A Blog by SPJIMR: The Things She Has to Get Done…

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  • 23 Oct 2018

“We have been waiting for you for about half an hour now!”, Her husband lashed at her, the moment she warily entered the house. In no mood for a fight at the end of a very long day, she quietly apologized, hoping to put the conversation to rest.


"I too take the same road, and it takes me only 15 minutes to reach home from the station. You message me on reaching the station and then come home about half an hour later. Do you crawl all the way?!” he jumped down her throat. He was making it impossible for her to walk away from this fight.



“What is your problem?!”, she brawled back at him. He was taken aback by her angry retort and managed to get a hold of himself and said with concern, "I was just worried about you. We always wait for you for dinner. When you get delayed, we all get delayed. You know mom has diabetes. She needs to eat on time. All I'm asking is why does it take you so long to travel the same distance that I cover in 10 to 15 minutes at best".


"I don't like to have these conversations where we quantify the amount of work we all do in this family. However, if you must know, then let me tell you that although the road we both take is very much the same, the journey is different", she sighed.


“Common! Are you going to seriously use the ‘working woman card’?! While many women may be finding it difficult to balance work and family, you have nothing to complain about. We have domestic help for almost every chore. We have a cook. We send our children to tuitions. We have a refrigerator, microwave, washing machine, and even a dishwasher. We do not live in the Stone Age you know! You barely have anything to do at home!”, he starkly remarked.


"I am not complaining. I am giving you an explanation since you asked for one. The maid doesn't cook the crisp notes we bring home from the ATM. She needs vegetables, grains, milk, etc. Every day on my way back home, I stop by to buy these things. Shops are very crowded during the evenings, but that's the only time I get to buy them. I carry these hefty bags, and that slows me down. I have to think about the next morning breakfast and keep the ingredients out for the maid. I have to check if the maid is cleaning the house well and supervise her on weekends. I have to check if the appliances are working properly to avoid expensive repairs. You are right in saying that many women probably get a worse deal. However, that doesn't change the fact that getting things done is as difficult as doing them oneself. It may not be physically exhausting, but it takes up one's mental energy. Also, god forbid if the maid doesn’t turn up one day, then all the luxuries we just spoke about become non-existent overnight for me!", She said, poignantly.


Now feeling guilty, her husband said understandingly, "I don't know what to say, except ask how I can help you."


"I honestly do not have all the answers. This isn't simple Maths in which we can add and subtract our responsibilities and suddenly LHS=RHS", she chortled, "but once in a while acknowledging my pain points sure will help."   


Just as she successfully dodged a conflict, her younger daughter came running and handed a piece of paper to her. She looked at her husband and smiled, “It says here that tomorrow all the students should wear a grey dress to school. Now I'm going to have to fetch one, iron it and get the necessary accessories to go with it”.


"How about I iron it," he asked.


"Deal!" she laughed, as she got busy with the necessary preparations.


“It's not just about what women do; it's about what they need to get done. It's not about the task they take up and execute; it's about the responsibility they shoulder towards these tasks.” - Prerna Joshi


About the Author: 

With diverse experience in the field of Human Resource Management, Prerna Joshi is a Diversity and Inclusion evangelist, currently working as Research Associate at SPJIMR; one of India's finest business schools, S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research is consistently ranked among the top 10 in the country. She lives in Mumbai with her husband and in-laws. In her spare time, Prerna loves to write poems and read books on Psychology and strongly believes that creating psychologically safe and inclusive work-spaces is the need of the hour.



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