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Everyone needs a break once in a while. But how many people recognize women’s right to needing a break from everyday life too?
The other day, I happened to come across a message that my husband received from his friend, “Bro,” he said, “Need a break from wife and kids,” he said. “Really need to sort my head out, things are so harried here.” he said. “Any suggestions for a week long vacation?” he said.
Such a harrowed man, I tell you. Considering he and his wife, both, run a startup together.
Now, I completely encourage people to travel when life gets too much to handle. But this text somehow got me thinking, if things are so “harried” for him, aren’t they equally harried for the wife? Like where does the wife come into picture here? Does she not need a break, too? Can she take a week off from responsibilities, her child, her family and her work, and disappear? And even if she somehow manages to fight for her right to take a week off, does she then get into an eternal debt with her family? Does she have to do that while answering embarrassing questions, like, “Why do want to go alone? What do you want to do there? Who is going with you? Which woman leaves her family like this and goes for a vacation? What kind of a mother are you?”
And I say this not only from my own experience, but also from the countless experiences of women, who respond to the suggestion of a weekend break with doubts like, “Let me ask my husband, I don’t think he will allow?” or “Who will take care of my kids, he can’t manage them?” or “No…no I have never travelled without my husband or kids. They will not like it.”
I mean seriously, can we for once sit up and consider ourselves anything else other than a robotic humanoid, fine-tuned for high efficiency and quality?
Can we please, consider us humans?
And I say WE before THEY, because THEY will not think of us as people with wants, desires and aspirations, unless WE do.
Can we think of us, for once as people who are fallible, capable of human errors, capable of wanting our children to shut up, just once, to shut up and leave ‘Mumma’ in peace for an hour.
Capable of getting up, and leaving for a night out without having to inform our spouses, our maid, our parents, our kids, hours, sometimes days in advance.
Capable of not having to ensure that there is enough food for the family, uniforms are ironed, shoes are polished, home-work is done when you need to take that much needed girls night out.
Capable of returning home late at night, without quizzing looks and uncomfortable questions, and knowing that the husband doesn’t need to be begged to get the kids ready and drop them to school. He will understand when he hears you walk-in at 2 am, your heels clacking and your voice singing for that joy of abandonment you felt those few hours.
Capable of having that understanding with your spouse, that we are equal. If you think you can just up and leave for beer with the boys, know this, I can up and leave for wine with the girls, or the boys or just me.
Capable of sitting with your husband, and having a mature discussion on dividing roles, taking days off from parenting duties, and making it equal, because maybe if you persist long enough, and try hard enough, he might just get it.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not speaking for all women here. I am sure there are those who have managed to set the right expectation, right from the get go. Ones who have chosen the right man to marry. Ones who have a social circle comprising only couples, so there no question about beer with the boys or wine with the girls. They do it all together. In fact I come from just, such a home.
I speak for the ones who haven’t set that expectation. Who, when they got married, did not even realize that of all things being taken for granted by their husband and kids, would be their greatest challenge?
I have often wondered at the unfairness of this whole fiasco; this fiasco of how we as women have ingrained sacrifice in our DNA, to an extent that we don’t even realize when we are being taken for granted, when we are not truly considered an equal, when no one, no one thinks that we might need a break too.
What is sad here, is that we are still fighting for our right to not have to cook and clean, when we get back after a long day from work.
I wonder, when we are finally able to conquer all those fights about housewives vs working women, about our safety, about sexual harassment, about discrimination, about periods, about in-laws, would we still have the courage to again, to fight for the fact, that “Women need a break too.”
Image source: flickr, for representational purposes only.