Ladies, reclaim your LIVES: Here's how
Kanchan Maslekar tells today's women how to get out of zombie mode and live right. Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh
Monday: Alarm, Snooze, Panic. Wake up, take a shower, make breakfast, pack lunches, get dressed, get the kids out the door, rush to work.
Work, thinking about whether the kids have gotten home, if the dog has been fed and whether the maid is in. At the end of the day, it's time to figure out dinner/make it, help with homework, get the kids into bed and make sure everything is ready for tomorrow.
Tuesday: Same as above.
Wednesday: Same as above.
Does this sound familiar? Does this happen to you every week? Even if you don't have children, chances are you're still trying to cram too much 'doing' into each day, so that life has practically become a to-do list.
A few years into the marriage, monotony sets in; you push your way into every new day and you start living in almost a daze.
Sayli Sathe says even a holiday does not help. "With herculean efforts I manage to take one and as soon as I am back I struggle to keep up my energy levels. Even during the holiday, the last few days are spent thinking about the things I need to do back home."
Most of us forget to live our own lives. We tend to get so engrossed in building the lives of our families and people around us that we forget we have our own.
Here's an easy way to convince yourself that you need me-time: If you don't take care of yourself, no one else will. So today is just the day to pull up your socks and declare: I have a life!
Make a start
Start with some bigtime management and stop being superwoman. Prioritise and strike out activities that can be delegated. Create a support system that can help you do things more effectively and efficiently. Stop feeling guilty; happy women make happy families. Try to find happiness.
Of course, no one can plan the course of their lives. But have a clear picture of how you want things to be. You have complete authorship and ownership of your life. Instead of waiting for things to happen and being a passive by-stander, accepting whatever happens to you, you must be intentional and purposeful when it comes to proactively creating plans for your life.
Rediscover your friends
Complains Gauri Shah, "In looking after the lives of my daughters, I have lost touch with all my friends. All my friends now are my daughters' friends' mothers."
Sound familiar? Dig out your old telephone diary, your old handset or log onto a social networking site to see what your friends are upto. Call them up and set up a date over coffee. Take the initiative and do it yourself -- don't wait for someone else to do it.
Take up a hobby
Says Mihika Mathur, "I used to be an avid reader and the library was one of my favourite haunts. However, in the last nine years of married life, I haven't visited the library more than four times. I have no time for reading," she laments.
When Mihika met her long lost friend Madhurika, things changed. Madhurika was pursuing her doctorate at the age of 42 and encouraged Mihika to join the library she often visited.
Think of something you always wanted to do as a child, something that brought a smile to your face. This is the time to start doing it all over again.
Find small things to make you happy everyday. These things don't need to rock your world -- a funny video, your children's laughter, kindness, a sunrise -- the smallest of things can bring a smile to your face. Enjoy these small things and don't forget to smile.
Get a makeover
We often envy those smartly-dressed women, the ones who look great even when they're working in the kitchen, whose children are doing well, who are always updated on the latest news and can participate intelligently in any discussion under the sun.
Draw inspiration from them. Go in for a makeover -- visit a beautician, a dietician and go on a shopping spree. And opt for a mental makeover too -- stop feeling guilty about doing all of that.
"If you are passionate about something, you'll always find the time to do it," says Aparna Bhosale, a software engineer who volunteers at an NGO on weekends.
Need we say more?
Reignite your marriage
Yes, there is work, work and more work, leaving little or no time or desire for sex.
Then there are the children, who share your bedroom or take up most of your time.
But finding the time to hold hands, sending text messages and taking small outings together can really make up for a bad day, says Ojaswini.
"All of us just start taking our partners for granted and don't give our marriages any time," she laments.
Have the courage to look at areas of your life where you're not doing well. All of us make mistakes; have the courage to own up and rectify them.
If there is a relationship that went sour, or a bad decision that you regret, face up to them. You will be thankful you did and you are bound to find mental peace.
Fake it till you make it
Things will not change in a jiffy. You have to act the part before it comes naturally to you. Prepare to feel embarrassed, uncomfortable and guilty as you try on the new you. You are going to feel like a fake, but accept it and don't give up.
Accept the transition and be ready for a new you and your new life!