I'm being stretched and fitted into different roles. I've forgotten who the real me is

“The start of the day is my favourite time; it is time when I sit with my cup of tea and no one else is awake; it  is my time. Once my children and husband and father-in-law wake up, I am no longer me at any point of time. I am then a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a cook, a janitor, a gardener, a teacher...the list is endless. In juggling so many roles together, I sometimes feel like screaming out  in frustration too and at other times, pat myself for jobs well done. Such is my life! I wonder if being ‘myself’ for half hour in 24 hours is enough?”

 Vanalika Mathur, 39, mother of two, from Mumbai wonders about her own identity between all her roles juggling. And her story is not hers alone; it is the story of most women.

A woman is not just a human being but a person who is defined by the roles she plays in society. She is a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, mother-in-law and more and apart from these she is the unpaid housekeeper, the teacher, the chaufffeur, the cook and a working professional too.

Today, in the times of pandemic and crisis, most women are surpassing not only the expectations people have from them but the expectations they have from their ownselves but at what cost? Being torn apart in different roles and hardly ever being whole!

 Most women aren’t able to say ‘no’ to the demands of others and even do chores that they don’t want to do just because they are ‘supposed’ to do them. The life of a woman during the pandemic is not her life but a life that she is living for other’s in her home and at work. 

Even though some women may be super –organized and efficient at all this role juggling, but the truth is that their minds are sometimes the messiest place to be in. And during the pandemic phase, more duties have been added to her chores list. While doing all this they hardly have time for themselves. They are always chasing the clock, beating themselves up over a burnt dish, feeling guilty for missing out the child’s homework, feeling  low about giving up their professionals, feeling insufficient even after doing all this, and at the day if they have a quarrel with the spouse, or angry words are exchanged with in-laws—it is  she who again sits down and wonders whether she was wrong. 

It is difficult for a woman to find time for herself. And in the COVID times, while everyone is at home self-care is a far off thought for many of them.

  •  Make space for yourself in your schedule: Start with a simple schedule with one thing that you like to do for yourself whether it is taking a long bath, binge watching a TV show, relaxing with a dessert at night when everyone else has gone off to sleep. Make sure you don’t feel guilty about doing it. Time it, schedule it, and make it clear that it is your   
  • Get off social media. Stay away from groups and the news and rumours that circulate rampantly and are mostly distressing. This will not only let your mind stay calm but you also avoid falling into the trap of the rat-race where you show up your culinary skills, or decoration skills, or painting skills that most women have gotten into nowadays.
  • Call your friends and colleagues. Even when you think that your family is everything, living with them 24*7 and doing things for them, talking to someone outside your home will boost positive emotions. Give an old friend a call or have a hearty video call with your mother or sister; this will help you stay connected with people who are not expecting anything from you and make you feel better too.