In my previous post, I said both my kids should learn how to survive without house help. This is because I firmly believe that we should not deprive this domestic learning opportunity to boys even if it is normally designated to girls. Why shouldn’t we teach boys cooking when feeding oneself is the primary requirement to survive? Or why shouldn’t we teach boys to clean his surroundings ergo chores when this is part of basic hygiene.
My parents came from the time when only girls were taught to cook and clean while the boys were to be pampered and served. So partly my mother was brainwashed to go easy on my brother Ryan which was not as into housecleaning and cooking during the early part of our childhood. But I know that as adults Ryan and I equally learned how to do things right.
To make it harder, there is also the age factor because the youngest will have to obey the older siblings. It was difficult for my mom back then because she is the youngest child of the family. I think her parent’s discipline also made her the perfectionist and a little obsessive compulsive that she is today.
Like my parents, we grew up in a house without help. Even if it was easy to hire that time, we simply could not afford it. My brother Ryan and I would take turns setting up the table and washing the dishes. Then I would prepare the items for cooking and sometimes I would cook. During weekends I would go the palengke or wet market with nanay, clean the house, and do the laundry. The pressure was always on me to do these things because I was the girl. I sometimes question why but they would just say “Ikaw kasi ang babae“. I resented that and complained a lot but I figured that must be the way of the world.
But the years of experience made me aware how to run a household. I am thankful because my mother really made sure to teach us those things. She introduced me (my brother refuses to go) to her “suki” in the palengke, how to clean fish and meat, how to prepare food and cook, taught us the order of how to clean the house and dishes, and all the tiresome and yucky things that happen to make an orderly house.
Now that I have kids, I would equally teach them how to do chores no exemptions. They have to be prepared once they move out of the house, whether to study elsewhere or start a family. I foresee that it would be more difficult to hire help in the coming years and having years of practice shall make this daunting task bearable and maybe even a little fun. When house helps go, I know that there would be less time to write or read because of more work but I also know that I can handle it.
However, I would like to clarify that doing household chores is really not my thing. I don’t enjoy it then and I don’t enjoy it now. I would rather read or sketch. There was one time when I was tasked to cook Nilaga and my mind was probably off somewhere, when I forgot to wash the vegetables. We had to throw everything! My mother was furious! What a waste! My father and brother was laughing the whole time even if they were already hungry! All I’m saying is, even if you don’t like to do it, there will be times that you really have to. And being prepared will save you.
Still I’m blessed because I don’t have to kill chickens and pluck their feathers like my mother did.