Before marriage, I used to wake up at 9 am, and get to work. As mine was working from home most of the time someone would serve me breakfast and lunch. By 7 pm or so I would wrap up my work and spend time with my family. That is what a typical day in my life looked like for a long period. I never paid attention to the house chores. I guess I wasn’t even interested in it.
Post-marriage, this attitude took a toll on me. I found there are so many big and small works to do and I had absolutely no idea how to manage time and balance both my work and personal life.
Dear girls, if you are getting married or thinking to live away from your family, don’t be like me.
Here’s a thing,
change starts when you accept your mistake.
My mistakes were I was too lazy to do laundry, fold clothes, cook, and many such things. Cooking and cleaning are basic life skills and one needs to have a proper grasp of them.
As a newly married woman, in-laws notice every small behavior. Thankfully I am lucky to have a husband who backed me up every single time. initial days were very tough for me and during that learning period, I fell and rose several times. Slowly I developed a routine and understood how to automate tasks.
A happy home starts with a happy mind.
And that happiness cannot be an outside source. Once we have a positive mindset, it helps us to achieve our goals with much ease. It starts with a small step. I stopped considering daily household work as chores. Rather I told myself “ this is my house, I will make it our home, this is our bedroom and hence I will keep it neat and tidy”. This mindset helped me to enjoy tasks.
There are certain trigger elements that define how the day will go for me-
• A clean kitchen
• Meal prepping
• Fresh folded clothes
Every night before I sleep, I clean the kitchen and prepare my veggies for my husband’s lunch and our breakfast. This small step energizes me in the morning like a good cup of coffee.
I tend to wake up before 7 am. On days I don’t manage to wake up early, I don’t worry as everything has been prepared the night before.
Worrying fogs our minds from taking practical decisions.
Once I am out of my bed I shower immediately. Wearing a fresh set of clothes is like armor to fight against procrastination.
Since my husband leaves for the office at 9 am, I start with cooking his lunch and our morning breakfast. We distribute tasks between us. If I am preparing his food, he will make the bed or do the morning puja. In this way, I save myself from the pressure of doing everything alone.
Once he leaves for work, I sit with my in-laws to have my first cup of tea or milk. We go through our daily schedules and the things we need to buy. Or just read a newspaper with my father-in-law. During my initial days, I used to listen to my mother-in-law. She ran this home for years and she knows what her sons and husband like or dislike. this bonded me with her and gave me information about the rest of the family members.
By 10.30 I excuse myself and get to my work. Since I am freelancing, maintaining a healthy boundary between work and life has become easier for me. I work till 2 pm without any distractions.
At 2 pm I start preparing for family lunch and serve food. This time I call my parents and husband to know how their day is going on. I avoid indulging in long conversations during lunch hours.
Post lunch period is reserved for laundry or tidying up rooms. While doing housework I turn on podcasts or audiobooks which entertain me along the way. I make sure to take 1hr for myself to unwind, I read books or watch an episode on Netflix or just take a power nap.
By 4.30 pm I get back to work and continue till my husband comes home, which is usually around 8 PM. I make sure that we talk solely with other for 30mins or so and enjoy each other’s companionship. During this time, we stay away from phones or distractions.
Then we join the rest of the family and continue our chatting session. It's very important to carve out privacy yet maintain a cordial relationship with the family. As much as he is my husband, he is also their son. Even during darker mood days, I sit with my in-laws. Maybe I won’t enjoy talking but listening to others stops me from ruminating.
By 9.30 pm I prepare dinner along with my mother-in-law and have our food. I have found over time I enjoy feeding people. This helped in knowing each member on a deeper level and developing a healthy relationship with mother in law.
Late-night walks are something that I look forward to. Since I live in a new city, walking helps me find new lanes and know other neighbors too.
Before sleeping I like to have a glass of haldi dudh and do my skincare and clean the kitchen and prepare for the next day. Some nights I do journalling or just call up my parents to ease my mind and keep anxiety in the past.
In the end, as much as I want to take care of my new family I want to keep my sanity and peace of mind in check. thus I practice Shaolin's principle of calmness.
lack of inner calmness makes us predictable and vulnerable to people's judgment.