Archu From The Archive, Personal

Busy Breathless

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Every single muscle fiber in my body reminded me of its presence when I tried to rise from my bed this morning. They were so taut and tangled that all commands from my brain went unheeded. Brain is to be blamed too for such loose leash on my physic and the excuse is exhaustion. It took considerable effort to convince one to convince the other and get them all up and ready for another full day’s work. Life has been this way for the last one plus month.

After my long maternity break, I was overjoyed to get busy again and expend my energy on a variety of tasks. Commuting 8 km to and fro office in my bike, concentrating on work, back home to play with my toddler, nurse and rock him, managing household chores and attending to little bits and pieces here and there has stretched my bed-time to a minimum of 1 AM in the morning and that is during the weekdays. Weekends are packed with shopping for groceries, provisions, plumbing work, electrical work, blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah…I’m running out of fuel and I find no time to replenish. Why can’t nature bless me with 30 hour days?

The irony of it is that I love these individual tasks that keeps me busy. Morning bike ride is great if I happen to escape traffic. Work gives me a lot of scope to learn with enough challenges. My little Akhil, come on, I adore him and spending every wakeful moment with him is so much fun. Household chores, its my house and I like to tidy and polish the tiles to perfection. With helpful husband at home, friendly neighbors around and understanding management at office, I have nothing to complain really. My only problem is that everything is happening together that I have started getting breathless.

I don’t get a little alone time that I can spend for myself. No time to have a nonsense love talk with my husband or the daily private hug that we used to share before. Any conversation is a discussion to do something or to make plans, execute them…just materialistic every day stuff. No time to reply to my friends’ mails, no time to Gtalk, no time to read a book, no time to blog, no time to write my diary, arrey, no time to drink a cup of coffee peacefully without having something or the other run through my head or to get disturbed by my sleeping son. To get it all is luxury, I know but to get nothing at all is bad, very bad. For a person like me who finds harmony with solitude now and then, to re-charge my system, such continuous cravings can be detrimental and I’m afraid that is exactly what has started to happen.

There are a few special days when my son chooses to sleep through and stay awake for very long hours in the night. Those days are real nightmares. Working during the day, staying awake with my kiddo in the night and working again the next day is inhumanly difficult. Worse if he is awake because of any illness. I’d be so worried about him combined with my own weakness that I’d be tempted to jump out from my balcony.

It wouldn’t take much time to call it all quits and stay at home, happy with my baby. Honestly, in today’s metro life where the price of 1 kg of rice has shot up close to Rs.40, single salary with home loan EMIs is definitely not sufficient to provide quality nourishment and education for our off-spring or for a comfortable living for the family. If finance is one side of a coin, personal gratification is on the flip side. Choosing to stay at home voluntarily is good but believe me, after all the years of studying that you do and if you have passion for your work as well, forcing yourself to remain alone at home day-in day-out due to circumstances, can lead to a different kind of depression, the kind that I was suffering from before I joined workforce again. I’d rather stay this busy.

Women everywhere have been tackling this problem for ages and ages. Is it because they were full-time-mothers? Or is it because they had support from their parents? Or is it because they have transformed to a multi-tasking machine that doesn’t take time for its own greasing and overhauling? Well, if I were to be that machine, I doubt if I would be able to make a good one at that in the long run. And again, women are problem to women themselves. When I speak to a lady who is a happy home-maker, she looks down at me as if I have neglected my house and kid. When I meet an ambitious career lady, she looks down at me for not being a full concentrated career woman. Women like me who are juggling in between trying to strike a balance, are too busy to look up or down on anything. What they don’t realize is that we are sailing with two legs on two different boats, ready to trip into the water at the slightest mistake while they are comfortably seated in one, swaying their hands in passing waters. Mind there, I am referring only to those lady-folks who have a big mouth or a long taunting tongue. Not that I care, but it would be so much better to be left un-bothered. And to do all of this and more, there are still women in some places paying dowries. Such injustice!

Alright, back to track. You see, when frustration crawls in, every little taint in the society would fling your anger like the way it has in me right now. With Diwali coming up in two to three days, life is even busier with sweets and snacks preparation in the little of the left-over time if any. But then, this was a choice that I made. Just like how I enjoyed my childhood days when mom prepared delicious Diwali delicacies, I want my kiddo to enjoy the same. So here I am toiling with oil and stove for hours, cleaning up later on, the result of which was the refusal from my physic to rise up this morning. Women though strong in many things are unfortunately weak with sentiments!

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16 thoughts on “Busy Breathless

  1. Archana…

    I already feel the same without a baby. God knows how would I manage if a little one comes. But somewhere I feel, even with all flip sides to it, living with one of our parents might reduce a lot of this ‘no time’ schedule.. I wish!

  2. Archana,
    It is not like women life will change after getting the baby; same is applicable to men also. No time for friends as I need to help her in household things and take cake of baby while she is working in kitchen, no time to chill out with drinks in weekend as I need to take them (Sri & Aahana) out for baby’s shopping, getting late to office daily to drop Sri first to her office then to my sweet one (Aahana) to crèche, can’t go to outing with friend as family will be alone. Giving Aahana cradle movement almost whole night when she was not well so that Sri can also take rest. You should think of the father (you will forget all of your pain) who are maintaining their work pressure also with all these things and they don’t get any consideration in office also being a father which lady professionals generally gets… 
    But in between all these busy schedule one sweet smile of your little one will give you the world most pleasurable movement and you will put out of your mind all your tensions and tiredness.

