Sometime back, my sister was explaining to me the various problems of being a girl. You know the problems of adjusting and sacrificing that girls have to do continually through their lives. I thought, she was talking of some bygone century. But as I was to know later, she, as usual was right.
I had heard this many times from many ladies that they will never want to have a girl child, not because they were prejudiced, but they will never like to see their own child go through so much pain as they have gone through. Naïve as I was, I always thought that maybe they are having a tough time.
But after marriage and taking over the responsibilities of one’s own house, I could see what they meant. It meant from being fed, you now have to be the feeder …..not only on time but with quality and within the budget. And the responsibility does not stop there. You not only have to take care of the food but also all the living and non-living things in the house.
I was the youngest member in the family and there was always someone to take care of me. Post marriage however, here I was, handling a new household. Talk of life turning topsy-turvy! For me it was a rebirth. I think the transition for everyone is difficult in their own sense. A new environment, new people, new set of rules and requirements and also the pressure of doing everything perfect could be maddening for anyone. As a girl, I might enjoy the challenge.
However, as a parent, I am sure it will be tough to imagine their little daughter going through this transition.
Somewhere after this, our life changes us in such a way that we cannot identify with the care-free girl we were, who used to throw their books on the bed and ask our mother for food, yes just like the husbands do now.
Then comes the second transition, of being a mother. For a woman, the whole perspective towards life changes in those years. I could never understand these changes till I saw my colleagues giving birth and then my niece’s birth. I always considered these women were strong, smart and so career oriented that nothing could ever make them stray away from their careers. The birth of their kids however proved those statements about adjusting and sacrificing true again. Seeing it from close quarters, I know this transition could be the one which is toughest for our parents to see. And when each daughter succeeds in that, she not only is happy for herself, but I guess it makes her parents the proudest that day.
Yes a girl goes through these changes and it’s difficult for the parent to see this. But then I also try to look at the other side of the coin. How difficult are these transitions for a guy?
When we teach the boys, since they are kids, to be tough. If they are in pain and they cry, we tell them not to behave like a girl. After all they should be strong to face the world. That’s what they do till they get married. Suddenly that day they are expected to change and should start expressing their feelings and share their thoughts. Isn’t that a transition?
The way they live (everything from their food, to the curtains in the house, to the time for dinner) is suddenly decided by a different person. Isn’t that a transition? Subtle may be, but definitely a transition.
But I think the most difficult part that a husband has to face is: handling two women (the mother and the wife). Here he was, taught to be strong and unemotional all his life. And then suddenly out of nowhere, there comes this huge responsibility of understanding someone, who is emotional, sensitive and expressive. And that too two at a time. If that is not confusing, then what could be?
Then comes the transition to being a father. They were always cared for. Even after marriage only the caretaker changes. However, here they are again at this stage, where they have to think about the child, to be an example setter, to almost becoming the anchor.
The toughest part in this phase of life, for both a man and a woman, is the “example- setter” part. A child is like a sneaky-fresher- at job, who watches every movement of yours and picks it up even before you notice.
But coming back to where I was, we both go through our own set of transformations. I cannot be a fair judge of who got the tougher deal. But, based on the complaints that I keep hearing from me and all my friends it looks like we are at the receiving end.
So, for a wife, it is something like: the idea of having fun is tied to the needs of the family for a woman while it is rarely the other way round. When a wife tidies up the house, cook good food and take care of the husband’s family that’s an expected job, no appreciation. If the husband does that, then the woman is lucky …and if he doesn’t …..that is expected. For a working woman, the difficulties continue into the professional world .Sample this from a working mother: When I take off for my sick kid, it could be taken as not concentrating on the work. But when a man does that, it translates to him being a great person.
But given these issues, I still think every woman enjoys the challenge they face. Imagine dependent on someone else for everything throughout our lives! For me, each transition for the women is a new birth and we all sail through them most of the time successful.
As for the complaints of not being appreciated enough, this is what I think: In an organization, when a person does their work that is expected. When someone goes out of their way to do others job, they are appreciated more. And the same thing could be said for a wife and a husband.
Yes the share of work for a woman is more, but then again, the most efficient people get to do the toughest jobs.
P.S. - Just my observations and experiences. These are topics which could not be painted in white and black. They generally take the shades of gray