I was quick to realise that Republic Day was going to fall on a Thursday. I was quick to take Friday off, way in advance. I was quick to plan a weekend getaway. Closer to the date, I also was quick to chalk out a whole list of things to do. Pending jobs and some good old, much-needed self-indulgence. Ever since work has consumed me this month, I’ve had no time to focus on the home and all the things that I like to do outside work. To disconnect and keep me going. I’ve ignored my home, my kitchen. My jam-making post still lies unfinished. I had already struggled to blog all my thoughts of the week. I wanted to finish my book before the month ends. My kitchen was a disaster after being shut up for a whole week. So I had it all chalked out. And four days, I thought, was enough time to get everything back on track. Plan in hand, I was chuffed.
Except someone else had other plans. My 4-day weekend was trampled upon by a work crisis. I found myself thwarting my carefully laid out plans, just as quickly as I had chalked them out. Making plans is a brilliant way to feel in control. It’s only when things spiraled in ways I least imagined, that I realised how little is really in my control. By the time that reality dawned on me, it was too late.
I had already worked for close to 13 hours on 3 out of 4 days of the so called long-weekend. I hadn’t cooked in a week. I had eaten pizza for lunch two days in a row. I also managed to catch a horrid cold, could feel beginnings of a sore throat, and my eyes constantly burned from sleep deprivation. My house was still a mess, I had had none of the self-indulgence I so badly wanted. I hadn’t finished a post I started four days ago. I hadn’t opened my book all week. And I felt a strange combination of hysteria and rage. So by the time I reached that horrible conclusion early on Sunday morning, amidst a royal mess all around me, I was a complete, blithering mess.
Through rippled eyes, I looked around me. A half-unpacked suitcase form my trip last weekend gaped at me, clothes falling out of it. My bed seemed to have turned into a dumping ground for all things that have no place. My kitchen, unused for over a week had quickly turned into spider and dust central. My dining table had a myriad things strewn on it. Stale oranges, the unread stock of newspapers teetering too close to the edge. Keys, bills, spare change, tablets.
There’s nothing I hate more than a messy, disorganised home. In those few moments, looking around, I felt like I was in someone else’s home. This mess couldn’t be mine. And then the worst thing that could happen, happened. I blamed myself. For having failed. Failed to do the one thing that is supposedly my responsibility. How hard can it be to do it all, I asked myself. Why does being busy at work have to always come at the expense of a messy home? Why should I have to choose? Why can’t I just get someone to pay attention to the house while I’m at work?
Priding myself in a simple home that’s pretty much always neat was easy for as long as I was always home. But introducing the working woman element into my perfectly balanced equation sent everything amiss. I was overwhelmed and struggled to find my rhythm. I tried to be Superman and I went mildly crazy. Sticking up to my inordinately ridiculous levels of tidiness when I was out of the house for twelve odd hours, returning past sun-down with fast diminishing energy levels, was quite another thing really.
For the first time in two years, yesterday I suddenly felt the need for a support system. I craved that someone/something to keep my kitchen stocked, cook me healthy meals and make sure there’s food on the table when I get home, keep my home dust-free, look into all the pending things that always need attention.
Why does it have to be so hard on us women? Why do we have to choose one thing over another? For the first time since I started work in Goa, I’m finally working on something that’s giving me tremendous satiafaction. Which is why I haven’t thought twice about putting in long hours. Even the missed weekend didn’t feel so terrible to begin with. I have long ranted about wanting work that I can put my heart into. To go beyond writing glib copy. Finally here’s a project that allows that. This is one of those times when working hard has given me such a high I didn’t want to let go, yet it has killed my time and energy to do anything else.
Am I doing something wrong? Is it this hard for all you working women out there? Or am I just being unreasonable? Is it wrong to want to juggle work and a well-managed home, without dropping the ball? There’s nothing worse than the weight of disappointing yourself. Of failing at something you always thought you could do.