I wish I was a boy.
The thought which stayed with me throughout my growing years. I wanted to be able to wear what I wanted, sit however I wanted, go out when I wanted, hated that my bra strap or lines showed (Hadn’t been introduced to seamless yet) and of course, hated getting my periods.
I am extremely lucky to have very supportive parents. Despite some of their weird, old fashioned hang ups, they were and are one of the most progressive people in their family. Education came first. My dad fought with his family everytime they wanted to doll me up and I didn’t. They didn’t believe marriage was the end all for a girl’s life. So all in all, I lived a pretty good and comfortable life.
I grew up with the idea that I could have it all. Nobody ever said that to me exactly but, the independence and strength inculcated in me made me believe that. As a young girl, I never thought about getting married or having a family. I always imagined myself to be professionally successful, living a very interesting, busy and fun life. (Little do we know)
The reminder that I was of the fairer sex came pretty early in life. If I scored high, it was because I was a girl and by virtue of that automatically pretty (No argument there) and so the teacher likes me more. The conversations about which guy liked me were more interesting to everyone than my achievements. Going to school or tuitions were stressful because of the “line of suitors” (so they thought) This is not a funny topic. Eve teasing can become quite ugly sometimes. Some of the experiences I or my friends went through were quite dreadful. Me being me, fought back, each time. And then, I was reminded that I was a girl and I should be careful and not try to take these guys on. Ermmm. Excuse me? So, are you saying I should let them harass me?
I was forced to learn to cook when I was 12, because my mom would go to work and I had to learn the basics in case of any emergencies. I wonder if my mom would have forced me if I was a boy. Well, now I am glad she did. I love cooking. I was sent to dancing classes (another thing I love) but why not some sport?
When I became a mom, I stayed home almost doing nothing for a couple of years. I was frustrated and couldn’t wait to get out, but I had my son, who was still completely dependent on me and I had nobody to depend on. My husband would work for long hours and was barely around. With an extremely colicky baby I spent months of my life staying up all night. Everyone talked about the poor man who has to work so hard. Now, when my son is 5 and not that dependent on me and I being at a responsible position in a company work long hours, I am selfish. Not a good mom because I am not around for my child.
When a man goes on a vacation, he needs it and deserves it. When a woman does, there has to be something wrong with her. How can she not want to be with her family? A man needs his weekly night out with his buddies after those long hours at work. A woman… she has been spending so much time at work, why would she want to go out again?
When a man puts in an effort to look good, he is metrosexual/ubersexual or whatever sexual you call it nowadays. If a woman does, she wants attention. If a man, doesn’t care about how he looks, he is too cool. A woman…. Just plain shabby.
If you are a working mother, you are probably borderline self-centered. If you are a stay at home, you don’t have any ambitions in life. You just can’t catch a break!
The examples are endless. For all the women in the world. You know what I mean? It’s not about whether you are from a progressive society or not. This is not about being able to wear a bikini. This is not just about gender bias. This is also pure biology.
So, I cribbed about all the things I thought and felt were unfair to women. Most of them are. But, the truth is also that we are a bundle of hormones. I hated being caged in my house, all alone, taking care of my child. But, if I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Except for the fact that, I should calm down and remember that sometimes babies just cry. I would still want to be home, be the first one to notice all his milestones, stay up all night nursing him. No promotions or hikes could make me give up that.
I feel guilty for being at work. Missing his PTMs, his soccer classes. I want to be the mom who picks him from school, watches him play soccer, helps him do his homework. But, I am not that mom. I feel guilty, when I ask for a day off. Hell, I feel guilty on a Sunday! So, I am that mom, who works hard for her child, who knows that she deserves to be happy and so will keep her family happy. I am that mom, who believes her son values what his parents do for him, learns to be kind hearted and loving.
I am a woman. Being a daughter, wife, mom etc are the various roles I play. They don’t define the person that I am. I am a woman, a mess sometimes. My hormones rule me most of the time. I will shower love on you if you deserve and cut you off and cast you aside if you don’t. I can be the gentlest, holding you in my arms, taking your troubles away and I will beat some sense into you, if you try to give me trouble. (The times I have done that!!) I would turn into a puddle of tears if you break my heart and I could be the ruthless shark in a boardroom. I am the fairer and the stronger sex.
So, tell your daughters this. Don’t tell them that they can have it all. Because they can’t. Tell them, that there is no right or wrong choice. The choice should be what makes them happy. We are made to be the nurturer but we are also the ones who are made of steel and can don any hat and carry our roles with aplomb!