Task Rabbits

I have noticed that many of my single girlfriends are simply exhausted by men – they  are so fed up  that they have given up the search for a life partner. They feel that it is better to be alone than with a man. As a married woman, I try to explain to them that marriage is a blessing. I tell them anecdotes of my husband killing bugs and changing light bulbs and they sigh at me. One friend recently said something that gave me pause,

“That’s it? That’s all I am getting? Someone who kills a spider and changes light bulbs. My super does that. You can’t expect me to give up so much for so little.” 

Disclaimer: my husband does way more than kill spiders and change lightbulbs. He is a wonderful man who provides me with love and stability.

But why is it that I only recount those 2 attributes when talking about the benefits of having a man? It’s not just me, my other married friends always chime in with things like:

  • Changes tires
  • Fixes laundry machine
  • Does the taxes
  • Mows the lawn
  • Grills stuff
  • Installs home theater

Are we married to men or task rabbits? Are these the best things about the men in our lives? Is this all we expect from them? Or are we all stuck in a vicious cycle?

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Gender Roles:

Gender roles are a set of societal norms that dictate the types of behavior which are acceptable and appropriate for people based on their sex. These roles mainly center around femininity and masculinity.

While gender roles vary from culture to culture – the typical male attributes are supposed to be: strength and self-reliance, success, no sissy stuff or don’t be like women, sexual interest and prowess, active, independent, tough, aggressive, dominant, stoic and never cries (Bem, 1974; Broverment et al., 1970; Herek, 1986; Zilbergeld, 1992). These defaults define the standard for masculinity

One of the biggest shortcomings of masculinity is that it limits men’s emotional development. Being emotional is perceived as negative – a female attribute and therefore negative.

Emotional Intelligence:

EI is the capability of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to a specific environment or achieve specific goals.

Studies indicate that women have higher EI than men because emotion is considered feminine . Masculinity calls for men to be free of emotion because boys don’t cry.

And yet succeeding in life depends in large part on succeeding socially, and a part of social success depends on EI.

How can we expect young men to succeed in relationships/life if we do not provide them with adequate tools to do so?

The Bottom Line:

Yes, our gender roles are evolving, slowly but surely and maybe one day we will realize that gender roles are just cultural norms and we should not force girls to wear pink and boys to wear blue. But until then we must realize the importance of emotional intelligence. The ability to understand people around you – we teach this to our girls. We allow them to grow emotionally and thus we have raised some very remarkable young women.

But our boys are stunted. They are unable to deal with the realities of life and are instead crushed by expectations of masculinity. Being a man must be more than grilling and changing lightbulbs.

Going back to my conversations with my single girlfriends, you are right. You need a man not a super. The stories I share with you to illustrates the benefits of having a man are pathetic. I need to reset and stop holding my husband to rigid gender norms.

So here is my challenge to you ladies: Stop accepting society’s norms on what men should be, expect more from them . Don’t simply ask, demand it! They will hate you, they will fight you, but ultimately you are helping them.

Mothers, teach your boys how to cry. Teach them how to label emotions – teach them the difference between sadness and anger. Teach them how to communicate. Give them the gift of emotional intelligence so they grow up to be more than task rabbits.











Marriage Transactions

A friend of mine is tying the knot with a man she has known for barely a year. We have had many conversations where I have advised her against it.

Marriage is sacred, it’s about finding your partner in life – somebody who will love and support you. You need more time to properly vet someone. This is a major life decision.

My friend however, feels that she knows this man well enough and they are clear on what the expectations of the marriage are. She wants to have children and be a stay at home mom and he wants a marriage where his career will be the priority. He can financially support the family and has purchased a house in the suburbs.

The way she presented it to me made me cringe – but as I think about this more I wonder if I have placed too much emphasis on the love part of marriage? Can transactional marriages be successful and is it smart for a woman to be frank about what the roles and expectations are?

I have grown up around the concept of arranged marriages. My parents only knew each other for 15 minutes prior to their wedding – they have been happily married for 34 years.

Their marriage was a transaction– both parties were aware of the expectations:

  • My father was to be the breadwinner
  • My mother was to be a housewife and mother

And while this doesn’t sound romantic it is clear. Everyone agreed on what was going to happen.

Modern Marriage:

I am beginning to think that modern women are being swindled into vague marriages under the guise of love, and that perhaps it’s time to take a page from my parent’s book and look at marriages as transactions with clear roles and responsibilities.

In “Even Among Harvard Graduates, Women Fall Short of Their Expectations,” Claire Cain Mill addresses a study of HBS alumni and its findings are not surprising –

Ms. Mill writes,

“…women in business overwhelmingly want high-achieving careers even after they start families. The problem is mismatched expectations between what they hope to achieve in their careers and family lives and what actually happens…Men in general expect their careers will take precedence over their spouses’ career and that their spouses will handle more of the child care, the study found – and for the most part, men’s expectations are exceeded. Women, meanwhile, expect their careers will be as important as their spouses’ and that they will share child care equally – but, in general neither happens…”

So, women in business go into marriages expecting their spouses to handle half of the work while their spouses have other plans.

