Every morning I see mothers around me (including myself) running around to complete their daily chores on time, dropping their kids off to school, reaching their workplaces, rushing to the fitness class and so on. To manage time and navigate through the multiple roles we fulfil is a struggle, and we are always short-changed for the time we can call our own.
- The urban Indian mother today is a juggler par excellence, she fulfils multiple roles.
- We don’t have any me time and all the million things we have on our personal to-do list never get started.
- Trying to look for your happiness outside of you is a Sisyphean task, you will never be able to complete it.
- We all have needs and we are better people when those needs are met.
So, are mothers not good at time management? The urban Indian mother today is a juggler par excellence she fulfils multiple roles, apart from her traditional roles of being the primary caregiver, she is a career woman, a driver, a cook, an entrepreneur, and above all she is the sounding board for all her near and dear ones. She is forever readying herself for the strange frontier which may sneak up on her, a distress phone call from her mother or husband or best friend, that strange rash that the kid came back home with, the house help who suddenly announced she is going on a long leave. Even when we are sitting and doing nothing we are busy planning the next meal, the grocery list, or the next house party.
Fox News reported a study, in 2018, into the everyday lives of 2,000 moms and dads, it found that the typical parent has just over 30 minutes to themselves every day once work and parenting duties are tended to.
We all have needs and we are better people when those needs are met.
Mind you we were super at planning and achieving, once. We planned about the gap year, about the internship, about the professional degree, about the job change, when to get married and when to have a kid. But into the third decade of your life when we started living for other people around us, or try to, planning is the last thing we are good at. As mothers, we are trying to be everyone’s everything we are forever looking to strike a balance, trying to make all kinds of adjustments yet not being on the top of our game.
Remember how we had regular salon visits, spend hours having coffee with the besties, the endless shopping at the malls, with responsibility all these activities got spaced out and some of them gradually vanished and we didn’t even realize it. Today, without batting an eyelid, we cancel the yoga or the gym appointment because the kid is sick or is at home and there is no one else to look after them. We don’t have any me time and all the million things we have on our personal to-do list never get started. We are very serious about adding things to this list, however, when it comes to ticking them off, we struggle to even get started.
As mothers when we are trying to be everyone’s everything we are forever looking to strike a balance, trying to make all kinds of adjustments yet not being on the top of our game.
I think it is hardwired in our brains that we can have that me-time once we have finished all the chores, made everybody around us happy, but trying to look for your happiness outside of you is a Sisyphean task, you will never be able to complete it. As mothers we are always guilty of not being able to do enough, and enough is again a subjective entity, we are again feeding a bottomless pit.
The truth is we all need to time for ourselves, even if it is to get locked inside a room and cry and pull our hair apart. Some solitude when you have too many social expectations to fulfil is not bad, it gives you time to reflect. We all have needs and we are better people when those needs are met. You can't leave it upon others to give you free time, reclaim it even if that makes you look thick-skinned.
The views expressed are the author's own.