesn’t come from a particular country. How a man treats a woman depends on his upbringing, value system and the kind of person he is.
I have had people congratulate me because my husband made me tea ! I am blessed to have the husband I have but not because he knows how to make tea. Maybe because he can make some amazing paneer malai mutter, hmm. Each household unit has a different normal where one partner completes the other. It should suffice if one partner drives if the other doesn’t like driving as long as the driving gets done. If one partner in the household cooks in case the other isn’t good with the art, it should be fine as long as there is food on the table. That is why we call them life partners, people who are supposed to complete the other not confine each other with rules and regulations
In my opinion cooking, driving, ironing, looking after finances are skills that everyone should learn in order to become a self sufficient human being. It should not be looked at through the narrow purview of gender roles. These are skills that should be basic and how it gets divided in a household should be up to the members involved.
Men share the cross of being judged too and hence would rather toe the line like most women do when it comes to gender roles. All men are not alike, just like not all women are alike. Some men like to clean, cook or engage with their children and take part in their upbringing. All activities that are assigned to the feminine. But should we confine these roles to a gender and expect that only a particular gender would do the task justice? Won’t we be depriving the family of something worthwhile if we insisted that only a particular gender cook or that the other gender drive.
I am sure that if these stay at home dads were back home in India where they were susceptible to being judged they would have abandoned post long back. Or maybe some people aren’t as bothered about being judged and would do what they think is best for their family. More power to gender equality and stay at home dads.