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Posts Tagged ‘Woman @ Work’

.. is a maid. Or an army thereof.

A cook, a cleaning lady, and a housekeeper.

Any mommy out there who disagrees?? Please speak up. I’d like to know how the heck you manage to stay sane.

This post again stems from lunch table discussions at work. Normally I have lunch with the rest of my team – all guys. These days, once in a while, I have lunch with some girl friends. And invariably the topics of discussion center around kids, maid and spouse. In that order.  And some food for thought – one lady mentioned she’s not perturbed when the spouse is travelling or away for a few days. She manages just fine. But her world is turned inside out when the maid/cook/nanny take even a day off.  Silent pause. Lots of nodding in agreement.

I wonder if any of the guys out there would understand this.

There are so many roles the ‘woman of the house’ dons. Unconsciously. Cook, housekeeper, nanny, laundress, manager etc etc. If you had to hire help to take care of all those tasks, how much do you think you’d end up paying? And more importantly, how would you get so many hired help to do their job right!! hehe.. one would go crazy trying to coordinate so many maids/help!

But I ramble.

Here in India, life as a working woman (aka one who goes to office and gets paid for her work), is impossible without an  army of maids. I wonder how women in America/elsewhere manage without hired help?

[ for those interested, Penelope has some whacky related posts.]

[Written on June 15.]

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Yes. Its true. Many working women I know share this opinion. Specially those with kids.

At office, I work a limited number of hours. Even if it sometimes becomes 12-14 hours a day. And I get paid for it. In cash. In a typical day, I juggle 5-10 issues. Even at the peak of multitasking, it doesnt exceed 20 different issues a day. At office, you work with other professionals. They are literate, educated, capable & responsible – other than the occassional nitwit you wish didnt exist. People with whom you atleast share a language. I have a clean space I can call my own (yes, my cubicle is clean and uncluttered! 😉 Its air conditioned. There’s a steady supply of tea and coffee and fruits and munchies in the canteen that I can just pick up. I dont have to bother about keeping it stocked. Neither do I have to bother about the water, or electricity or cleaning. Caterer brings the lunch and no one makes you get up in between a meal. I just need to do my job, everything else is taken care of by other people.

In contrast, at home, there are always 10 thousand things screaming to be taken care of. Always. Immediately. Mornings are always a mad rush, preparing for the day. I’m grateful for a 4 burner stove (ah the small mercies of life!) -boiling baby’s bottles, his water, boil milk, make tea. In the meanwhile, fill drinking water, cut veggies, keep an ear out for baby. Make breakfast, have tea, feed baby, take baby for a walk, make phone calls to check for maid, plan out the days feedings, express milk, get stuff ready for baby massage, bath. Soak clothes for the machine. Fold baby clothes. Wash clothes in machine. Remember baby medicines. Feed baby again. Keep stock of groceries, see whats getting over, check what other misc things need to be done – call plumber, electrician, get mixie fixed, follow up abt home loan, pay bills, call old maid, get doc’s appointment, put phone to charge… tell maid to keep baby warm, wash xyz clothes in a particular way, remind her to make sabzi thaat way. .

You get the picture. Its an endless list. Always 10 things going on in parallel. You have to time it right. Forget one thing, and it messes up not just your day, but the kids as well. And if you forget to restock ur cabinet, no munchies, no tea. Leave the gas on just 2 minutes too long, and the sabzi’s burnt. And you get scolded for multitasking so much. HD “Do one thing at a time. Never leave the gas on and move away”. Helloo.. if I followed that advice, the housework would never get done.

And the people you have to interact with – plumbers, electricians, maids, watchmen, milkman, paper wala, etc etc. Not very literate. Not very smart. Being in bangalore, I have a language problem more often than not. You give instructions – they dont understand. once, twice, 10 times. Or deliberately dont follow. Dont turn up on time – ever. Even after 10 reminders. Plumbers n electricians and all such handymen – You wait and wait and wait and keep calling and waiting for a week. Maids go off on vacation without informing.. and blah blah blah.

If u’re hungry – make something yourself. No munchies in the house – no one to blame but urself. A peaceful cup of tea – no chance.

Aahhh.. its so nice to come in to office each day!

Most working women I know identify with this.
Men shake their head and wonder what all the hullabloo is about.

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I have about 2 months of maternity leave left. I pooled in all my SL, PL, CL and every other type of leave toghether to make sure I get maximum time with kiddo now. But I already find myself wondering whether to go back to work… In my heart, I want to spend all my time with kiddo. Right now, I am sooooooo crazy about him. Dont want to stay away from him for a minute (ok, ok except when he’s bawling his heart out in a middle of the night colic attack).
I dont want to miss a single smile, a laugh or a hug. I want to be there for each of his ‘firsts’.

But practicallity says – stay put. Continue with that job. What with 2 mortagages (aka Home Loans) and a recession, it ain’t such a great idea to kick such a great job (yes, I am one of the few who likes their job). Try reducing the number of hours or see if I can work from home.
Or a bit scarier – quit my job and try starting something from home.

People who knew me in school or college would be shocked to hear me even contemplating being a stay-at-home-mom. I used to be quite a ‘career woman’, an ambitious achiever. Now, I’m a bright red tent house. Okay that’s how the new bright red dress I got stitched postpartum looks on me. I actually went out and got some bright clothes (aka red, green and yellow) becuase Junior fancies bright colors these days!

There’s been enough written and debated about this topic (about getting back to work, silly, not bright red tent houses). Penelope Trunk makes some good points in her article “Quit work for a while to have kids. Your career will be just fine”.
Then there’s Shweta’s “Is a Career Woman Happier than a Stay at Home Mom?”

Hmm.. good points. But I’m still where I was. Ideally, I’d like to stay at home with the kiddo for a year or two. Maybe take up something part time for a few hours a day. But becuase of the recession and finances that may not be the wisest of decisions.

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