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Archive for March 31st, 2011

According to certain analysts in the United Kingdom, that’s how a working mother in their country divides her time for self and her kids. For the record, it is,

26 minutes for self.

81 minutes for their children.

For the former, I think they are being too generous. For the latter, far too stingy.

Frankly, what I don’t understand is, who are these people who do random research on how much time a woman gives for her children, or herself for that matter. What is the purpose or aim of these researches? Is the purpose to send the women on a guilt trip? Or to send them a reminder that they are shirking from their so-called ‘primary responsibilities’? Or to emphasize on how bad this generation is compared to the last?

What??

I fail to understand these studies. I fail to under how they conclude on those random figures.

Forget UK, I’m sure every working mom around the world would bristle at the blatant way it is declared that working women give 81 minutes of ‘quality time’ inclusive of meals! Who are these people who come up with a random figure of ’26’ and ’81’ minutes. Really!

I am a working Mom.

Which ultimately translates to oodles fo chaos at home. It helps that I live in a joint family and in my absence, I do have people (read family) to look after the kids. There are times when I wonder if I jumped into the parenting bandwagon without proper planning. At others,  I wonder if I took long to come to the decision! Whatever the case, I know what all goes into bringing up children and I’m doing my damn best to ensure that my kids never complain about the time I give them. Thankfully, they don’t. Not yet.

But in doing so, I compromise on the ‘me’ time. I love reading, the last book I read was more than 6 months back. I love baking. The last cake I baked was 4 months back. I love doing embroidery, a little darning, drawing, painting and what not. I’ve given it all up so that I spend that time with my kids. 26 minutes?! I’ll be shouting from the rooftops if I get even 15 minutes to myself (except when I crash after the kids call it a night!). When I’m not playing with the kids, feeding them, washing their bums, bathing them or taking them to the park, I’m busy with office . And when I’m not in office, I’m home, running a thousand errands for the MIL or the GMIL or the BF. Making sure that the gears which run the family are well oiled. I buy the groceries and the other necessities, making sure that everyone at home gets what they want. The day I have to leave early for work, I get up at 5:30 in the morning and make sure that I prepare the lunch boxes of all the working members and also the meals for the ones staying at home.

I know of so many other women who run the same routine. Its hectic, tiring and sometimes irritating. But I’m putting in my best efforts. I LOVE my job. So I put in hard work there too. It is nothing new or out of the ordinary. There are millions of other women out there who are making sure that their homes run well in spite of their jobs. So if some random group comes along and tells me that I have only 26 minutes to myself, I can easily say, buddy. Get real!! The figure is ZERO! Zilch, nada!

And if anyone else comes up and says that I’m not spending enough time with my kids, he’s in for a royal bashing! Every minute that I’m not in office, I spend with the kids (now don’t get technical and remind me of the time I take to travel between home and office! It doesn’t count). I may be bone tired when I come back home, but I still play peek-a-boo with the kids, still run after them, climb furniture along with them, drape bed sheets over tables and chairs and call it our home,  narrate stories as I feed them, pick up thrown stuff a zillion times, change them whenever they pee or poop and mop the floor another dozen of times. I dare anyone to tell me that all this is NOT inclusive of ‘quality time’!!

If not, then WHAT IS?!!

The article is not only affront to women in UK (who I feel are VERY wrongly targetted by such reports) but also an insinuation at the working mother populace at large. The MIL faced a lot of flak in her younger years when she was working and had three kids. There were accusations on the way her children were brought up. The same people are now having trouble handling their own. The BF and his brother do not have any vices. They dont drink or smoke or hang out in wrong company. No wild partying and boozing for them. People may argue that a woman’s absence leads the kids onto the wrong path, but I’m not convinced. I see a different scenario at home. And I know, that it is not the amount of time I give them, but the kind of time I give them that matters. There will come a time when the kids wouldn’t want to be with me, preferring the company of their friends over me. I’m fine with that. But what would worry me then, would be to sit idle, and wonder about all that I could have done, had I stuck to the job and not quit. This is something the MIL keeps reminding me of whenever I think of quitting. She says I need to work, not for the kids or the family, but for myself. That is, IF I like what I do. And I can I see her point.

I whole-heartedly agree with another article on the same topic  :-

“I wonder what value, if any, there is in breaking parenting down to the minutes spent in the trenches. Unless of course the results are to be used as ammunition to make mothers feel like garbage. Particularly British working mothers, who apparently reported spending less time with kids, than did working mothers from other countries.”

Do check it out.

Frankly, I also fail to understand the BIG hype over working women and homes/families.

How come there are no researches on how much time a man spends at work and at home, how much time he devotes to his children, how much he contributes towards the running of the household! Also, if you read those articles, you can make out the faint condescending undertone of it .Its like gently knocking on our already fragile sentiments . Exactly what is achieved, I fail to understand 😦

Anyhow, I’ll take a break from my rant and put down a little comment by the kids this morning. As I was leaving for office, Lui and Shobs informed me that they had pooped in their diapers. So I rolled up the sleeves and got to work. Once we were done washing the bums (after much splashing around), the kids walked out of the bathroom, beaming and clapping their hands and proudly declaring, “Mumma…kitna maza aaya na?!”

This is the kind of time I spend with the kids.

Needless to say I left with a smile on my lips and water sloshing around my feet. 81 minutes be damned. Even these 5 minutes are enough for us 😀



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