When My Husband Asks In The Evening, “Aaj Kiya Kya Tumne? (What Did You Do Today?)”

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The question “what did you do today?” from a husband is usually for gaslighting the wife to believe that they have been lazy or neglectful.

We women work hard. Whether we are single or married, young or old, sick or healthy, we nurture, care, juggle, step up, defend, sacrifice and plod on. However, a lot of things we do are ‘behind the curtain’.

Every so often, my husband comes home and asks, ‘What did you do today?’ Most times, I don’t have an answer. Not because I didn’t do anything. It is because I did a zillion things, and which one of those does he want to know about?

Does he want to know how the boys fought this morning and drove me nuts? Does he want to know about the car that bumped my car when I was waiting at the traffic light? Most often, it’s not. Most often, my husband wants to know if I did something he had asked me to do. If I say no, I didn’t, I am called ‘lazy’ or ‘forgetful’. I have been called forgetful so many times that I almost believe it now.

The question I would like to ask him is, have you thought about what would happen if I stopped doing all the things I do?

Just to give a humorous perspective, here are ten minutes inside my brain from the moment I wake up. Women do this all day long, every day.

5.30 am

Oh my God, its 5.30 am. I am late, again. What can I skip today? What day is it? Need to check the weather. What did J say he wanted for lunch?

5.32 am

We have the marketing brainstorm today. Should be fun. P accepted my LinkedIn request to connect. I don’t even remember sending this invite. It’s been a while since I spoke to mom. I should try to call her on the way to work. What do I wear today? Do I need to wash my hair? Maybe I should get a haircut? My skin, it’s getting so dry.

Is J’s green t-shirt clean? His pant is loose. I will have to tighten the waist now. No, wait. I need to have my shower first before the kids wake up. What did I decide about my hair? Am I washing it or not? If I wash, I will need time to blow dry. Hmm, I will skip hair washing.

5.34 am

I need to speak to A. I have been trying to set up a date to meet with her for so long. I should send an email to her today. I am almost out of body wash. Need to put it on my list. What am I doing about shampoo? Need to buy a nice one. The bathrooms need cleaning as well. I should vacuum this week because R is visiting us next weekend. I was supposed to call her! That is important. I will call her instead of my mom while on my way to work.

5.36 am

Is that one of the kids stirring in their sleep? Hmmm. What am I eating for lunch today? Oh God, why is it still so cold. Good that summer is not too far. What is V’s schedule this weekend? Maybe I should try and set up a play date?

5.38 am

I never got around to researching for the kids’ birthdays. I should do that asap. Where is J’s pant? V is almost 2. He needs more clothes. Maybe I should make a trip to the store. Can I go today? Where are the needle and thread? Oh no, I forgot about the tea boiling on the stove. My hands are so dry. Maybe I should research a good hand cream. I need to get cracking on that project management tool today. Is there enough gas in the car? Where did I put the car wash coupon?

5.40 am

I really need some nice clothes. What is that sticky stuff on the carpet? I need to find time to put away old clothes. There are so many toys. Maybe I should talk to J about giving some of them away. He also needs to practice his writing. Oh no, I am one of those horrible moms whose kids languish in school. Is it someone’s birthday today?

By 6.30 am

I have made breakfast, packed two lunches, altered a pant, washed and blow dried my hair, emptied the dishwasher, washed a few dishes and loaded the dishwasher, checked the weather, checked the preschool and daycare calendars, made a to-do list for the weekend, ordered diapers off Amazon and am getting ready to eat my breakfast. My phone buzzes with a notification. It is an email from my husband that says, ‘You forgot to upload pictures from your phone’.

Note to self and all women out there: You are the only person who understands what you do. The next time you are asked, ‘What did you do today?’, breathe and ask back, ‘What part of it would you like to know?’

Note to all men: The next time you feel like directing the above question to a woman, ask her ‘How was your day?’ instead. It dignifies our behind-the-scene work and is a great conversation starter.

Header image is a still from the movie Secret Superstar

I am an Indian living in the United States. Family comprises my husband and two

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