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It’s important to remove the voices of patriarchy from our minds. People have changed, but it will be long before patriarchial systems evolve.
How overwhelming does it feel like to be a woman?
When I held my little bundle of joy in my arms my first reaction was ‘Whoa! How did I even create a whole human inside my body?’ Little did I know then that I had officially entered the superpower zone of being a woman. A zone where I needed to unlock all the superpowers I had in store.
While leaving the hospital I very casually asked the nurse, ‘So how often do I need to feed the baby?’ She replied even more casually, ‘Every two hours 24 *7 until she starts her solids.’
‘Sorry what? What about getting some sleep and rest at night at least since I just delivered a human and it is possible that I might be tired as hell?’
‘You can forget that for the time being’. She replied.
So I came back home, a little shaken at the prospect of the lack of sleep, nevertheless over the top at starting a new life with my daughter. I fed my daughter every two hours. And I tried to catch a few winks in between.
There was no sleep of course, but the chores of the day remained. Like feeding myself, bathing the child and all the things that need to be done in a household. There have been times when I was overwhelmed with all the pressure and the recuperating weakness that I could hardly move.
Ironically I still had to go on, and I still don’t know how I pulled all that off. When the reservoir of energy went off in me, I just looked at my daughter and found enormous amounts of energy. These helped me go on and push myself beyond my own boundaries. In fact, I still find energy when I look at her.
At moments when I fell asleep while feeding her, I chided myself for being an irresponsible mother. But as time passed I realised that I was giving more than my 100 percent and that I deserve a pat on my back.
I have a preschooler now and I still fall asleep before she does. Often, I wake up with her caressing my cheek with while sucking her thumb with the other. But I do not judge myself and pat myself on my back because I deserve it.
I always thought I was a great cook. When in college, I mastered three dishes apart from Maggi and scrambled eggs. It went well with my friends and I was always praised by my close friends that I cooked really well.
With the confidence I found in college, I stepped into running a household. I was doing great with a cook in the house when suddenly I ran out of someone who can be to my liking. So I took the responsibility on myself.
The question, ‘what’s for dinner?’ on the first day seemed like a call to scale the Everest! Our fridge was empty, there were hungry people, including a very hungry me and quite naturally, Zomato came to our rescue.
Over the years I had mastered the art of taking care of the essentials. But there are still days when I feel like just being in my pyjamas and binge watch something while doing nothing. Still, the need to put food on the table three times a day remains.
While its nice to be depended on, there are days when you wish someone would take control and you can just do nothing but eat the warm food. I, of course, take these breaks thanks to a very accommodating family. This is my way of patting myself on the back for all the effort I endlessly put in.
The other day, I was talking about ‘How difficult it is to balance work and life as a woman’ with a friend. That’s when she generally said ‘It’s patriarchy. You can only live around it.’ I never thought about it that way and her statement just opened me up to the fact.
The world we live in is shaped by the patriarchy. The world has changed over the years, mindsets have changed but the way things work remain the same. It assumes that women naturally know how to care of things. However, the fact is we do not.
When we hold a newborn baby we do not have a manual to guide us except our instincts which at times are wild guesses. Similarly, when we are expected to take care of a home, we are completely clueless about where to start just like the men.
What makes the weight of these expectations worse is the constant chatter of our judgemental minds that keep reiterating ‘you are not good enough.’
For example the other day, I decided to go out and watch a movie by myself while my husband babysat the child. Throughout the movie, all I could feel was guilt when there was no reason to feel guilty at all.
It is important to remove the voices of patriarchy from our minds. People have changed, but it will be long before patriarchial systems evolve. Changes of humongous proportions take time.
The world would not understand your struggles or sacrifice. It will not be kind to you. But you can be kind to yourself. Do not feel guilty about investing in yourself.
And if despite putting in your heart and soul into something people do not appreciate you, do not forget to pat yourself on the back because you deserve it. More than patriarchy would allow.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Dear Zindagi
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A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple
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