Thursday, February 05, 2009

Working Woman Angst

I’ve been working for nearly three months now and I’m still as unsure as I ever was as to whether this is what I should be doing. Now that Sharabh Niyogy (The Bhablet to you) goes to school I need to wake up early enough to sort out his waterbottle/tiffin and wee bag. Not a long task but I need to be awake and doing it. I need to get his clothes out, have him fed, teeth brushed, clean and ready to be dropped off by 8.15 a.m. I need to find time to eat, bathe, do housework and leave home myself before 10. I get home around 6.15 p.m. and most evenings, we go out somewhere or the other and get home around ten when I drop exhausted into bed. Or potter around trying to get something done and then fall into bed around midnight having achieved exactly nothing.

It sounds like I’ve got huge pockets of time in between when I can get a lot done but I need to cook, clean and regulate their stuff as well as my own and invariably, the cooking is junked in favour of laundry or some other such earth-shatteringly important chore. I’m forgetting to run after paperwork or buy groceries or keep track of what to pick up from where. The two Niyogys both have upset tummies from all the junk they end up eating.

Even I can tell I’m doing this all wrong but I don’t know when to set it right. Weekends we end up outside so I never get things done. Mending is piling up, the ironing too, and drawers are a mess. Dirt is settling down on surfaces and oddments getting lost. I try to send Vicky and Sharabh off so as to have the house to myself but they don’t like losing out on the little time we do have as a family. I am, to use yet another cliché in a blog full of them, at my wits’ end.

I don’t see the point of sitting in an office all day. There is no work that I do that couldn’t be done just as competently by somebody who needs the job more. I hate the idea of my son being shuffled around because I need to “follow” my “dreams”. I dreamt of a home where I lived, not an office far away from it. This agency has been really flexible, and the people in it very welcoming. The work itself is not something I dislike. But I don’t want to stay in an office all day.

What are the pros of a full-time job?
1. Getting out of the house
2. My own income
3. Learning the work
4. Free printing
5. Walking down Park Street every morning
6. The fun of working with my colleagues
7. The feeling of achievement
8. Contacts who know people who get things done
9. Listening to music on the iPod during the commute
10. The prospect of traveling on the job someday

That’s it???

13 comments:

dipali said...

Such a tightrope walk this one is.
If the cons are more than the pros- well you know what you can do!
Maybe you can outsource the ironing!
I actually took more than two months to iron the napkins I'd used in November- since I cannot bring myself to give napkins and table mats to the dhobi.
Waisey, 10 pros sound like a lot to me:)

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

It's a tough call sweetie, but it's your call. Weigh these pros against the cons and you'll know what to do.

Why don't yo get someone to help around? Like dipali said, maybe outsource the ironing and if you have a part-timer, pay her a little extra and have her cut the vegetables, 'aat-ta mekhey raakhuk' and basically kaaj taakey ektu egiyey raakhuk. It'll leave you with more time on your hands

Mama - Mia said...

oh well! you cant have everything?? why do we women try to be superwomen and they say the society expects too much outta us!

i think you are having fun at work. it will be muchoes easier to get a part time maid who does the housework, does kaccha tayaari for khaana and lets you spend time with family! which is the most important To-do on the list no?! :)

unless how the sheets are folded matters some more! :p

cheers!

abha

D said...

I call it the working woman's burden - her inaibility to let go of her financial independence, her freedom, her opprtunity to prove herself at work. And her inability also to give up the role of a caregiver, nurturer, mother and wife. Is there ever a perfect balance between the two?

choxbox said...

the mending, cleaning, cooking, folding laundry could get boring very quickly, esp'ly if you have a full ten pros, no?

Monika,Ansh said...

Get a maid Sue. I know exactly what u mean & had similar issues but time sorts out stuff. And I do a lot of outsourcing....from ironing to mending. In fact I have found dryclean walllah & tailor etc all around my workplace & I finish a lot of chores taking out time from my lunch hour.

Rohini said...

Well, if that's all you get out of it, then maybe you have a point. Other than the income of course... if you feel you could be comfy without that, chuck it I'd say.

For me, working is a big part of who I am. I don't think I would be happy if I didn't work. I can see myself being okay with a break. But honestly after Ayaan turned three and started big school, there are some three hours in the day (from when he gets back from school to his afternoon nap), when I miss being with him. Even at the park, he is now totally into his friends and I am there as a bystander at best...

