When mommy is not well, all falls apart. Or at least that’s the case in my household.
I have been trying hard (armed with antibiotics) to get over a crazy throat viral that came along with mild fever and body ache over last 3-4 days. While still a day left to complete my antibiotic-led cleansing schedule, I’m ready to blog about the unfairness of mommydom.
(Yes, Once Again. Those who just rolled their eyes may stop reading at this point. It’s all mommy rant hereon)
In households like mine, where both parents work outside the home, I’m amazed at the unnamed/invisible things that have found their way into my “mommy chores list for weekend.” Result, pleading a sick day just seems like an unthinkable task.
As I lay on the bed on Saturday morning, I realised
mundane chores like clipping my kids’ nails, researching on toddler activities nearby, scheduling grocery deliveries & buying-sorting the kids’ clothes-supplies would never get done if I did not move my posterior from bed. I questioned my husband – how exactly did a sick day look like for mom? He hemmed and hawed and in the end just stared at me.
Answer is, just like another mom-is-okay day — where everyone in the family needs to be fed, toddler needs to be put in bathtub and scrubbed, diaper pail needs to be emptied out, laundry heap begged to be sorted out (which daddy conveniently pushed in one corner), and a lot of ‘safe & inventive activities’ had to be devised to keep the toddler happily occupied without requiring 100% of mommy’s attention.
So, why is no smart people wondering aloud if dads are actually taking on their share of the thinking and planning of a balanced family life, and why are they simply executing orders from mom (when threatened with dire circumstances)?
For example, when my sorry achy body that had just finished stuffing the washer & sorting another batch of laundry, I begged my husband to feed the boi some breakfast. I needed my morning tea desperately. What did daddy do? Instead of mixing baby cereal, pulling out the baby chair & feeding him over an animated conversation, my husband opted to feed boi omelette from his plate (while continuing to eat himself) while boi sat on his lap mesmerized by TV. Sigh.
Being under the weather isn’t the ideal time to be picky about what your child is doing for fun. In fact, as long as he was occupied, I was grateful — even if that meant tearing off pages off the picture storybook or watching rhymes on iPad. As long as I could nap/lie down some minutes and boi was safe and contained to the house, I was happy. So was dad, who had brought office work home on weekend.
Renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild in her book, The Second Shift takes us into the homes of two-career parents to observe what really goes on at the end of the “work day.” No surprises that, it’s the working mother who takes on the second shift. Hochschild finds that men share housework equally with their wives in only 20% of dual-career families. While many women accept this inequity in order to keep peace, they tend to suffer from chronic exhaustion, low sex drive, and more frequent illness as a result.
I have to add here that many things in a toddler(s)-led household don’t need to be done every day. For instance, ordering groceries or supplies doesn’t take that long. Likewise, sorting through outgrown clothes and cleaning out the cupboards only happens a few times a year. But someone has to do it. And more than that, someone has to remember to do it.
Dad’s listen up.
However, let me speak for the working mom’s who are trying to juggle all the details of home life (while managing to keep themselves healthy), the seemingly invisible tasks that surround us can feel like a burden on days when we want a little timeout. All of these have a way of piling up in our mommy brains and take up a lot more space than it deserves.
So will the dad’s show a little more compassion and grant mom’s sick leave(s) when needed?