It was 8:20 pm almost today, on 24th March 2020 when our PM, Mr Modi made another of his many historic declarations – a 21 day lockdown to arrest the spread of the deadliest virus Corona. We all applauded and panicked at the same time. How to bear this and what does it mean. I was washing vessels when my husband suddenly came in after winding up for the day and asked me stop doing the work as he took over and instructed me to go listen to the last leg of the speech. I was spell bound as I listened since it meant remaining home for so many more days when I was home for more than a week already. But it was a relief too since the fight seemed to take a whole new turn and seemed hopeful of a win against Death for Life.
Today was the second day of no maid at home with all of us taking care of the household chores together. However since I have relatively less workload as of now, I naturally took over the household duties more than my husband. Kids were a great help as they enthusiastically joined in to help in whichever way they could. I have been interacting with all the ladies within my friends and family circles and they have been constantly bogged down by household chores and terrified of the unending ‘no maid’ days. Although my husband is helping me and does understand that these tasks are physically and mentally daunting and hence we all need to contribute, I couldn’t help but think of thousands of women who are actually working from home but are finding it the most difficult time to manage.
We, women as house-keepers naturally take over home duties as their priority but what I realized was that we forget, we have a life and identity. Even today we are the same. For the past two days, I am sitting at my desk to work only after the wee hours of afternoon and only work for a little time since I know I have cook again in the evening. My younger daughter is so used to watching me and the maids take care of the household chores and cooking, she has picked it up that this is a woman’s front and that we have to lead. When I asked her in the afternoon to refill her plate when she was done with the first serving she promptly did it and also refilled it for her brother. That’s what I call putting other’s first and then yourself. Where does that come from in a woman so naturally?
I cannot imagine the plight of women who are actually struggling at home to make sure they login at the stipulated time in the morning and stay focused when they have to handle all the duties from morning tea, sweeping-sobbing, utensil cleaning and then cooking full meals. Hope the families are supporting and making sure that ‘HER’ work from home is also given justice and importance. Even she has a schedule, she has a right to ME TIME even if not working for an office.
These difficult times are teaching us a new lesson each day and first and foremost is to support each other in every possible manner. Please make sure you divide the chores and fix timings for everything. Work from home is already a difficult thing especially when you are a woman. Naturally when she is home, the family forgets that she has her own world too, they keep calling her and involving her in everything that’s happening around. Home is the responsibility of every one of us and we must take it as naturally and effortlessly as a woman does. Even women (in India especially) have to understand that it’s ok to ask for help and involve the family. It’s a way of bonding and making them realize that home management is a crucial task and a very demanding one.
It’s almost like these women who are making sure that family eats healthy food, immune systems are well taken care of and homes are clean and tidy while handling work pressures in these times are also ‘Warriors’ and need to be applauded. Even this is an army that is making a huge effort as a support system. So when we all are saying that we are going back to olden times of doing things on our own, do not make the women toil like old times, while men and children make merry and order their favourite foods to be cooked. Join the challenge and make women in the house feel human too.
Lastly, to all the amazing superhuman women out there, “Women, we are nurturers and extremely caring creatures and love our families to the last level and want to do everything for them. But remember we are humans and need to be treated likewise. So ask your loved ones to join you in your challenging times and they happily will. We need to change the narrative slowly and steadily. We need to work towards diversity and inclusion and for our rights. We are all in this together and only then we WIN! Take care of yourselves too when you take care of everyone else”.
We all will overcome this Corona crisis together.