I am suffering from MPD … not in the delusional or primarily psychological connotation, but in a more practical and physical context! To add to my woes is my residence on a planet that ensures only 24 hours in a day to tackle the multiple personalities. Life has flipped post-marriage and so has my schedule, responsibilities and home-work balance.
Till the time I was single, I was just a career woman and a dutiful daughter – other aspects were in the backseat. Weekends were dedicated to leisure, household cleaning, organizing, shopping and cooking up savory meals to satiate the taste buds. As a married working woman, I have donned the multi-layered robe of house-wife, career woman, along with increased social and familial responsibilities. Needless to say, the earth still rotates around the sun in 24-hours and my personality undergoes paradigm shifts within hours and over the week, and the over the weekend!
In India, the traditional mindset pertaining to the woman as the homemaker and household caretaker, reigns supreme, irrespective of whether the woman is working. The wife is supposed to cook, clean, coordinate, maintain all forms of social obligations, and fulfill the high-end expectations of the new family that she has married into. On the professional front, nothing much changes – you are still supposed to look your best, perform your best, keep the customers happy, the manager appeased and spend more than 9-hrs in the office, which is minus the travel time to work.
For an Indian woman, the pressure is emotional as well as social. While she wants to give the best to her husband, by maintaining an orderly house, a daily schedule and hot breakfast and meals served with love, any desire to go lax and easy is ruthlessly subdued by family expectations that you take the best care of your husband. So, if a hot, savory breakfast was the mother’s responsibility (and love) towards her son, the duty immediately falls on the shoulder of the “bahu” to ensure that the son is sent to work with a fully appeased stomach!
Similarly, dinner cannot be the unconventional pastas, bread, noodles and rice. It has to be a typical three-to-four course roti, sabzi, daal, dessert, served fresh and steaming. I am not prejudiced against this sort of lifestyle, and I in fact enjoy cooking and caring for the hubby, and other family members during my frequent weekend visits to my in-laws place. But then, amidst all the traditional bahu lifestyle, most people forget that I have another personality – the career woman.
I have been craving to take a break from work – to relax, rejuvenate and pursue hobbies and interests. I always thought post-marriage I would take a much-awaited time-out! But alas, a new car, a recently-booked apartment, shared family responsibilities and the rocketing cost of living, have stolen the dream long-term break option from me. I feel responsible to share and contribute through a regular income, and also by not becoming an added financial responsibility on the family. And hence, I trudge on, from the kitchen, to the office, back to the kitchen, from one room to another, as I try to set the house in order, keep the professional spirit high, and also ensure that hubby doesn’t feel ignored or uncared for.
Amidst all the daily chaos, my genes have added to my woes! I am genetically inclined to stress-related increase in adipose tissues, and also comfort eating. I have never been slim, yet, was not overweight. In the past six-months, as the stress levels have increased, the weighing scales have also tipped. I am alarmed and ashamed. My lower spine is grumbling and has almost revolted with a mild slip-disc, further increasing my irritability and slowing me down in my daily physical activities. I feel un-smart and even unprofessional. I am experimenting with a twenty-minute yoga regime, both morning and evening, but “me”-time comes with great difficulty.
I am getting up an hour earlier to plug-in some yoga time, but the Gods of good fortune, seem very angry with me. My office is moving fifteen kms further from home, which is going to increase my travel time to and from work, I am having major housemaid truancy, and in spite of getting a new maid, I am not at all satisfied with the quality of her work. This adds to my daily schedule, when I have to clean up after she has left and also face her loud-mouthed tantrums. Weekends are again a three-meals-a-day cooking regime with additional obligations to travel to my in-laws place one in every three weeks and ensure that I give them the “best-of-the-traditional-bahu” treatment from my end.
Something within my inner self is sapping. I feel run-down and depressed. The ghosts of my multiple personalities are overpowering my otherwise-happy self. I love being married, and I want to be an equal partner in my new household and in my hubby’s life, and yet I wish I was on another planet, where the days were longer to pack up all the responsibilities, and the nights were longer to allow me ample rest and leisure; or maybe I was born in another century, where I was just the woman of the house, or in the future where my contribution as a working woman was appreciated, accepted and applauded. Beyond dreams and desires, I continue to juggle with multiple personalities in a disorderly 24-hrs a day, 7-days a week!