The whole world is going through a testing time, everyone is playing a role that has been forced upon them and our victory over the spread of Covid-19 depends on how well we play our roles. However, some roles are very different from others, but each role is vital in its own way and the end result depends upon the combined efforts of all.
Let’s be more precise about how inter-linked everyone’s fate is with that of others. For instance, if people stay indoors, practise good hygiene and social distancing, there will be fewer people falling sick. This will mean that the doctors and paramedics, who are being brave enough to risk their lives by directly tackling this virus, will face less danger when the number of Covid-19 patients goes down.
It’s a tough job that they are doing — putting themselves at risk and their families too, to whom they have to return home. So we just have to stay home so that we, the medical professionals and the rest of the world stay safe.
While some people are being asked to do less, others are doing more. For many children and students, the school has been closed for almost two months or more. Most adults, the lucky ones, are working from home. And the unfortunate ones have had to close their businesses in the lockdown or have lost their jobs. They all have less to do than they did before the world came to a halt.
People are either feeling bored, not knowing what to do, or becoming stressed over what they can’t do.
And if we look closer at home, in this lockdown situation, there is one person who has more work cut out for them — it is the mother, the lady of the house. I am sure by now everyone has realised how much extra work has fallen on her shoulders.
The list of things that have fallen into a woman’s, especially a mother’s, already full hands is long, but one that many of us are realising, hopefully. Many mothers who have a job are working from home and their day starts with their regular office timings, with calls, emails, video meetings and other tasks to complete. And in between, she has to run around doing household stuff that can’t wait because everyone is home, hungry souls need to be fed and the house needs to be cleaned and sorted. And there is no maid coming in to help her!
And if the children have their online classes or school tasks to do, she has to make sure they wake up in time to be ready for the class or do not waste time playing games and miss an assignment deadline. For this, she also has to give up her phone or laptop, since there can’t always be enough gadgets to meet needs of everyone doing work online and remotely.
So how does she get her own office work done?
Well, that is done when all are resting in the night and the household work has been finished. And there are many mothers who are taking an official call, sounding very professional, while cooking in the kitchen or changing a baby’s diaper.
Things are hardly easier for the stay-at-home mothers. They too are facing a maid-less life while taking care of the family that is bored, moody and fed-up of this lockdown. The daily routine has gone haywire with everyone sleeping in late, feeling hungry and having meals at odd timings, and having different needs and moods.
The mother can’t wrap up her work at set times like before when everyone would out of the house in the morning and she followed a clear routine. Then, grocery shopping could also be done easily, and the fridge and pantry restocked at will. Now with most shops closed, the extra precaution needed to step out to get something and the financial crunch that many households face due to loss or reduction of income, it is mostly the mother who has to plan things in a way to make less last longer, while meeting everyone’s needs.
If this lockdown and the chance to spend more time at home has not made people realise the worth, efforts and burdens of a mother, I don’t know what will. Look closely at all a mother does around the house, yes, she was doing so earlier too, but many things were taking place without you realising it. Look at how tired she gets while the rest of the family gets bored with little to do. Look at how cranky and moody this social distancing is making everyone while she handles all situations without complaining. Yes, she may lose her temper once in a while and scold, but nobody comes to lift her mood like she does when you cry to be allowed outside to play.
Now is the time for reflection of so many things in life — what is important and meaningful, and what we just occupied ourselves with, but are able to function well without. And in this reflection, we need to access the value of people and relationships, because the one thing this lockdown has taught us is the value of relationships, whom we depend upon and can’t do without. We had misplaced our values earlier and we cherished things more than people and experiences.
And in this reflective time, let us use Mother’s Day to not simply give her some cards, though we can’t give mothers all the gifts and flowers like we did every year, but to really give her our love, time and attention. These are the things you have in this lockdown and which carry real meaning for her. Make life easier for her by helping her, being kind to her and obeying her, not just on Mother’s Day but on all days. At least while you are staying home now, you can turn each day into a special one for her and in return, the bliss you will feel will make each day special for you too.
Have you ever thought, as she lifts you out of a bad mood, that she too could be having a bad day, or she would also be having a tantrum that she has had to tame? Why don’t you make it a point to spend some time with her each day to cheer her up, give her a chance to share her worries and find out how you can help her carry the extra burden she is carrying these days?
A mother is all giving and she rarely asks for anything, except that all her family stays happy and healthy. Stay happy, stay positive and stay connected to your mother.
This article was originally published in Dawn, Young World, on May 9th, 2020.