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As a mom, it is anyway difficult to ‘have it all’. Being a mom in COVID times have made it that much more difficult – what is have it all, anyway?
I had a checklist for all phases while planning my pregnancy; I could write a thesis about each trimester if needed. Equipped with my internet research and filled with confidence, I was using medical terms with my gynecologist. I am sure doctors detest such attempts by their patients – it amounts to encroachment of their intellectual prowess.
But I rocked the social circle of the would-be parents. I quickly became the maven mom in my social circle.
Queries ranged from downright funny to expert testimonies. A colleague consulted me on how to start her weaning phase, a fancy medical term to say the baby is now ready to ditch the mom’s milk for worldly gastronomic pleasures. A friend called to know how to go about planning a baby, another one called to check how to find out if the baby is getting enough feeds.
Fast forward to the end of the world theories of the Corona period and all those months-long preparations and contingency plans went in vain. All I knew about Corona was that the drink so named came in mild and strong variants leading to a good time. But this is one Corona that no one wants (mild or strong).
Being a mom in COVID times is not easy. On behalf of all mothers, I can say that it was difficult to ‘have it all’ in the normal times, a.k.a. Before Corona (BC) era and now due to the ongoing pandemic, the stress levels are off the roof. Motherhood is an indescribably overwhelming task, exponentially made daunting during the pandemic. No one has any blueprint, neither was it handed down from our elderly know-it-all grannies.
Working parents living in a nuclear urban setup are undoubtedly at the receiving end. They are donning several hats at the same time.
From the office ninja churning out budgets and plans on slides to becoming the class monitors during those ‘remote classes’ to worrying about the kid’s excessive screen exposure, the parents in the COVID times have a hard task at hand. In between those snuggles and screen time, refereeing a sibling fight and cajoling their bundles of joy to eat healthy, the parent of the COVID times is under more pressure than Kokila ben’s cooker. All this time maintaining their sanity, looking at their Insta-feeds filled with couples’ transformations while hogging on their comfort foods.
My childhood dream of becoming a theatre artist has come a full circle. For now, I don several hats every day changing them at breakneck speed. I oscillate and change my role within hours from a working mom to a mentor, cook, house help, teacher, tech support, medic, chauffeur, click-click language decoder and identifier of weird smell, to being on a brink of getting diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder.
We, the mothers, who have lately been too lazy to practice our most coveted art of winging liners while going out the door are currently winging our lives and have become multitasking ninjas at serving ‘kaadhaa’ while promptly handing out sanitizers as the (if at all) guest arrives. Initially thrilled by nuking our eternal dilemma of ‘what to wear?’ we now vociferously preach the goodness of natural ways of life, sitting in our PJs with our overgrown upper lips and bushy brows.
The erstwhile outings referred to as ‘retail therapy’ are now renamed as ‘gearing up for a war drill’. The drill is led by the superhero – The Mask – and the army consists of the face shield, a sanitizer to sanitize hands, another one to sanitize the first one touched by un-sanitized hands and a headscarf or matching dupatta because we don’t want to skip the latest fashion trends.
A vivid recollection from one such war drill was – an aunty who went a step further and with precision hung ear hoops which later slid down, and were found hanging on the loop of her mask. I haven’t seen anyone helplessly bearing with the slip-up because she had worn rubber gloves and couldn’t ask anyone to fix her faux pas.
This humongous level of work currently being tasked on working parents without their consent that most definitely will not go into their CVs comes with unique perks of being available 24X7 with no time-offs, no sick days and dealing with a boss who loves Peppa Pig and is allowed to have mood swings within split seconds.
Having renounced our car-to-carpet lives and spending more time on our feet than on our seat, we are doing herculean level of underappreciated work without losing our minds.
With all that self-pep talk to motivate myself before I go clean the soiled diapers, I nominate us- the working moms, to be the brand ambassadors of fitness, food supplements, energy drinks, and not to forget the good ol’ friend – caffeine to keep the ‘mombie’(mom + zombie) mode on. Hope these brands are listening.
Image source: a still from the short film Listen to Her
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