After a week’s stay in the hospital, my sister was brought home. She was shocked at the mayhem that was created in her absence. The hall was littered with newspapers and magazines. The beds had clothes scattered all over. The kitchen was dirty, in short nothing was in place. Her sulky countenance signaled she was better off at the hospital.
I helped her to bed. She held my hand, with tears in her eyes she emotionally said, “My spic and span home was my strength. I derived immense pleasure out of it, look at the mess it is in today.” “You are responsible !!” I retorted. I was waiting for this opportunity for long, so I immediately grabbed it. “The things that hurt us the most, teach us the greatest lessons in life,” I said. She was flabbergasted and even before she could retrieve from the shock her tears now started gushing. “Yes, it’s you!!” I continued. “Let me recapitulate. In the past, I have explained to you umpteen times you are not a superwoman, what you are doing is incorrect, but you always unheeded my words. You are always under the impression that only you can do meticulous work and you never like the way others do. You always do everything all by yourself and do not prefer the participation of anyone else. Your parents-in-law, are not all that old and can help you with your daily chores. Your mother-in-law would have enjoyed cutting vegetables, folding clothes, and doing other minor jobs, but you never allowed her to do so, though she offered help several times. Had you allowed her, she would have kept herself occupied in a constructive way, she would have felt happy about being involved, and most important she would have been healthy. With nothing to do, she is just eating and sleeping and has developed joint pains. You could have assigned the dropping and picking of kids from the nearby bus stop to your father-in-law. He would finish his walk and also derive the happiness of spending time with his grandchildren, but you are in the process of making him a sluggard. Your husband doesn’t even know where the sugar bottle is kept in the kitchen, ridiculous!! Your kids cannot manage anything on their own because you trained them like that. Teach your daughter economic independence so that in the future she can have a partner, not a master. Train your son to do little household work so that he can get a partner, not a servant.”
“You think it is great to be a Super Woman to attend to everyone’s needs, whether they need it or not? To do multitasking and not giving time for yourself. You feel proud when the neighbors talk of you as a role model? This is your world, attending to people round the clock and making them parasites. They say, whatever God does is for our good. Your one-week hospitalization must now be an eye-opener for you. Wake up!! Let the members of your family do their own work. Assign tiny tasks to each member and involve all. I am not asking you to sit and watch, you be the team leader handling the major work but delegate work that they can do on their own. This way all will be engaged, they will be satisfied that they too contribute, kids will learn, all can be happy. In addition, you can get time for yourself, take care of your health, and pursue your hobbies too.”
Spoon feeding is harmful. Children, in some homes completely depend on their parents. They take parents for granted and relax that everything will be tailor-made for them. Parents too need to be blamed for this. They forget how they fended for themselves when they were young. Under the garb of modernization, they think children need to be observed 24X7. Unless and until children get the space, how will they grow? Do we need to suffocate them with our constant care? If they make mistakes, it’s okay………..because that’s how they will learn. It is not what we do for our children, but what we have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.
Women like my sister are still present in certain homes. They think they are doing humanitarian service by showering blind love upon their family. Love should be peerless but practical. A woman needs to equip her family members in such a way that they should be able to manage on their own even in her absence. Children must be tuned in such a way that once they step out of their homes, they must be able to handle situations, so skillfully that parents need not get anxious about what they would do in a crisis. Every Indian woman enjoys looking after her family. It is her priority, no doubt about that. However, in the process, she must not stretch it beyond her capacity. She must bear in mind, “If we give a man a fish, we feed him for a day. If we teach a man to fish, we feed him for a lifetime.”