You see what I am getting at here?

Marriage Contracts:

In Islam marriage is a legal contract between two people. A formal contract that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom and bride is signed by both parties. While I don’t agree 100% with terms listed in an Islamic marriage contract, I do admire the concept of creating a legal document that clearly define rights and responsibilities.

The 2nd Shift:

I’ve been married for 3 years. I love my husband and the life we have built together.

We both work high stress jobs and we both have great ambitions to be successful.

We both wake up at 6 am and leave work around 7 pm (on average). However, when I leave my office I prepare for my 2nd shift.

This is the other job I have – the homemaker. This job requires the following things:

  • Dinner preparation
  • Laundry
  • Walking/Feeding the dog
  • Cleaning
  • Social calendar management
  • Groceries

These things happen from 7 pm – 11pm.

Do I like to do these things? No. Did I think I would be doing these things at the frequency and volume that I must before we got married? No. Did we talk about these things before we got married? No.

I am sure I am not the only woman working the 2nd shift.

Women make up approximately 47% of the workforce in the US – almost half of the total workforce. So why haven’t we updated our gender roles to match this statistic?

Why are women now working and managing the household?

Ms. Mills  writes in the HBS study,

“The highest-earning female executives with small children spend 25 hours on child care a week, on average, while male executives spend 10…”

There is an imbalance between the expectations and reality.

Final Thoughts:

There is a stigma around married women who work – employers often feel that they will prioritize their home life over work. I have seen it happen, mothers pushed out because they simply cannot lean in enough.

But I think that we have it all wrong – It’s not that married women prioritize their home life more than anyone else. It’s just that they didn’t get clarity prior to marriage on who was going to do what. They entered a verbal agreement with no clear definition of roles and responsibilities –cultural norms rule their marriages.

Men are not at fault; they are just behaving the way they have been taught to behave and doing exactly what they have always been doing.

I think to change these outdated gender roles we need to start looking at marriages for what they are – contracts. Love is vague. Love shouldn’t be the basis of marriage.

I know this doesn’t sound romantic and it isn’t but romance is only a 1 part of marriage. Marriage requires hard work and a disproportionate amount of that work falls on women because of antiquated gender roles – this affects everything – from women’s careers to their social lives.  Everything takes a hit because women do not take the time to create rules. Women let society create the norms for their marriages.

Are contracts the solution? Maybe. But we should at least think about these things before tying the knot.

Going back to my friend who is marrying a man she barely knows – I wish them success and I think they are on to something. She knows what she wants in her partner and he agrees. They haven’t created a formal document outlining this- but they are more prepared than most people.

My Gussie

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while now, but every time I start to type –tears blur my vision. I can’t even see what I was writing. Even now, as I type, I am sobbing.

My sweet little puppy passed away about a month ago. He had a very aggressive form of cancer. He fought hard – he went through surgery and 5 rounds of chemo. My little puppy weighing in at 24 lbs. – battled through 5 rounds of chemotherapy.

Gus was more than my dog, he my was child. I always said,

“when I travel I miss him first and then my husband”.

Gus was my greatest love. He was always there for me –  in 2015 I went through a lot of pain and suffering – there were times when I didn’t want to go on. I felt like my life was meaningless and I needed to let go, but every time I fell into this despair, he would be there, giving me a reason to live.  He was whatever I needed him to be – he was silly and would thrash around the sheets, he was calm and watched real housewives with me, he was energetic and took long walks at 6 am and he was loud, barked at the seamless delivery guy. He was everything and now he is no more – I feel so lost without him.

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 7.35.43 PM.png Gussie in 2012  – not 100% trusting me

When I met my husband in 2011 – I met Gus, and I didn’t like him. He had wild fur that was all in knots and his breath was terrible. I thought he was too quiet and had no personality. The first couple of months – I wouldn’t even interact with him. I had never experienced a dog like this, he wouldn’t bark or be aggressive – he was just calm. But as I slowly got to know him I realized he was onion, you had peel back his layers.

In 2012, I took Gussie to the vet for a teeth cleaning. I dropped him and I went to work. It was a busy day and I had a lot of back to back meetings. I didn’t check my phone. When I finally got to my desk, I saw 3 missed called from the vet. I immediately called them back – I was terrified. The vet informed me that he had really bad gum disease and because I didn’t’ pick up the phone they went ahead and removed all his teeth except 8.

