We’ve had to make some pretty drastic changes to our lives during this shutdown. Online classes, work from home, or not leaving our houses for weeks is a life most of us are experiencing for the first time.
Yet, the task of keeping the show running at home, making sure the entire family is fed and taken care of is not a job new to our mothers. Has staying home really changed the lives of everyone around us? Because the role of our mothers seems to have stayed the same, nay, increased as maintaining good health and hygiene at home has become a priority like it was never before.
The burden of caregiving and maintaining functionality of the house disproportionately falls on women. With all members of the family cooped up together at all times, this isolation might just have increased that burden. Women carry an immense load every day round the year at home and, in times of crisis, it is women who often have to face the reality at home.
Those fortunate are now taking every meal of the day in the house; kids who don’t have school need more help with their studies as schools have assigned homework to be done and the usual support system including everyone from home tutors to cooks, cleaners and house helps, may not be accessible.
The entire responsibility of the household should not fall solely on a mother to begin with. The home is a place where there are no work hours yet a mother is on duty 24/7. Besides the physically taxing activities, the emotional labour also needs to be considered as it can be a major form of exhaustion.
Most of us are getting the chance to spend some extra time with our close ones, which we usually may not get courtesy of our busy, often out-of-sync schedules. For those who are not doing so already, this may be our only chance to extend a hand and lessen their burden. Make your own bed in the morning, wash your own clothes, or simply help in cutting the vegetables. More importantly, appreciate our mothers for the insane role they fulfill now, around the year, and throughout their lives.
As I sit here in my room maintaining my deadlines, my mother is making sure the door to our home is cleaned repeatedly with disinfectant. I pinch my nose at the pungent smell of the solution and think it’s a bit too much, but it’s just my mother’s way of making sure no harm is ever caused to her family.
Mrittika Anan Rahman is a daydreamer trying hard not to run into things while walking. Find her at email@example.com