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As I travel back home from office, like every other Indian woman, I make a mental list of all work to be done for the evening , and the next two days. So before reaching home, I need to purchase haldi, washing soap and a few vegetables to last till the weekend. Then I had to pick my son from day care, which was thankfully in the same complex as ours, and them send him off to play. Before he would return, I have to cook dinner because, after he returns, I have to help him with the homework and studies . But then, every mother does all this, what is so special?
It's only that, I have nothing else to look forward to, it's just the homework, dinner, a little cartoon and then off to sleep. The morning routine is same too, pack him off to school, cook, and go to work myself. Because it's always just the two of us, me and my son. Alone, in a big city, in a two bedroom flat.
And no, it's not like I am divorced or separated, I am supposed to be a happily married woman, I have a husband. But then he doesn't stay with me, he works abroad.
And thanks to his job profile, he is still based in India, but then he has to travel a lot and stay in different countries, for months. Me and my kid did travel initially, but then after my son started school, we had to finally settle down in one place, and both of us agreed upon Mumbai.
Two years down the line, his travelling started again and this led to constant fights between us. And with the lay offs and recession in IT, he decided to agree to some off shore offers. Short ones, 8 months, 1 year...This has been going on for some years now.
So here I am, all alone for most of the time, taking care of my son's everyday needs. I need to manage almost everything myself, his homework, projects, hobby classes, tuitions, health issues, school issues, open days... He will be a teenager soon, I wish his father is around, he spends more time with his son, takes interest in his studies, shares my chores...Is paying school fees and providing food and shelter the only duty of a husband?
I mean, I know every single parent does all this, and kudos to them. But I am not supposed to be a single mother, then why can't my son have both his parents with him all the time? Much as I try to reason with my husband, the response remains the same," it's for our future, for our son's higher studies, the market is pretty unpredictable, should I leave my job and sit at home? "
It's also true that in most households, women take care of their kids, husbands don't get much time. But then it's not about the kid alone...end of the day, I need my husband too. To share my little joys, my worries, office gossip, to go for late evening drives or occasional movies. After a long day, we all need someone to pamper us, take care of us, isn't that marriage all about? But he is never around when I happen to need him the most.
Now, I am kind of done with all these repeated arguments and I have accepted that how it is going to be for a few more years. A few months ago, I happened to mention to my husband on phone that I feel like a single parent and he got all emotional, convincing me that he is very much a responsible father and he would always be there for us.
But let me ask all other ladies who happen to be in my shoes as well, Aren't we all Single Mothers too?