I have been deeply puzzled by what keeps my women-friends so very busy all the time. Irrespective of whether it’s a Wednesday afternoon, a Friday morning, or a Sunday evening, IF she is a mom, she doesn’t have time to go for a movie, have that drink or catch up for coffee. Having a rather research-y bent of mind, I studied a random sample of mothers to understand the phenomenon. Note that I have included all types of mothers in my study; those who are scaling the corporate ladder, those who work flexible hours, and those who are full-time mommies; mothers with one, two, even three children; moms with toddlers and moms with teenagers; those with husbands that actively co-parent and others who are single mothers; young moms and ‘mature’ moms. I have also controlled for variables such income levels, community, religion, nail-varnish preferences (nude/ French/Pink/Goth) and stance on GST (for/against/confused). With tremendous thoroughness, I tracked the doings of this sample of mothers. I present to you, data from a typical week. To simplify the reporting, I have generalized the subject as the ‘Mother’ and the children to ‘Child 1’ and ‘Child 2’.
- Morning: Mother has to provide a packed lunch, a small snack, and a treat, but since Child 1 and Child 2’s school has a strict NO JUNK FOOD policy, the food needs to be without refined flour or sugar or taste. Mother has been in the kitchen since 5:30 AM. The children miss their bus, so Mother drives.
- Afternoon: Child 2’s class-teacher calls. Child 2 has stomach pains. Can she please come get him?
- Evening: Child 2 starts throwing up and needs to be escorted the doctor. A harrowing night leading to eventual recovery.
- Morning: Child 1 has a basketball tournament that she is practicing for. Needs to be at the court at 6:00 AM. Mother gets behind the wheel.
- Afternoon: Child 2 needs to be ferried to Robotics camp along with a bunch of his carpool friends. It is Mother’s turn to play chauffeur.
- Evening: From Robotics, Child 2 heads for Painting classes, but before that, his friends need to be dropped off home. Mother waits while Child 2 learns how to paint an apple co-mingling with bananas and grapes.
- Morning: Child 1 has a starring role in the upcoming school concert. Mother makes her way hurriedly to the costume rentals shop. Child 1 will play a tree.
- Afternoon: Child 2 has so far displayed no sporting tendencies. Mother chaperones him to swimming camp every Wednesday in the fond hope.
- Evening: Child 1 has buck teeth. The highly recommended orthodontist is half-way across town. Mother battles evening traffic for 83 minutes (one-way).
- Morning: Child 1 has forgotten her Physics homework at home and has the hysterics. Mother needs to go into work today. She takes a 42 minutes detour.
- Afternoon: Child 2’s Moral Sciences teacher schedules an emergency Parents Teachers Meeting to discuss his lack of application in the subject, and tendency to stab at other children with sharp objects.
- Evening: Child 1 is learning to the play the violin. Mother waits in the car, polishing her halo.
- Morning: Child 2 has a Math Olympiad. The venue is so far, it might as well be in the neighbouring state. Before leaving, all sharp objects need to be confiscated.
- Afternoon: Child 1 goes for Karate every Friday. The Karate master is a stickler for punctuality. Child 1 breaks down (here we go again) because Mother and Child 1 are late.
- Evening: Mother is evaluating enrolling Child 2 in speech and drama classes, so she pays a visit to the teacher to ‘discuss’.
- Morning: The household is up at 5:00 AM. Child 1 has gymnastics followed by ballet. Child 2 has cricket coaching.
- Afternoon: Child 1 has a family day that the school parents have organized (over Whatsapp). Child 2 needs to be dropped off at a play date. Before leaving, all sharp objects need to be confiscated.
- Evening: Child 2 is preparing to exhibit at the school’s science fair. The material for building a functioning roller coaster is to be sourced. Mother wishes they could enter Child 2 as Exhibit A.
- Morning: Family brunch. Mother drives.
- Afternoon: Child 1 has a birthday party invite. Mother goes too because it’s a Masterchef themed party that calls for parent-child teams.
- Evening 2: At 9:30 PM, Child 1 realizes a Geography project is due the next day for which 67.2 kgs of dry ice is required. Hysterics follow. Mother goes looking.
My conclusions at the end of the study:
- As Mother, you will spend 99.9% of all waking hours in a car
- Mother has the patience of saints and the stamina of Muhammad Ali
Questions for further discussion
- Is the Nobel Prize enough for Mother?