Man of My Dreams returned on Sunday after promising he’d arrive home a day earlier – yes ladies, I had the house in ship shape condition, the kids cleaned up and even my nails buffed and polished. The kids were so excited with Number One setting out a breakfast fit for a king with pancakes and Number Two tripping over her newly mobile feet with great enthusiasm. We waited and waited until he finally called and said he ‘had forgotten to tell us’ he would be back a day later!
Ok, hang on, here I am killing myself with my travel oriented job, trying to ensure I am never away from home and kids for more than three days at a time and he gets to ‘forget’ to mention when he was coming home after two weeks of being away? The question I must shoot out at this point is “Are men not as answerable to the home as women are?”
When I barged in to see the Source of All Wisdom (my mother) I got a sheepish smile with a look that said it all. I could even read her lips in my head. ‘That’s the way life is, it is always a woman’s responsibility to look after the home and kids even if they work outside the home’ BUT WHY? My own life is mirrored in the lives of so many of my girlfriends who work all day and then come home to deal with the kids, the house, the husband, the extended family, they cook, they clean, they fuss, they pamper, they powder and still don’t complain. Like those energizer bunnies of the olden day commercials, we just keep going and going and going.
After one year of working at my organization, Boss attended one of my training sessions. I instructed the team to do a timesheet exercise on what a young Mom’s average day looked like. I must say, Boss was a big enough man to admit ‘I’m impressed – don’t know how you do it.’ If this exercise got him to go home and give his wife an affectionate thanks; I would say mission accomplished.
Why do we, as women feel that working outside the home is a privilege allowed to us by all the other more important factors in our lives? If we work because, yes the added money is great, but more because we really enjoy what we do and we need that mental stimulation why do we have to make up for it by overcompensating in all the other compartments we have to fill? For generations it has been instilled in the Indian woman to give and give and give but for God’s sake, when are we going to realize, we do have certain rights to fulfilling our own needs. It is our social conditioning, familial views and the men we go home to that make us who we are and do what we do. I wonder what Man of My Dreams would do if one day, just one day when I was travelling, I ‘forgot’ to organize the play dates, order the meals and ensure the pantry was full? Its time our husbands pulled up their socks and took note of us and what we do for them; a loving word, a day off from the everyday duties or maybe even an acknowledging smile would be a good start.
I worry about Number One (my son) growing up expecting his wife to be a Superwoman who never tires, I worry about him growing up taking women for granted enough to know that they will always deliver and I worry about him growing up thinking he is not as responsible for his family as his wife is. So tonight as I was putting him to bed, I explained to him that he had to be a good boy and grow up to be big and strong to look after Mama. As all 3.5 year olds do, he asked me why. So I replied saying one day I would grow old and then I wouldn’t be able to do everything for him; he would have to learn to do things himself. He thought about it for a minute and then said “If you will get old, who will be my Mama?”!
For all kids, the definition of Mom is someone who ‘does everything for them’. As much as we are taken for granted, for our kids, we will always be the ultimate ‘Doers’ and the thought of his Mom getting too old to do things for him was too big a thought to bear! And that is precisely why us Supermoms keep going – for the love of our children. That’s not to say that once in a while, even Supermoms can do with a knight in shining armour.