March is a big month for us Mummies, with International Women’s day quickly followed by Mother’s day. Two big shout outs to say aren’t we fab, and aren’t we doing well!
Who Does the Cooking?
But how are we doing on our road to equality? The other day I was asked who does the cooking in our house. Incase you’re wondering it’s split evenly between me and my husband, which is what I would expect of any relationship! This is 2021 not 1951! Have we not graduated from being baby making machines and housewives? We can now juggle our own businesses or full time work along with all the demands of being a parent and home owner.
Anyway, my answer seemed to come as a surprise, and that in turn surprised me! So of course I had to go and do a bit of research and I must admit now I’m shocked. In 2019 just 46% of men were cooking at least one meal per day in the UK, 41% in America. These stats are a couple of years old, so let’s be generous and call it half. If they are correct, it still means there are a lot of ladies out there, doing way more than the fair share of their family’s meal preparations.
Now I’ve been a feminist since I was about five. Which simply means I believe in my heart of hearts that men and women are equal. We should have equal pay, equal maternity/paternity leave and equal division of household chores. The Norwegian social experiment done a couple of years ago, is a beautiful illustration of how much sense equality makes. In it a boy and a girl were given the task of collecting blue and pink balls. When all was done, they were rewarded with sweets. The boy was always given more. The children were outraged at how unfair this was, and they would even out the sweet piles themselves. They saw that inequality makes no sense.
Most couples both have commitments outside the home these days, so surely it stands to reason that chores within the home should be shared.
Are these Sats Right?
If they are, how does it happen that you end up doing all the cooking? If you cooked last night, it’s not your turn. And if you think this is wrong, tell me! Let’s write a new blog post about your experiences.
This division of gender rolls belongs in the past. My parents were born in the 40’s and they grew up with inequality as their norm. My own dad barely cooked until my Mum died. The only time I remember him cooking was when we’d go off on our annual ski trip without Mum. It sounds glam writing that, but actually it was a freezing cold cottage in Scotland and there usually wasn’t enough snow. The ski terrain was often a gauntlet of ice trails, that we’d slip and slide on all day building up our appetite. Then for dinner Dad would cook these weird tinned meat concoctions in the frying pan which we’d eat simply because we were starving!
Forced to Cook
Then when Mum died he had to get on with life and learn how to cook properly. Nowadays he’s an amazing cook, and he shows his love through food. My sisters and I are always treated to amazing feasts when we go to visit: BBQ’s (though that is considered the man’s domain for some reason?), stir fries, chillies, roasts, and always a big fat fry up for breakfast (there is usually a lot of wine the night before).
Now that we are the parents and it is our turn to teach. Dan and I want our kids to have at least five recipes they can make without thinking by the time they are ready to leave home. So far my son who is twelve can make Jamaican Jerk and Mac and Cheese. And my daughter, aged ten, makes great quesadilla and boils the perfect soft egg. They are learning that cooking is fun as well as necessary.
But we also need to remember that we are teaching our children all the time. They are watching and learning from everything we do. If they only ever see Mummy in the kitchen then deep down they are learning that the kitchen is Mummy’s place. Do you want your daughter to learn this? Or your son? Do you want to perpetuate the cycle?
As Chef Gusteau from Ratatouille said “Anyone can cook”…and everyone should.
Think about Who Does the Cooking
Enjoy your Mother’s day, put your feet up, let them spoil you rotten and if things aren’t quite even in your household, have a think about how you can address that. xxx