Also, I have been telling you this forever and I will say it again. Get a maid, woman. Let someone else do the cooking and cleaning - you focus on work and the Bhaeblet.

Neera said...

Hmmm I see what u mean ..I myself have been see sawing between getting back to work part time and staying home but get nervous whether I'll be able to do it. My mind's too cluttered right now to offer u any advice. But outsourcing too has its own set of problems. Since you seem to get out of the house a lot in the evenings, getting home bound because of maid dusting/cooking at that time would be frustrating. But the times can be worked out . I don't know what I am writing - u know how confused I am right now!!

Neera said...

Hmmm I see what u mean ..I myself have been see sawing between getting back to work part time and staying home but get nervous whether I'll be able to do it. My mind's too cluttered right now to offer u any advice. But outsourcing too has its own set of problems. Since you seem to get out of the house a lot in the evenings, getting home bound because of maid dusting/cooking at that time would be frustrating. But the times can be worked out . I don't know what I am writing - u know how confused I am right now!!

Sue said...

Dipali -- The ironing in general is entirely outsourced, but I try to do most of the boy's ironing myself. The charges are the same as our stuff and it hurts me to fork over that kind of money for such small things. I do it once a week but he seems to have many clothes!

M4, Ro -- I have a fairly trustworthy part-timer. Am considering asking her to come over in the afternoons to cook. Now that she knows how I like things. Still thinking it over, let's see. I really think I need somebody to take over the cooking.

Abha -- Actually, you're right. Some days, too many days, I let it matter more how the sheets are folded. I'm working on it.

D -- I don't know, D. But as the husband (very slowly) works out a balance as home-maker/patriarchal head of the household, it's that much simpler for me to figure out the things I want and need to do to ensure that we all muddle along.

Chox -- True. *sigh*

Monika -- That's a very good idea. I will scout around my office para and see what is available.

Ro -- I'm not even sure working is a part of who I am. You realise this is the longest I've ever had a formal job? Yes, I need to occupy myself, but I have to be dragged to work kicking and screaming. Oh well, if that's the only way to get me to work, I think this agency is ideal. They give me so much more leeway than I deserve.

Neera -- Exactly! The evenings are our time to do as we wish. I'm not ready to have a maid take over that window. I'm trying to work out alternate timings, let me see what I can come up with.

The Weekend Blogger said...

To make you feel better, let me say that there is yours truly sitting in Delhi...who is deeply missing her walks down Park Street and her favourite habit of people watching.

Purva said...

Sue- I have been reading your blog for sometime now…
I really admire you for not having an ayah for the kid since I strongly feel that when one had a kid he needs to be ready to devote the time which we got or we expected from our parents….
But for the other things it makes sense for you to get help, I stay with my husband and leave for work at 8:30 I come back at 7:30 in the evening, though cook is not a necessity but I have it as it makes sure we have home cooked food everyday and do not resort to junk all the time. My husband helps me a lot, I don’t remember a time since we got married ( 2 yrs) when I am in kitchen and I am alone, so even if it means he is chatting with me, I do get time to catch up with me. My maid comes at 6 in the morning and cook at 6:30 because I want evenings to myself & whatever little cooking I need to do in evening I manage. She makes one curry and one dry sabzi plus chapattis for lunch & balance I manage in evening. Foodprocessor & Microwave cooking comes handy at that time. I don’t like my house to be filled with maids/ helps throughout the day. I definitely feel that I can manage without cook but I remember the days when I would be so tired at 10 that I would not be in a mood to even have a decent discussion with my husband… that’s not fair…
Getting some system helps, I am sure its difficult with a small kid being around, but setting frequency of some mundane activities help. I am lazy and need a reason to lie down.. trust me I have a reminder in my phone to remind me to put clothes in washing machine  more often than not my husband does this and helps me in sorting out clothes also….. I know its difficult and boring to fold clothes and keep them in cupboard….
Do I think I would leave my work, may be if I have a id I would take a break. But I cannot be at home throughout as I said I am a lazy person and not a creative types who will utilize the day better…Working works for me.

Sue said...

Weekend Blogger -- Late, but -- hello.

Purva -- Glad to hear you guys have a balance in place. Do you have children?