I am confused!!
Read an article about a nanny sedating her ward and then giving him on rent to beggars, while the unsuspecting parents were busy at their respective workplaces.
I don’t have a proper word for the array of emotions I felt. ‘Numbed’ is more like it.
The confusion is not about the nanny or the events that occurred. But what is a woman supposed to do. As the times move on, we want to be treated on par with the men, we get a good education, we work, we raise a family, but are we able to do justice to any of our duties/ responsibilities.
Yes it feels good to be standing on your own feet, financially independent, to talk sensibly with other people about any topic, but then doesn’t any woman feel a little bit of guilt now and then whether she is really doing justice or not.
When I think back of my childhood days, of my mother who was a homemaker, but still was always busy. Cooking cleaning, preparing pickles, papads in summer, knitting in the winters, gardening, so much she used to pack in her days, and alongside she used to raise three children teaching nurturing in her own way. And now I see my cousins/ friends managing their careers and their homes. Yes their dependency on canned foods or on hired help is more, but so what they have the best of both worlds.
Then there are ego hassles. Earlier times, a woman just put in her opinion and whether her wishes were adhered or ignored; she just accepted it as her fate. But we; we argue and argue some more and whether we win or we lose it does leave a bad taste in the mouth. For the man will think how she dare question my authority and the woman will think I am no ignoramus fool to accept whatever he says.
Some years back my friend had remarked that the earlier system of marrying girls young was very right. She would adjust in her marital home with ease, accepting all its traditions with no questions asked as she knew no other life. Her ‘pati’ was indeed ‘parmeshwar’ and whatever he decided was the best. While she; concentrated on the home front. Although I had argued against her thoughts, now sometimes I do feel she was right. Each had his boundaries drawn, no overlapping of duties, no ego hassles.
But in the present age, is it possible? There is no demarcation of duties now, mother is busy so father will feed a child, the laundry is on the way, so man will pick the clothes, share market is down so woman will go ahead and buy some shares, the kid has to be dropped to the taekwondo class, the woman will drive the kid down to the class. And in the present financially tough times, can a family be really run on a single income; that is if you want a certain standard of living.
But for a working woman to look after kids is really difficult. It’s okay if you have a joint family or reliable help or reliable day care centers. Here in the Gulf there are many companies which give only 45 days maternity leave. I shudder to think of small babies left in the care of helps or crèches. There are some who after a month or two pack their babies of to India to their parents. And bring them back when they are mobile. In a way they are correct. At least the child gets the loving care of grandparents. But then don’t the parents miss their child’s first crawl, first tooth, first wobbly walks….precious memories.
And then we say that we spend quality time with our kids. What exactly is quality? Is time spent lolling around, having pillow fights or playing make believe games -quality? Can quality be ‘quantified’.
There are some who take a break while bringing up a baby and take on a job when the kids start school or are a bit independent. But then they miss in their seniority, their career growth is a bit stunted.
Which brings me back to my confusion; what is a woman supposed to do?