Multiple Personality Disorder

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!

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7 Responses to Multiple Personality Disorder

  1. snigdha says:

    I can relate to this :-) but my state is not as demanding as yours. Like you feel contributing in the finances by being a career woman, Can you motivate the hubby enough to help you in the chores. Atleast when it comes to buying groceris, or simple things that he would not mind doing.

    Or may be he can start your day with a kiss and a bed tea (sugar free) :-) Ask him I am sure he will be happy to please you.

    Or may be you can ask him to treat you with Manish special Lunch/ Dinner on Sundays, atleast sometimes. :-)

    Men need to be told again and again and in simple statements what do we want. :-) Hope this helps…

  2. @Snigs: M does share a lot of responsibilities at home, for example handling the laundry and settling up the mess that I usually create; we usually do our monthly groceries together and he does the once-a-week veggie shopping. He is typically caring and offers to help around the kitchen too!

    But I guess I am suffering more from the Indian “bahu” syndrome, where I feel obliged to do everything on my own in the house, and keep the man of the house, just as he was pampered when he was the son of his house. In the traditional mindset, people believe that as working woman we are only comfortably seated in ACs the whole day long, and using this as an alibi to shrug household work. The common repartee is that we housewives work so much around the house.

    A week back I was told by a housewife, that your man is very caring and helps because you are working; as a housewife she has to cater to providing each of her husband’s needs – from undergarments, socks, towels to delicious meals, she has to serve him everything. Hearing such statements, make me guilty because most probably I am depriving my man of the pleasure that so many other men in India are destined to gain from matrimony. Its the guilt of not being able to manage all the household on my own, just because I dont have much time (and energy) left after work.

    Offlate I have also been facing housemaid related probs! Its as if the whole world has been conspiring against me – and hence this cranky blogpost. But amidst all the crankiness I can still vouch for the sincerity and concern of the man in my life …. this morning my utter irritability and crankiness at the behaviour of the housemaid, was subtly pacified by a gentle back rub by you know who ;-) And I do begin my day with lemon and honey in lukewarm water that is served by him. He gets up before me and opens the door for the maid, and does most of his own work like ironing his clothes. Infact he wants to help in the kitchen also, but I have had a major mental block to this (maybe an upbringing issue).

    So, I am not actually complaining against the hubby. Its more about my own mindset, society’s misconceptions abt the life working women lead, and the kind of social boundaries that we create around our life and styles.

    And you are right when you tell me that men need to be told what to do!!!

  3. snigdha says:

    I can understand. Its so nice to hear that Manish is such a caring wonderful husband. Maids are a headache. I also used to go through phases of depression becuase of my earlier maid. But you need to understand 1 thing, times have changed and you also need to change your mind set. The home belongs to both of you so there is no reason why you should feel guilty if Manish helps you in chores or if you are not able to do all the things that you want to do for him becuase of certain restraints which are beyond your control.

    Its time that you start un-learning what was expected out of a housewife. Marriage is about companionship. You do things and he helps you, isnt that a sign of a healthy marriage? You should rather keep loving him all the more than feel guilty. :-)

    I also keep asking Vinayak for help and he helps me too. I hardly cook dinner becuase I come home very tired. But I dont feel guilty becuase as a human I also can not possibly do all the things his mom must have done.

    Enjoy each other, cherish the lime water that he so loningly makes for you :-) Manish would love a loving wife more than a care taker “mummy” who comes to bed tired. :-)

  4. snigdha says:

    On 2nd thought, Indian Bahu is a nice thing to do only if you expect your home to be a Balaji Tele serial Set up. :-P

  5. @Snigs: I do feel like a Balaji bahu once in a while ;-) like so many other Indian married women! Ur right when you say that I need a reality check big time and I do hope I am able to initiate and succeed in my inner revelation and healing. M as usual has been very kind and considerate. He made dinner yesterday as I had a late evening concall. Today also I have a late evening concall and he offered to make dinner today; and we had bread and omelettes for breakfast so that we cld squeeze in more yoga time. Three cheers to M – MY METROSEXUAL MAN :-)who also sportingly takes my crib blogs in his stride!!!!

  6. snigdha says:

    Awwww how sweet is that, M cooking for his beloved :-P
    Once in a while you can blog about him also. What all does he do for you, what all does he cook, you know a sneak peek into your life :-D
    I hope our dear “M” wont find.

  7. snigdha says:

    3 cheers to M and V also please, :-P and all the Metrosexual men.

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