That was the moment I realized just how much I loved him. I began to hysterically cry at my desk. I felt horrible. The vet called and I didn’t answer and now my little guy only has 8 teeth. When I picked him up he was loopy. I carried him home in my arms and I sobbed. I let him down and it was the worst feeling I have ever felt.

But, he was fine. My Gussie, was so tough. Soon, we realized that the tooth removal was a blessing. He was in pain and now that the bad teeth were gone he could eat a lot more. He even chewed through bags looking for treats.

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 7.36.22 PM.pngwhen I found out doggie pajamas were real

In 2014 when my husband and I tied the knot – I refused to leave Gussie behind. We were traveling to Savannah and I needed Gus to be there. We carried him on the plane – a 2.5 hour JetBlue flight. He slept the entire way. Another passenger commented that they didn’t even realize a dog was on board because he was so quiet.

The night before the wedding everyone went out to a bar. I left around midnight so I could have my beauty sleep. I changed into pajamas put Gussie in the bed-force cuddled him until he slipped away and drifted to sleep.

I awoke at 5 am to get ready and as I opened my eyes I noticed that Gussie wasn’t there. My friend and I ripped apart the room looking for him. I was so afraid that I had left the door open and he ran away. We ran into the main house and climbed 5 flights of stairs to where my husband was. As I tiptoed into the room, I saw the bed and a little head popped up – it was Gus. He was sleeping on the edge of the bed.

My husband had walked home from the bar at 3 am – come into my suite taken Gus and carried him up 5 flights of stairs.

The last few months of his life, he was so tired – he had chemo every 3 weeks. That meant, that he would have 1 good week and then he would be sick for the rest.

His last treatment the vet brought him out with a yellow bandana and a certificate that said, I Kicked Cancer’s Tail! He has no visible tumors. I felt a sigh of relief. I thought that everything we were doing was working and that we had more time.

What I would give for more time with him.

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 7.36.41 PM.pngAlways so happy

As I was creating the guest list for my husband’s birthday party – it occurred to me that Gussies x-rays were the next day. I felt a lump in my throat.

The day before I was supposed to spend the day with him – I had taken off. But something came up at work, so I said would be gone for an hour. It took the entire day. I got home at 9 pm. I walked him and tried to feed him. He didn’t want to eat the dog food. He wanted chicken.

I went to cook him some chicken and my husband and I argued that we should only feed him the specially formulated food to fight the cancer.

I put the half cooked chicken in the freezer, it’s still there.

He didn’t eat the dog food.

The next day I had to work again. I woke up at 8 am and took him for a walk, gave him a kiss and went to work.

I got home at 1 pm and my husband and I argued about something while he sat patiently on the couch.

I took him for a walk at 6 pm. We walked down his favorite street – he pooped in front a restaurant where people were eating outside (his favorite thing to do). I brought him home and fed him. Then I picked him up and sat in the window with him. He loved looking out the window.

He threw up 2 times after that and the 2nd time was the last. Something had happened.

We had to rush him to the vet that night, during the party. We slipped out and I held him in my arms as my husband drove. He was breathing so heavy, I kept whispering in his ear “I love you, you’re a good boy.”

When we got the vet, it was clear, he was bleeding internally and we had to let him go.

That day at 4 am – we put him to sleep. In my husband arms as I stroked his head. He left us.

I have never felt such pain.

I have never felt such guilt

All I wanted was time with him and yet I never gave him time. I live with this guilt every day. My greatest regret was not spending that Friday with him. I am so sorry my Gussie.

The lesson I have learned from all of this is to spend time with those you love because you never know when it’s going to be over.

But the truth is, I haven’t even given myself time to grieve – I’ve been so busy. I had an epiphany this week, I need to find my balance. I need to center myself again. I feel so sad every day. I feel so alone in my grief. I feel so pointless.

I have been taking medication to fall asleep and medication to wake up. Inside, it feels like I am running on fumes – I don’t know how I’ve been existing.

I need to accept that I’ll never hear his collar tag jingle (my favorite sound). I need to forgive myself and let go of the guilt. I need to feel this pain, let it wash over me.


I love you so much. I miss you so much. You were such a good boy. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for coming Savannah for our wedding. Thank you for wearing that ridiculous bowtie collar. Thank you sitting in that stroller I got for you. Thank you for playing with the hand puppets I bought from Ikea. Thank you for being my guard dog when my husband was away. Thank you for always sleeping on my side – warming my feet.

I hope you had a good life. I hope we gave you everything you wanted.

I’ll never forget you. I am sorry I tried to push these feeling away.

You are forever my favorite.

❤ Aditi


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My last mothers day with Gussie (featuring Rikee my family dog)

Bucket List

Found this in my google drive today, Dated July 22nd, 2011. screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-8-33-46-pm

I am both amused and horrified by this list…amused because it reminds me of how simple things were in 2011 and horrified because I realize how simple I was in 2011.