  3. @Divya: Life is tiresome but only for a few days. Once the kid grows up a little, things will fall back into place. I’m just waiting for it. Meanwhile enjoying his little naughtiness πŸ™‚ Living with one of our parents would greatly reduce such pressure but parents should be willing to volunteer to leave their place and stay with us…sometimes they don’t!

    @Ravi: Congrats for being a good husband and great daddy when it comes to baby tending chores! Looks like you are under a lot of pressure too. I wasn’t debating on whether it is a man or a woman who is pressurized with bringing up the baby. Both do, sometimes in the same way, sometimes different. I wrote the post in first person narration and I being a woman, talked about my experience. Though men these days are understanding the helping, the same is not the case in many places still. The mother usually goes to her mom’s place and returns after 3 months or so while the man to his office. Even back home, a mother has the help of her mother or her mom-in-law. These days, there is no external help, both are working and naturally high levels of pressure on both sides. But times are changing and men are participating like you and vijay are doing right now. There are still companies that don’t understand anew-mom’s difficulty and there are companies which understand a new dad’s difficulty as well and you know examples for both πŸ˜‰ Lets not get into corporate talk. We are the sandwich generation and hence all this trouble. In course of time, things and attitude will change too, probably for our grandchildren πŸ™‚

    @HBK:Ada ada ada ada…what an interpretation!! Sweets venumna straighta keylu…yain intha indirect hints?

  4. Well Archu, I guess you were waiting to give voice your feelings in your blog as always, more so this time or I can’t imagine how you could find time and energy out of your packed days to give a nice new blog post as always πŸ™‚ I’d say, enjoy being super-busy! But make sure you sleep enough and eat well too! Very tough choices to make for women of our generation trying to balance family and career… but we got to live with it! I’m sure you’ll manage it all very well and before you know, Akhil will be a little kiddo taking care of himself and asking his mom if she needs any help πŸ˜‰

  5. So at last there are “friendly neighbors”…i thought they are frustrating and torturing…:)So concentrated on women’s life…You have not looked upon mens side…I mean VV side..;)

  6. @Meens: yup Meens, we’ve gotto manage and kind of managing so far…Only those nights when Akhil gets fussy, its a little pain. But then, Akhil is less fussy these days as he grows…he is fully playful and naughty that i enjoy playing with him, only thing playing gets tiresome sometimes…boy is 8kgs!! πŸ™‚ let him grow up in his pace, i’ll wait patiently and when he is big enough, i’ll start bugging him πŸ™‚

    @AN2D: I didn’t think so. How about your neighbors? Are they so frustrating and torturing that you assumed mine would also be the same? The scope of this post does not cover men’s side…that’ll make another big post and probably, we’ll ask VV to do it πŸ™‚ Meanwhile, you can read my reply to Ravi above πŸ™‚

  7. My neighbors are very sweet. unhappy that moving slightly away…That was the only concern we had which we discussed yesterday..However, we are always closer to you people..I hope u agree atleast on this..;)will wait for that post…(on mens side – want to know your perception on that too…)

  8. Good one Archana. This blog has really touched my heart. btw me too a working lady waiting for the lil one in the next 6 months. πŸ™‚

  9. And add tough in-laws, comments, one side decisions, ruling etc.. Yes it is like that.. Your blog has undoubtedly explained today’s educated, employed Indian woman’s real unfortunate state! Big applause to all women who crossed this state, end of the life if they have won the love from the family.

  10. @AN2D: Once you people shift, we would only be a corridor away instead of a doorway afar. When hearts are close, does distance really matter? And about the men’s side…what did VV say? πŸ˜‰

    @Anonymous1: Thank you! Expecting in 6 months? Great! Wishing you a smooth pregnancy and happy little cute kiddo later on. Congratulations and All the Best in advance!

    @Anonymous2: I know. Educated employed women are still not accepted in many families. Somehow, less assertive quiet ladies win the “good girl” title while the ones with brains and lots of hard work are looked down as attitude or arrogant women. How sad and yet true! When we become in-laws someday, lets bring the change that we wish to see. On the comfort side, many men of our generation these days are understanding and taking equal share in family responsibilities. For now, that should help us carry on and continuing to excel in the multiple roles that we play.

  11. Hi Archana,
    Very nice blog. This time it is very much thought-provoking too. True that with help from one of the parents, things will be a little easy, but there are some ill-effects too, which compared to the advantages can easily be brushed off aside.

  12. @Elango: Thanks Elango. I will.

    @Anonymous: Thank you. Help from one of the parents does not have ill effects really, side-effects maybe. But to be left to battle alone thru tough times cultivates unnecessary ill feelings. Anyways, the little smile that your kiddo bestows upon you, his love and bond for his parents will make all the effort triple times worth it, wouldn’t it?

  13. Well, can’t agree more.
    One thing I have understood quite well is that you can’t plan everything in life. All these worries, problems, no-time blah blah blah comes from within. Just let go. You have a wonderful life. Live the moment and don’t have any regrets that you did.

  14. @Lobo: Well said. All these worries, problems, no-time blah blah, I let go…I let them go into my blogspot and carry on with the wonderful life that I’m blessed with unregretfully πŸ™‚

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