Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Time for husbands to #ShareTheLoad For Equal Sleep!

I recently attended the launch of the 4th chapter of Ariel's #ShareTheLoad movement and as always this year too they focused on something very very relevant. Over the years, Ariel has dealt with the question - ‘Is laundry only a woman’s job?’ in many different ways. This year, Ariel highlighted the existing household inequality in the areas of chores and sleep. Didn't think there was a connection between the two? Neither did I till I fell really sick last year (story to follow a little later).

With this year’s movement, Ariel has triggered a conversation around the startling fact that 71% women in India sleep less than their husbands due to household chores. Every homemaker wants to ensure that all members of the family are well looked after, and spends all her time in their care often giving up her own rest. Honestly people never tend to talk about this because most people don't understand the relationship between sleep and health, but trust me it is super vital. Also as Indians, women being responsible for household chores is considered normal and that is where the whole issue arises. This is just the way the society here thinks and which is why the women suffer even more. But thankfully I have grown up in a house where my dad was hands on and a huge help always to my mom, and so my brother always grew up knowing he was responsible for chores too. Sadly, in India, it is a fraction of the population who think that men should Share The Load.

I remember last year when I was really ill due to a stomach ulcer and the doctor told me how it wasn't healing and had aggravated due to me not getting enough sleep. It was then that I honestly for the first time realized how my lack of sleep had affected my health so badly and promised myself that never ever will this happen again. But then Prateek stepping in to take over a lot of responsibilities was also why I could recuperate and not have a relapse. But most men don't realize this. It is vital to understand that when we sleep, healing and repair of our heart and blood vessels happens. Sleep deficiency can increase risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke.

The panel discussion at the launch of #SharetheLoad For Equal sleep was moderated by Mandira Bedi. Eminent personalities like Tahira Kashyap, Josy Paul, Sharat Verma and Dr. Nandita Shah discussed the issue and put forward startling facts that made so many of us present there think, introspect and act. When the division of household chores is uneven, not only do women get less sleep and rest, but it also brings to light all the unaccounted hours that women spend in finishing up household chores that remain undone through the day, thereby throwing light on the mental load too. The image below tells you some of the facts that Ariel’s research shows:

The way men can start helping on this is by doing the simplest household chore which is laundry. In fact, it was nice to hear the men say that they are trying and are still guilty, but will make the effort to share more and more responsibility at home. With Share The Load 4.0, Ariel clearly brought to light the IMPACT of not sharing the load, and the ACTION that needs to be taken to tackle this. Laundry can be the starting point to drive across the country.

I related to all of it so well due to the experience I told you about. This clearly indicates, that it’s about time for the men in our life to step up especially our husbands and #ShareTheLaundry to #ShareTheLoad. Trust me this will lead to a woman who is well rested - a happy wife and a happy mommy - which in turn will mean a happy family!

The launch event ended with the reveal of the Share The Load 4.0 film depicted from the eyes of a little girl who notices her mom constantly doing household chores and is all the time tired and sleepy. You have to see the video for it to melt your heart like it did mine and leave you teary-eyed!

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