Breaking Gender Specific Stereotypes
Cooking is a life skill that is not gender-specific. Why is it that a capable man expects the women in his life to feed him? Can't he cook to save his life? If the man lost his manliness if he cooked for his loved ones? No, right? Then why not? Why not start when they are young?
So here I am breaking the stereotype that says, ''Boys should not cook'' and ''boys can't cook.'' This stereotype is unique because it is practiced by the same gender, which is being stereotyped. So, I am so proud of myself and thankful to God that he chose me to bring the change at least in my home as a mother whose son is a born chef, maybe.
I always used to say if I have a son, the first thing I will teach him is cooking, and I will make him learn the importance of it, if not for someone else but himself first; because I have seen many boys who stay in the hostels/abroad for their studies and could not make a single meal for them and is entirely dependent either on outside food or tiffin services.
Benefits of Involving Kids In Cooking
- Increases the vocabulary of the child.
- Self-esteem is boosted by doing chores that benefit the entire family.
- Cooking requires a lot of measuring, which improves math abilities.
- Focus and attention are improved.
- Strengthen the family bond & relationships.
- Allows for a discussion of the senses (taste, sight, smell, touch).
- When foods change their form, it will enable scientific observations.
- Allows for discussion on how eating nutritious meals leads to a healthy body.
- Cooking promotes appreciation and cleanliness.
About My Master Chef
Thankfully or I will say, ''God accepted my prayers;'' when my son completed his first year, he started showing interest in cooking and kitchen stuff. At first, I thought he was like any other kid who loves to play with utensils, but I was wrong and was glad at the same time that he is a different kid.
You, my readers, may not believe it, but at the age of 1 year and 3 months, Hitarth (my son) knew all the tea ingredients. However, he used to put the ingredients in the teapot himself, as we only used to measure and give him the authority in helping us prepare a tea
He was always interested in preparing meals (vegetables or dals) and used to stir them beautifully. We got many scolding from our parents that we let him enter the kitchen and play near the stove, but believe me, we were extremely cautious every time he was in the kitchen. We never let him touch the stove knobs. Although he is 2 years and 8 months old now, he still is not allowed to handle them. And he knows his limits.
As soon as he completed his second year, he started helping me do the dishes too, and you can imagine my ''ME TIME'' now. I frankly don't have any because you will always find Hitarth in the kitchen along with me. And now, he knows which pan I use to prepare what kind of meals and what meals we make at what time of the day.
What do Our Families say?
I get instructions from the family that we should stop him as he should be an officer one day, and boys don't look good in the kitchen. But, I never say anything to them in return because I know there is much generational difference, and they won't understand. But, my question is, ''Can an officer be a good cook too?''
Even if he doesn't choose to be a professional chef one day, he should definitely cook for himself and his loved ones. He should at least know cooking as being in the kitchen is equally important to other works that we do.
So, Involve Them Now
Since you are a parent yourself, you may read many blogs that say, 'involve kids in cooking.' Do these blogs mention only girls? No, right? Then why don't we start involving boys too?
Top-level chefs such as Ranveer Brar, Sanjyot Keer, Sanjeev Kapoor, Vikas Khanna, and many other male chefs have taken over all food channels in recent years. But, even after all of this, why does the misogynistic attitude still persist that only women should be able to cook?
Today 90% of men or maybe 80% (that too educated one) in relationships want their partners to cook, and some of those want their wives to serve them. Yet, even when a man does something as simple as taking water himself, people praise him & start saying to the girl, that you are lucky that your man helps you by carrying water for himself from the kitchen, wow!
What do I do To Keep Him Involved?
When I prepare the meals, I always call Hitarth to involve him in everything I do, including washing clothes, doing dishes, and other household chores, even if he is busy playing or doing something else. This way, he will know how challenging these simple-looking chores can sometimes be. And in the future, he doesn't have a mindset that cooking is the easiest task and homemakers do nothing apart from cooking.
How Does This Stereotype Thinking End?
Who will stop it, and when is it going to end? The answer is that women must end it themselves, with the help of men who must begin to be compassionate and adjust their attitudes about their culture and traditions. If men keep helping their wives in the absence of their parents but not while they are present, it will not change. Here, I am not saying to start arguing with the parents, at least try to make them understand the importance of learning to cook for the boys.
We are also trying to change the mindset of our parents, and we will keep trying till we get success because this is not a change; this is a ''GOOD CHANGE.'' And, cooking is not meant for a particular gender and should be equally distributed. So, COOK TOGETHER, GROW TOGETHER!
Namita is a mom to 2.5 yo boy, Hitarth. She loves to share her parenting tips with other moms to help make their parenting a little easier and fun. Her message to all the parents is to never discriminate between a boy and a girl. ''If a man can go out, so does women, and if a woman can cook, so does men.''
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.