28 March 2020
Nov 21, 2019by Sajda Mohamed –
The Dark Side of Equality: Thoughts of a Married Working Mom in Sudan
My timeline on social media is filled with posts from women writing about their struggles to find balance in their lives. They are often stressed and anxious trying to be perfect in all aspects. Working moms feel guilty about leaving their children and ask for ways to make their house chores easier, while stay at home moms feel like they are missing out and the world outside is a lot more interesting.
Gender discrimination against women seems to be decreasing on the surface, with more prominent women in leading positions around the world. However, deep down the pressure intensifies for women to fulfil their roles as daughters, wives, and mothers, in addition to being successful, independent leaders.
“Society keeps bullying women from all directions.”
Society keeps bullying women from all directions. After tying the knot and enjoying the wedding haze, we are haunted by a barrage of comments on how we wasted our lives and our parents’ resources studying five years in medical school just to end up getting married. How dare we push aside this century’s golden rule that all women should be strong and independent? However, if a woman dares to want more than being a stay at home trophy wife, she is expected to run a proper respectable business, earn good amount of money keep the house tidy and clean, have everyone in the house (sometimes guests too) properly fed at all times with well-balanced home cooked meals, ensure the happiness of her husband, get pregnant, work while being pregnant, deliver healthy beautiful babies, and fake smile for 40 days as she is supposedly resting after conducting the most critical life survival process in the world – but really can’t get any rest due to guests showing up from early in the morning till late at night.
In addition, somehow she should manage to have her hair, henna, nail polish in shape at all times – so the hubby does not develop wandering eyes. Most importantly, she should keep a clean socialisation profile. This often leaves women feeling frustrated and exhausted by directing much of their physical and mental energy towards achieving excellence at work, home, marriage and social life with little to no time for ourselves, which can be extremely dangerous resulting in resentment, despair and even depression.
As a married woman for almost six years and a mother of a beautiful 3-year-old girl, I must say that I am profoundly proud of myself for achieving inner peace and comfort by simply following “the sometimes” rule. Sometimes, my house is super clean and sometimes, it’s not. Sometimes, we have a full fridge with all kinds of food and sometimes, we barely remember to get water. Sometimes, I have henna but most times I do not. I’m happy for the times I was working professionally and also happy for the time I took off to care for my newborn baby. I have cut back on many irrelevant social events and ensure that I always have a “me time” to re-energise, which helps me tremendously to shower my husband and daughter with love and fill our house with happiness.
“So for all the wonder women out there pressured by society to be and do everything, don’t let them. Walk at your own pace.“
Society keeps pushing women to become strong and independent only if we can guarantee not to fall short on our house chores or social life. So for all the wonder women out there pressured by society to be and do everything, don’t let them. Walk at your own pace. When you are tired, leave the house messy. What’s the worst that could happen? Have henna when you feel like looking extra glamorous – not because you are afraid of what the in-laws or other people would say, but do it for you. Cook a meal for the family with the ingredients of love, respect and compassion not because you have to. Work because you want to grow and develop both academically and professionally. Enjoy those moments with your newborns and never feel like everyone else is achieving greatness while you are stuck changing stinky diapers. Life sometimes reveals its true magic from those tiny little moments like a baby’s tiny little hand wrapped around your finger or your first cup of coffee in the new job. Either way, enjoy the ride and just be you!
Sajda Mohamed El-Fatih is a 27-year-old graduate of the faculty of Pharmacy with Msc in Public and tropical health from the University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) in Sudan. She currently works with children teaching them soft skills in addition to major life concepts such as diversity, discrimination, justice and equality. She is interested in all things children, advocating for their rights and hopes to eliminate basic violations of children’s rights.
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