Seven months ago, if you’d asked me what’s your weekend plan, my answer would be – Writing a blog/book or reading in bed. I was always found doing the above things after office hours. Lazing around doing nothing was not my kind.
Neither did the kitchen chores. I helped my mother with the household chores once in a blue moon. Fortunately, she was considerate about my need to write and read. At the same time, she also said, “Once you go to your husband’s house you’d seldom get the liberty of having a me-time, let alone sitting back and writing.”
Her words didn’t affect me much then. I was under the impression that – I am capable of multitasking and I’ll manage everything quite well. But sometimes things don’t go as you plan them in your head.
Ever since I got married, my writing was automatically sidelined. No, nobody stopped or opposed me from writing but the new life got to me. There was an invisible barrier that made me skeptical of sparing some time for myself. Several questions bombarded me and led to overthinking. Many times, the problem wasn’t as big as I portrayed it in my head.
Cooking was one of my hobbies before marriage. But soon it turned out to be miserable as I sucked at it. The reason was simple but undiscovered – the pen was replaced by the knives and tongs.
A month back when I asked my husband to rate my cooking skills on a scale of ten, he gave me an eight. Then I asked him, “and what would it be a few months back?” He said, “A four or five”.
I was stunned at his reply for realizing how bad I had been with the cooking. At the same time, I felt good about myself for trying to be better each day. As a result, the hard chapatis have not turned softer.
Also, I was never criticized for the food I made, by my in-laws. I can only imagine what it must’ve felt like while chewing each granule. YouTube taught me the steps of cooking a dish but experience taught me how to cook.
Juggling between my newly married life and a new job and the new book, I messed up things a lot of times. My to-do lists were unattended for days. My writing prompts were replaced by thoughts such as “what should I make for breakfast tomorrow?”
I made a week’s timetable of the breakfasts I’ll make each day but failed to follow it due to the unavailability of ingredients. Slowly, I started planning breakfast at night. This made my mornings a little less stressful. I have always planned my blogs well before sitting to write. I used the same technique in the kitchen. It worked well.
One day, one of my readers messaged me on Instagram telling me they were expecting and wanted to share this good news with me. I was very happy for her and pleased to know that my readers like sharing their important life updates with me.
We conversed for a long time. She asked me about my new life and discovered that I was struggling with it. Since marriage, I’ve got many unsolicited pieces of advice but hers was different. It went this like –
“For the first three months, I felt so clueless. Mine is an arranged marriage and it took some time for me to communicate with my husband.”
“You mentioned that your writing has completely stopped. Please resume it”, she started with this as I had once said it on my Instagram stories.
“Plan for the whole week’s meals. Switch to audiobooks so that you can listen to them while you’re working in the kitchen.”
”Never let bitter feelings build on you towards anyone. It ruins your peace of mind. Whether good or bad it’s their behavior and it should never affect us”.
”Write about the thing that disturbs you in the night (privately) and tear and throw it away”. (I’ve not thrown them away though ;))
To conclude she said, “These are common things. Don’t let it disturb you. Make sure you enjoy your life to the maximum.”
Lastly, she said, “I feel great talking to you. Thank you”.
But the truth, that day was, I was grateful to her.
A few days later she messaged me saying they were blessed with a baby girl!
It took her three months to adjust to her new house whereas, for me, it took six months to gel with the new family (despite being in a love marriage). Knowing someone for years and staying with them are two different things.
There are several reasons for this, two of the major reasons being – the COVID-19 marriages and Work from home!
Many millennials got married in the Covid-19 era. Covid-19 and work from home have had a huge impact on newly married couples as well as their families. If you’re someone who’s been married in the past two years, you can relate to the below points:
The postponed honeymoon
Marrying was difficult during the pandemic times and going to honeymoons post marriage was also not easy.
Marriages, in India, take place in a chronological manner starting with the rituals, reception, a puja at the husband’s house which is followed by a honeymoon to a preferably cold place (for obvious reasons).
But if things don’t go as they’ve always been, it annoys you, isn’t it?
Most married lives in the pandemic started on this note which led to unwitting annoyance and dissatisfaction. Sometimes the unsaid dissatisfaction leads to misunderstandings in relationships.
The monotonous days
We have been stuck at home working on our laptops for over two years now. It’s sometimes frustrating to see your parents around you, nagging you to exercise, wake up early, etc. It is also true the other way round. Your parents also feel bored and irritated seeing you on office calls for the entire day.
Now imagine being with your in-laws for 24 hours, every day. You can, right? It’s not easy to see the same faces day in and day out.
Isn’t this one of the reasons for messing up things at work because you were unable to keep that balance between your personal and professional life?
The difficulty in switching between personal and professional life
When you start living in a new house with a bunch of new people, you are not aware of their daily routines or habits. It takes time to slip into their lives.
Work from the home situation makes it even worse if you’re unable to focus on one thing at a time. For instance, if you’re sitting in front of the laptop but your thoughts are traveling to the dinner you’re going to cook then it’s going to ruin your professional life.
Switching between your laptop and kitchen must have been the most difficult task after marriage if both the sides were equally demanding, isn’t it?
I too faced similar situations post marriage. I often cursed my decision of marrying off soon. I cribbed about the additional responsibilities and got sad in no time.
I’m a person who’s over-expressive. It’s always laughter or cries, nothing in between. Being kind, I always felt helpless and clueless about my sad days.
I would motivate myself by saying, “It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.”
But that didn’t work in the long term. I was sad most of the time until I enrolled myself in a training program at my office.
It was a language skill training but is giving me much more than I expected from the course. I still have three more sessions to attend but couldn’t wait for two more weeks to write this blog.
I attended all the sessions attentively, twice a week, amidst my office work. The sessions have been interactive and made me analyze my mistakes both at the workplace and at home.
I communicated with people as I wanted to without realizing the fact that the person I’m talking to can be different, his way of taking things is different.
For instance, I behaved the same with my mother-in-law as I did with my mother. But l forgot that I was dealing with two different people. If my mother didn’t need attention, my mother-in-law needed it exclusively. And that is fine. We are not the same.
The training taught me to understand the person whom you’re going to deal with and behave or give what the person wants or pleases to have.
I applied this simple strategy both at work and home, and things have changed for the good. Little did I know that it was so easy to sort things.
Secondly, I started making conscious efforts to differentiate between my office and housework. I resumed making a to-do list and started sticking to it until I had completed it. I thought of nothing else apart from work when I was in front of the laptop.
I started noticing the level of water I poured for different proportions of rice, every single day. I did not rush things to meet the deadlines.
When I was bringing my life together, I got good news from my publisher that our next book was ready with the editing process. My happiness knew no bounds. All my hardships and patience bore fruits.
I celebrated the moment with my husband and we’ve been planning the book and its launch together.
I can’t wait for the book to come out and for you to read it.
This was not a planned one. It just happened. You’ll know why when you read it. I’ll soon announce the launch date on my blog and my Instagram handle – shraddharane23.
Do watch the spaces for more updates.
Hope you liked today’s blog. I’ve loved writing it and sharing some life experiences with you. Do let me know in the comments how you felt about it.
P.S. WFH has its own advantage too, you get to spend 24 hours with your spouse.