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Why Is A Woman Expected To Carry On Even When She Is Exhausted?

It never occurred to me that I was taking in more in my plate than I can afford to —every morning I had to decide the week's menu, getting groceries, cooking three times a day, doing schoolwork, pick and drop from school if and when required! And doing laundry, doing dishes, taking my child to play dates and more!

I have never liked doing housework. Growing up, I never really had to do anything. While living alone and working in different cities, I always hired a help for everything housework.

On days when, my help did take an off, I conveniently ordered in takeaways and ate watching a movie or just binge-watching. Life was simple, sorted out. All I had to do was make money, focus on myself, my happiness, and things fell into place.

Then I started my family

Years later, when I started a family, I suddenly changed. Maybe it is the subconscious pressure on a woman that worked on me. I decided that I would cook for my family every day, I gave up a well paying job to be with my tiny newborn daughter.

Who would look after the house if the woman of the house did not?

I accepted that stupid reasoning. Also, are we not bombarded by images, ads and societal norms where it is natural for a woman to put herself last?

A few years into this life, I went into a depression. I did not realize why. I was doing what I wanted.

Every morning I had the pressure of deciding the week’s menu, getting groceries, cooking three times a day, doing schoolwork, helping with the pick and drop from school if and when required, doing the laundry, doing the dishes, taking my child to play dates, attending PTA meetings, doing school work, the list is endless.

Women often don’t realize they are overwhelmed with so much work!

But it never occurred to me that I was taking in more in my plate than I can afford to.

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Then there were those sick days when the child brought in various fever and cold every month. I would always take in the virus from her, as I was the sole care taker on those sleepless nights.

The next day, the housework remained the same. Even on days when I was feeling unwell, the housework, responsibility and pressure of holding up the house remained the same.

The problem was so internalized that there was no place for solace

I often tried to have a conversation about this with other women. All had the same martyr kind of answer. Women have to keep running to run the house even if they are unwell or not able to cope.

I accepted these societal norms yet again and carried on. After all, who would take care if the woman of the house does not?

And then breakdown happened

This continued until I had a major breakdown. A breakdown that led me to understand that, it is not the job of one person to run a household. It is not fair that a woman has to keep running the house even when she is not well.

That it is insane to set such unhealthy standards on women and expect them to cope up. I realized that when I had been working, I never logged in an extra hour without being paid extra.

Here, for the name of love and the subconscious peer pressure of being an ideal mother, wife and woman, I have been putting my self to unimaginable pressure.

Just too many women had accepted this as normal!

What struck me most is women accepting this as normal. Like seriously, women, where is your common sense? This is a question I want to ask every woman who had told me — women have to go on even when they cannot.

Would you really say the same to your daughters?

Of course not!

The other day I saw a funny reel on Instagram where it showed a wife having 106 degrees fever and taking care of the household, cooking, cleaning and taking care of the child. The next scene shows a husband crawling on the floor because he has a blocked nose.

I wondered why this is supposed to be funny when it’s s clearly inhuman. I would not blame the men here. Because if you say you can cope yourself, why would they not believe you?

I told you so!

After my breakdown, my mother, my husband, and everyone who loved me gave me an expression of  ‘I told you so‘.

My mom said, “I have raised three kids, I never worked half as much as you are doing raising one. Where have your common sense gone? Get help where required.”

Do not listen to women who tell you that women are required to go on even when they are not okay. Put your self first. You are a human with your own needs first before you martyr yourself to fit into the image of the ideal woman.

I think women are in this predicament because they are okay with it. While it was well-intentioned, I still hold a grudge against those women who had told me when I was clearly struggling in my new role as a homemaker that it is a woman’s responsibility to go on.

No it isn’t!

It’s a woman’s responsibility to not be under pressure 24/7. It’s a woman’s responsibility to come out of a situation that is clearly stressing her.

I had a realization the hard way. For those of you who want to go the ideal woman way, kindly note that these beliefs are put in a woman’s mind so that they can be taken advantage of. Or so I think.

The society and men who think their female counterparts are not as much to blame as much as the women who accept these unimaginable standards as their responsibility.

Teach your sons the value of housework!

Teach your sons to help with the housework.

Teach your daughters to help around in the house too, but make her understand that it is not her job to clean other people’s mess.

It is not her job to stretch herself so much that she is bordering on breaking, but has to go on just because she is a woman.

Image source: Still from The Great Indian Kitchen

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About the Author

Priyanka Kotoky

A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple by nature. Love to read, create paintings and cook. Have impossible dreams. At the moment, engaged in making those dreams read more...

74 Posts | 132,519 Views

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