“What do you do at home all day?”
How many times have I heard the above question and not known what to answer? I just end up staring dumbly at the people who ask me this and the following.
“What do you have to do at home?”
“But what do you do?”
“You do nothing, don’t you?”
“I know you don’t have any work.”
Today, I decided to perform a simple exercise, something I ought to have done a long back. I made a list of things I did today, right from the time I woke up.
6:00 a.m. – My smartphone gave the wakeup call. I forced my eyes open, chased away a dream that was rolling around in my skull, and groaned inwardly. “These beastly schools!” I thought. “Why the hell do they open so early? Forcing me out of bed at this unearthly hour!”
I literally dragged myself out of bed, hurriedly brushed my teeth and washed my face, and rushed to the kitchen, struggling to put my thoughts in order.
I fried the dosas and prepared the potato bhaji and the chutney for breakfast. I got some mid-morning snacks ready for my son. I filled two water bottles and packed two tiffin boxes for my son. I heated the milk and prepared the tea. By the time I served breakfast to my son and got ready to take him to school, it was 7:15 a.m.
7:15 a.m. – I drove my little boy to school. Our best moments are spent in the car. We chat and interact. I scold and dose. By the time I bid good-bye to my son at the school gates, my stomach was literally roaring with hunger and demanding breakfast. I started the 8km drive back home thinking of hot tea. I reached home at 8:15 a.m.
8:15 a.m. – I put some fresh water for the chooks and gave them their wheat grains. One of them escaped from her coop and started running around the garden. I had to coax her back into the coop again and that took some time. I then re-heated the tea, which had gone stone cold by now, and had my breakfast.
9:15 a.m. – I am a night owl. My brain is sharpest during the night hours when everybody around me is sleeping and snoring. So, I switched on the computer and stared at it in despair. I have seven articles that I have to finish today. I have to stay active on social networking sites to get traffic for my blogs. I have to get started with the next episode of my scooter story before the world forgets that I am a storywriter too.
I struggled to get my thoughts organized. I logged in to my Facebook page and posted a “Good Morning Kudla” message. I changed my profile photo. I checked my notifications. I then struggled through a casino review. It went slowly … oh so slowly … You just cannot force your brain to work when you haven’t had enough sleep, your mind is foggy, and all you want is a cup of hot coffee.
As I struggled through the sentences and paragraphs, I heard a cat fight in the garden and rushed out with my camera. Much to my disappointment, the animals fled as soon as they saw me approaching. I, however, managed to take a few photographs of a cat that had come to my garden for breakfast. I take photos whenever I get the chance as I always need them for my blogs and Facebook pages.
9:45 a.m. – Is it already 9:45 a.m.? I checked my Whatsapp messages and remembered that I have to go to my son’s school again for an “Interactive Session.” The very idea of driving through Kudla’s traffic gives me nightmares.
I took a hot water bath and thought of the various things I could do between 11:30 a.m. (when the “Interactive Session” would come to an end) and 2:15 p.m. (when my son’s school would leave). I then drove to school again.
10:45 a.m. – I was 15 minutes late for the meeting, but found a cosy seat on the last row. I can’t say I did not enjoy the meeting because I did. I always enjoy “Interactive Sessions” because they give me ideas for a billion blog posts.
11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. – All I did was chat and interact with the parents who had come for the “Interactive Session.” I chatted outside the school hall, on the corridors, on the stairs, and near the parking lot. I like chatting. I hardly get the time to do it, and I wasn’t going to let a golden opportunity like this slip through my fingers.
12:45 p.m. – All the ladies had gone home to get the lunch ready and I was left alone in the parking lot. I remembered the to-do list I had made when I was taking my hot water bath.
- Visit Archie’s Kitchen and buy a packet of Jaffe.
- Go to Mangaladevi Temple and take photographs.
However, there were a couple of problems. First, I really needed a cup of coffee. Second, I had never been to either Archie’s Kitchen or Mangaladevi Temple. The easiest thing to do was to get a cup of coffee and I did that. I then tried calling a friend who had left her mobile phone in the car. When two of my calls went unanswered, I headed back to my car.
I sat in my car and turned on Google Maps. After spending 10 minutes figuring out how to get to Mangaladevi Temple, I finally started the car and headed towards the temple. Thanks to Google Maps and a helpful goodangadi (small shop) owner, I found the temple without any difficulty. I had visited this temple only once when I was a little girl and had completely forgotten the way to it. By 2:07 p.m., I had taken all the photographs I required.
I then returned to my son’s school.
2:15 p.m. – I picked up the little boy and took him home. But wait! On the way, I purchased rice, noodles, milk, bread, and neem oil. By the time we reached home, it was 3:30 p.m.
3:30 p.m. – I gave the little boy his lunch, told him to let the chooks out of their run in half an hour, and went off to sleep as I had a splitting headache.
4:15 p.m. – I had my tea and settled down to write this blog post.
So what have I accomplished today? Nothing! I have not become the Prime Minister of India. I have not succeeded in flying to the moon. I have not invented that medication that will make humankind immortal. I am not even a super duper Mom who is doing everything alone because I get a lot of help from my mother.
So, I have done nothing! All I have is a splitting headache coupled with a sense of discontentment and the feeling that I have done nothing so far.
The Internet is full of blog posts similar to this one as stay at home mothers and fathers have freely shared their experiences online. My post is just an addition to the pile. The people who ask me what I do at home all day will not even read this.
While it is true that I accomplish nothing much, it is also true that I am always busy. The above is just a slice of one of my days, which leave me little time to even look at my face in the mirror.
To conclude, here is a list of some things I do—parenting, cooking, teaching, cleaning, driving, grocery shopping, paying bills, SEO writing, blogging, social networking, keeping chooks, researching, and taking photographs. I also watch a TV show or two, read the news, interact with friends, take the kid out, post on Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp, and do a dozen other things. To put it very simply, I am a mother and a freelance writer, and believe me, it’s hard work.
So I really wish people wouldn’t ask me what I do at home all day. If you must ask, please don’t ask me in the mornings. Do me a favor and read this blog post.