My nanny fell sick and disappeared on me.
I was forced to stay at home and manage my work alongside the kids.
A video call was due and I got on to it.
Before I knew it, my toddler was sharing the screen space. A part of me sunk in embarrassment.
As women, we always talk about equality at work and home.
We wish for acceptance, shared burdens and equal opportunities.
We want to have the freedom to choose what we do, wear, think, and live the life we choose for ourself.
The expectations we deal with, the mindsets we have to work around, the challenges are constant. In our homes, women are expected to play certain role, speak a certain way, wear certain clothes and fulfil certain responsibilities. At work too, women have watch what we say and do, lest we bruise some egos or are perceived a certain way.
Nevertheless with time and experience we manage to navigate these situations. We learn to say it right, balance the scales and change the mindsets.
However when the biggest challenge you have is YOU, how do you deal with it?
How do you change your OWN mindset? How do you break the walls in your head?
The challenges beyond me were easy to take on and face. But when it comes to my expectations of self and how I must be perceived, the climb is harder.
I am constantly asking my team if they are ok, if their personal lives are sorted. I know how difficult it is to balance the multiple roles we play. To remember the details of each character we play. I understand that some days are just some days when you find everything hard.
Yet, I like my life and my roles in boxes. I must manage each one separately and not let them merge at any point.
I am a daughter. I am a wife. I am a mother.
I am a sister. I am an aunt. I am a friend.
I am a working woman. I am a team lead. I am a mentor.
All these roles are equally important to me.
I am a proud mother, yet I am embarrassed if my children come into my work life.
I am sure that women all around the world feel similarly. We apologise for things beyond us. We are sorry about things beyond our access or control. We even try to fix things that are not ours to fix.
We are sorry that we have a child that may fall sick unexpectedly. We are guilt ridden for having to leave our children with hired help. We are stressed that our life hangs in balance on nannies, staff and delayed meetings. We are bogged with worry when we leave town for work. We are embarrassed by the deadlines we miss or the maps we forget to send to school. The notes from the teacher that were not responded to because there were so many other things to remember.
And not because we have to.
Because honestly who is asking but our own expectations and our conscience.
At work for example, most of my colleagues would be happy to accommodate most of my needs as parent. The boy on the screen alongside me was a happy topic for the week that went by.
Yet I fret.
Yet I worry myself to death.
Yet I blame myself for the things amiss.
Yet I am unforgiving for the blunders I am not responsible for.
We want shared burdens, but we take up all responsibility.
We want equality, yet we don’t give ourselves a chance to err.
We want equal opportunity, but we refuse to delegate and share.
We continue to blame the world, when the walls are in our heads.