Women are multi taskers. Indian women, a notch more. And hence a stress level further on the stressometer. We are juggling between not just roles of a wife, mother, employee, boss, but also some that our western counterparts do not have to deal with. Being a good daughter-in-law, sister-in-law etc. And we have rather demanding ones at that.
The concept of women working was not so common in our previous generation, so most mothers in law do not understand the pressures and one is expected to adhere to traditional protocol with respect to many responsibilities and the so called ‘duties. And we do not want to let go of our ambitions either. So we happily subject ourselves to stress. I can talk for myself that I’m often handling my clients calls whilst also stirring veggies and perhaps showing eyes to my tyke (sign language to indicate that he finish his homework). And there are many of the same tribe that I know of, doing all this and much more. In the process, our tribe is losing its mind.
Not Such a Fair World For The Fair Sex!
Living under the pressures of patriarchy, and stereotypes, most Indian women are not encouraged to be as ambitious as men are. Many, not-so-willingly, quit their jobs after getting married, to raise kids or to accompany the husband in case he relocates, or look after his parents. A pity, at times these sacrifices and roles are thankless.
Women are so busy role-playing – a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law or whatever else they choose – that they forget to focus on themselves. And the perfectionists that we are, we want to give it all out to each role that we are in. These relationships are important but not as much as the relationship that we have with ourselves. Don’t be too trapped in the drama of relationships. Relationships are vital. Being a good mother, wife, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, friend and lover are extremely important. However, don’t get too tangled. You have another relationship, with yourself. Don’t sacrifice so much that you lose yourself. Not regularly, but just every now and then, be a little selfish. It is when a woman will assert herself she will be taken seriously. You are not only here to assist others in living their lives. You have your own life too. It’s great to take out time for yourselves and do what you have always wanted to do. Ladies Night Out concept has become popular for a reason. So go out with your girl pals and chill! when you go out, leave behind one companion. Your guilt! Pursue your favorite hobby even if that means ignoring some chores for a while. Live!
Research shows that women are generally kinder, more nurturing and empathetic to others than men. At the same time, they’re meaner, more dismissive, and critical of themselves.The message women receive from the larger culture is loud and clear: other people are more important than yourself. You should be generous and forgiving towards others, but punish yourself mercilessly when you get it wrong. So we give, and we give, then we turn around and criticize ourselves for still not giving enough. We scrutinize everything that we do, and have mastered the art of finding flaws, in the food that we cook, in the face that we see in the mirror, in the bodies that rear children, in the homes that we create, in the presentations that we make… the list is endless. And eventually we crash and burn.
Hard On Ourselves, Harder On Other Women!
Women are hard on themselves. They are harder on each other. An overweight woman enters the room. Most women are thinking ‘how fat is she?’ A working mother misses a PTA meeting due to an office deadline, others think ‘what a terrible mother she is’. A girl in a short skirt makes other women go ‘Slut!’ in their heads. A pretty woman’s promotion makes other women wonder what she had been up to to get the job. You cook a dish. Before she’s tasted it, your mom-in-law has given you a ‘zero’. We are constantly judging. This, despite knowing, we ourselves are not perfect. As a woman, it is tough enough to survive in a male dominated world. Why be so hard on each other? Let each other breathe!
The Silver Lining
Outsource (whenever and whatever you can). In India it’s easier for us to outsource household chores, unlike in developed countries. Yet, we constantly try to be superwomen doing everything on our own without the help of the husband or any domestic aid. Perhaps the husbands are also conditioned differently. Their moms did everything so the same is expected of us too. And we take it upon ourselves perhaps as a given, perhaps as a challenge. But we also want to be what our daughters and daughters in law will be, independent working women. So basically not wanting to let go of that either.
The only option to not loose one’s sanity is to delegate on either front. Since at work we are answerable to a boss, might as well do it at home. Delegate and trust! Because another problem with us is that we want things to be done our way. Delegate and let go! Do not fret. Do not condemn!
Learn to also share the load because running a house is not just your responsibility but also that of your partner. Discuss, divide duties, seek support from spouse or his family. Do not let ego come between.
Do not take Non sense from anyone! Raise your voice against domestic violence, against dowry system, against sexual harassment in the office. It’s not bad to ask “Why not me?” (or “Why me?”). Don’t adjust just because you are afraid of the society or its shackles.
To all the brave and courageous women out there – Be visible, Be you!