If there was ever a time for women to look inwards and stop feeling guilty, it’s now. Relax. You don’t need to prove anything.
I have arrived at a diagnosis for all of womenkind. We all congenitally suffer from perfectionist-mania.
Now let me make the definition more expansive and tell you that you do belong in that statistic, even if you think you don’t. The current state of affairs has made us mere bystanders as we haplessly watch the world suffer and change around us; everyone, everywhere is having to reassess and restructure their lives and expectations from themselves. But we women are an incorrigible lot.
This occurred to me in the kitchen as I sat wondering what to cook. While my online feeds are teeming with tips and tricks encouraging minimalism, promoting one bowl meals, eating khichdi and Maggi for a week or even living on milkshakes and dals, I was going about preparing a lavish meal of veggies, dal, roti, rice, meat, salad and dessert for the family.
My husband tried to talk me out of it but I was always emotionally wedged between trying to do right by my ‘badhti bachchi’ at home or then indulging the other ‘overgrown bachcha’ of the homestead. Did anyone push me towards hosting a neighbourhood langar when we barely have ingredients and there is a mountain of jhadu pocha, dusting and washing to battle? No. But we like to do our best don’t we?
It’s an innate nurturer quality which made us this way. But if there was ever a time to look inwards, ask yourself to behave and stop feeling guilty, it’s now. And this wave of change doesn’t just stop at the door of the kitchen. It’s about realigning every expectation to fit into the altered reality that is our present.
Barring some lame jokes on social media and Whatsapp groups, I have been pleasantly surprised by how most men seem to have risen to the task in their boxers and are knee deep in cleaning supplies, hand in hand with their wives. But will we give up and learn to let go when we must? No.
There are a lot of wonderful ideas that have been floated among parent and school groups on how to keep kids gainfully occupied. I know women who are driving themselves nuts trying to create DIY kits for their children, armed with ladles and washing powder in another hand, staying up nights, preparing, only to ensure their kids don’t get bored. Of course it’s hard for children to cope and we must do what we can as parents, but not at the expense of our sanity.
These are trying times. Let them get a little bored. Let them listen to audio stories, read, spend some time creatively on their own. Chances are they will surprise you pleasantly. Children are often wiser and more resilient than we will ever be. Let them evolve and adjust with you.
Next in line are workout videos. What can be better than keeping fit during these stressful times, right? That’s what I thought, till I saw 21 day scoreboards and weight tracker clubs emerging. Trust women to throw a challenge at themselves while battling many others. Stressing about something that is meant to relieve stress. Some might like to make sandwiches while running on the treadmill, but I think I’ll pass for now.
Here is a favourite of mine. Productivity. The slippery existential slope we tend to seek out, especially when we have no need for it. How many calls have you managed, how many words have you written, how many tasks have you ticked off, how many gourmet meal boxes have you stashed away like an Indian born Nigella Lawson. This is not the time to prove anything to yourself. You are doing your best already and no one is keeping score or judging you. And even if they are, it should be the least of your concerns.
These examples are only a few from the exhaustive list of ways in which we have a penchant for reducing ourselves, questioning and pushing ourselves, to do a little more, a little better. These are not the times for excellence but survival, tenacity and sustenance.
The earth is shifting like unruly tides right below our feet. All we can do it take a day at a time and bob along, waiting to surface to a day when all of this will be behind us. Till then, stuff that pile of un-ironed clothes in a cupboard, cook some Maggi, take a long bath (without wasting water of course) and put your feet up and watch that terrible web series everyone’s been talking about with your favourite snack and drink.
Now that’s a ‘perfectly’ happy thought to indulge in isn’t it?!
Image via Unsplash
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