My husband has absent mindedly asked me this question on a couple of occassions after coming back from work and if I have had a long day with no break to even rest my behind - he has pretty much had it from me. Ask anyone living in a nuclear family - even with a maids and nannies - babies seem to want their mom's more and more as they grow up! And if I ask him for a hand after a full day of work he seems to give me what I call,"The Incredulous Eye Roll" , as if, you have been lucky to be home with kids and I have just gotten back... so, how can you?
The Indian man has always been told he is the bread earner and he seems to demand certain kind of attention when he gets home, especially in joint families. And though the times have changed and the women are really out there, it seems that even working women still have to figure out the daily running of their house, figuring out groceries, managing house help, budgeting for the house AND managing their kids, scheduling their kids classes, doctor appointments, keeping the kids immunisation schedule in mind, planning birthday parties etc which seems unfair 'coz then they are basically doing TWO jobs and getting paid for one. If the house help is off on the weekend then I don't even seem to get a decent hour to unwind where I can just tune off from my daily duties of making sure both my kids are bathed, fed and entertained.
Nowadays, with a 10 month old my nights are long 'coz her sleep pattern seems to bersek every few weeks and my 5 year old has to get to the car by 8:40am so to get him to school on time so I have to be an early riser to make sure things are organised in the morning. But most days sees me getting up at 4am and rocking my daughter till 5am... then enjoying a cuppa of coffee in the only alone time of the day I get without hearing a "mama", "Ruchiiii" or "Bhabiiii". Most day I want to cheat in a nap from 6-730am but something or the other comes up.
My house looks like a Tom and Jerry cartoon being played in fast forward mode in the morning if I have slept in beyond 730am on any day. I have to just rush my kid through everything to get him ready on time. So my morning usually looks like, 10m old on hip and 5year old being shaken awake by me. Then 5year old in bathroom and helping him through routine with one hand and running back to the high chair to feed the 10m old with the other hand. In the middle of helping the 5year old change my 10m old(potty trained) wants to poop and shoot we're running late to school and he hasn't even started the breakfast while the didi is rolling her eyes and wondering whether she should feed him, fill his bottle or make him wear his shoes or just clean up while I am in the bathroom with my 10m old. When I come out nothing has moved forward so we end up packing his breakfast and feeding him on the way... so if this is just my morning and I am sure at least some of you are sailing in the same boat as me. Then the rest of the day can look chaotic too unless both kids are at school for the full day and when I have been running around like a mad hatter the last thing I like to be asked is how my day was or if I am asked that, then please be patient enough to hear me rant and rave.
The problem with nuclear families is that YOU are your only back up and probably don't even have the time to fall ill! The hubby could be travelling, the maid could be ill but you have to be charged like an EVERREADY battrey and be a substitute for the cook, driver and everything to get the child ready on time. And ofcourse there are good days too when everything seems to run smoothly and you can squeeze in some alone time with the hubby before you go to bed or watch your favorite serial on the telly.
I can be super organised but somehow I have realised that MAYHEM suits me and so be it. We usually have to come back up in the lift once in a while because my son has forgetten to carry his bottle or bag or both and getting angry doesn't seem to be the solution.
So, nowadays when I leave the house at anytime of the day instead of glancing at the mirror one last time, I have lowered my expectations. I just try to make sure I am carrying both my kids, wipes and water and the house keys out with me and the rest I seem to leave to HIM... because how much ever I have trained the house help there are days when I land up somewhere and the maid has forgotten the diaper and the baby has pooped or we are at piano class without the correct books and there is only SO much I can do to ensure everything is PERFECT so I'd rather live in my inperfect world.