Haye jaldi corona khatam ho takey ye apnay office waapis jaaein aur mujhay chayn aur azaadi wapis milein: tamaam desi biwion ka ijatmaai slogan.
Translation: Ugh I hope this virus ends soon so he can go back to work and I get my peace and freedom back: a united slogan by all desi wives.
This Monday marks the beginning of the fourth week of social distancing and work from home for us in the Netherlands. Safe to say, adjusting to a new routine hasn’t been easy for anyone.
However, while the entire world is witnessing huge changes around, some dheet (obstinate) desi husbands are continuing to do what they are famous – sorry, notorious – for: giving orders and making life unbearable for their wives.
The baadshahat (kingdom) (read: bad upbringing or bogus ego) they regularly claimed only on the dinner table in pre Covid-19 days, now begins at the crack of dawn, when they wake up and sit in front of the laptop for their morning virtual catch-up with colleagues.
Guess who’s at the receiving end of the tantrums? The wife, who cannot leave the house for a breather.
If you don’t want to be the man whose wife secretly wants to run away but isn’t doing so only because of coronavirus lurking in all four directions, then use the following friendly tips to remain a bearable feature of the family.
Tip 1: Don't scream 'chai laa do', 'khana laa do' (bring me tea, bring me food) from your home workstation.
When you're at your real office, you move your butt and get your own tea and lunch, right? So stick to the routine and get that much needed exercise. Trust me, it’s good for health.
Tip 2: Be considerate. You’re not the only one feeling the brunt.
Remember that just like you're struggling to work in a new environment, your wife is too. She's used to having her space during the day and cooking/cleaning without you and the kids presenting constant demands.
If your wife too has a job and is currently working from home just like you, remember that her meeting is just as important as yours. Share the load and pitch in equally.
Tip 3: Contribute
Your wife's work has doubled. She's serving more meals, cleaning more, and needs to be more available for everyone’s physical and emotional needs. So instead of adding to her plate, contribute.
Give her a break. Let her go take a shower, feed the baby, answer a homework query; there are so many ways of making yourself a better husband if you want to.
Let a normal course of a day run through for your wife where she has the liberty to watch TV or play music. She has the right to cater to her mental needs during isolation.
Tip 4: Know that demanding pin drop silence at home is not justifiable
This is a lockdown. There’s absolutely NO place where the kids can be taken to for a while. The house needs to run and cater to your food requirements. If the vacuum/blender/baby noises bother you, put on your headphones.
Tip 5: Don't have unrealistic expectations
Especially from toddlers. They WILL be noisy; they WILL barge into your virtual meetings. Everyone understands that in this unprecedented situation. So if little munna (infant) does barge in, let him sit on your lap, stare at your colleagues on the screen and be a part of your meeting.
In a few days, he might just not find the idea so novel and stop bothering you! If you lower your expectations from your toddler, you'll feel less frustrated. Acceptance of reality is KEY.
Tip 6: Don’t expect a five course meals 3 times a day.
Gentle reminder that your wife is running a home, not a restaurant.
Tip 7: Remember it takes two to maintain a healthy environment
Instead of being the usual grumpy you, try to be more pleasant. Say a few loving words to your wife, stop for a hug. In these stressful times, your effort to be softhearted will not just help her, it’ll help you too.
Tip 8: Learn how to function around the kitchen
Learn how to make a couple of dishes so that in the post corona life, you can prove that you’re not a baby, stuck in a grown man’s body.
This is the universe giving you the chance to be a better human being who is pro gender equality. Seize the opportunity and make up for damages.
Tip 9: Set up an ergonomic working space for yourself to avoid back, neck and shoulder pains
Take breaks, stand up and stretch religiously. Plus, if god forbid your back starts to ache, rubbing balm on it will just be an added chore on your wife's seemingly unending to-do list.
Tip 10: Come home from 'work from home' at a sane time.
Be conscious of it because it's easy to 'stay at work' when you don't have to make a physical transition to get home. Go back to your family and try to mitigate the stress with love and bonding.
Have a good work week ahead!
Lecturer turned blogger, Mahvish Ahmed is a mama in boots, trotting through Europe, fighting the rain, catching trams and sipping warm coffee if/when her toddler naps. Find her on Instagram here.