Working Women Burnout. The issue that almost no one is talking about. If Corona doesn’t kill me, it most certainly will. Some may call us privileged to be able to work from home in these tough times, but I wonder if it really is. Yes, we are still getting our salaries, we are safe within the four walls of what we call home, we have access to nearly all our daily essentials except one – adequate rest.
Most of us have part-time maids (some luckier ones may have full-time) who come and take care of all our daily household chores. I prefer to cook on my own though. While I prepare for lunch, my husband makes breakfast for the both of us before he leaves for work. It’s quite easy to manage. On regular days that is. A perfect example of Ariel’s #ShareTheLoad campaign. Women have, for ages, been the primary load bearer of household responsibilities, but with more women stepping out to contribute to family income, it makes total sense, doesn’t it?
But Corona has changed our lives. For better or worse, I am not quite sure. Life is beyond Netflix and Chill—at least for me and I am sure for almost every other working woman too. As a “privileged” working woman, I am invariably waking up before sunrise to finish household chores, before I sit down to start what others may actually call “work”. I work from home through the day pausing occasionally to cook, clean, mop, do the dishes and the laundry, let alone the million sundry things that men don’t even seem to acknowledge. But all this isn’t real work.
Probably that’s why men choose not to partake in them. It’s close to midnight before I get to bed these days. On regular days, I sleep by 9 and wake up at 4:30 am. I still wake up around the same time or a tad bit later. My husband surely helps. He makes the breakfast, like regular days and then jumps on official calls leaving me to manage the rest.
As women, we are wired to prioritize our house and family over everything else. Men are probably wired to prioritize work. I often start work late, postpone calls, take breaks to finish the unfinished chores. Husband don’t have the option to take such breaks. Do they? Who wants such an option, anyway? Me? No. Do you?
But is it even an option? Not for me. For me, its always been a choice. To do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. I push a 2-hour work-call to 3 pm, because 2 pm is lunch time. Unless of course, someone somewhere is dying. Yes, it means my work hours extend beyond my regular time—leaving me exhausted and burned-out.
It pains me to see men (who I know have never toasted a bread) posting TikTok videos of mopping the floor and doing the dishes. It infuriates me to see them share quotes of equality and quality family time. I wish they spent that time in lending a hand with the chores. I wish they worked a little at home while working from home. I wish they took breaks to clean a dish or two or run a load of laundry instead of a smoke break. I wish they woke up an hour or two early so we could sleep an hour late—at least someday. I wish they knew that their weekend is our weekend too. I wish they thought we deserved a rest day too. I just wish this lockdown ends soon.