A modern miracle wrapped in a migraine

May 26, 2024

A modern miracle wrapped in a migraine


orking from home is a modern miracle wrapped in a migraine. For Pakistani women, it’s a juggling act that rivals a circus show — minus the applause and with more unsolicited advice.

As a remote-working mother, I’ve discovered that managing work, family and personal sanity requires the skill of a ninja and the patience of a saint. Spoiler alert: I am neither.

The day starts with the alarm blaring at 6:30 am; not that it’s needed. By that time, my younger child is usually jumping on my bed (and head), asking for a breakfast. Most husbands are conveniently and blissfully unaware of the impending chaos.

Breakfast is a mix of burnt toast, spilled milk and negotiating over who gets the last banana. As I sip my tea, which is always either too hot or stone cold, I mentally prepare for the double shift ahead: office work and household management.

With the kids fed, it’s time to tackle my emails and WhatsApp messages. I settle down at the dining table, which doubles as my office, and log into my first Zoom meeting. Just as I begin to present my report, my five-year-old bursts into the room, wearing nothing but his superhero cape, loudly announcing his need to pee.

Mute button, my saviour. I give him a stern look that translates to “If you don’t leave now, I will sell your toys.” He leaves me to return to my colleagues, who are thankfully amused rather than annoyed. If only they knew the full extent of the circus happening just off-camera.

Lunch is another adventure. The kids want pizza, but I insist on something healthy. After a 20-minute debate, we settle on home-cooked daal and parathas, with a side of nuggets to keep the peace.

As I juggle making sulky daal while responding to work messages, I marvel at my ability to multitask.

As a remote-working mother, I’ve discovered that managing work, family and personal sanity requires the skill of a ninja and the patience of a saint. Spoiler alert: I am neither.

Post-lunch, the kids are supposedly catching up on summer reading list. In reality, they’re probably watching YouTube videos on how to make slime. I am in a conference call, trying to sound professional while also acting as a referee in the ongoing sibling rivalry.

The highlight of my afternoon is when my mother calls, offering unsolicited advice on everything from child-rearing to what I should cook for dinner. “Why don’t you make some biryani? It’s so easy,” she says. Easy for her, maybe. For me, it’s another mountain to climb.

As the sun sets, my work day is far from over. Now comes the challenge of cooking dinner and making sure everyone is bathed and in bed at a reasonable hour.

By the time the kids are asleep, I’m ready to collapse. But there are still endless deadlines to meet. I plop down on the couch, laptop in hand, while I contemplate watching a movie instead. But with what energy? I settle for scrolling through social media, envying friends who post pictures of serene home offices and kids who seem like they’ve stepped out of a parenting magazine.

As I finally crawl into bed, I reflect on the day. It has been chaotic, messy and exhausting, but also filled with love, laughter and a sense of accomplishment. Remote-working as a Pakistani woman is a never-ending juggling act, but it’s also a reminder that we are capable of incredible things — even if it feels like we’re constantly on the brink of disaster.

So, here’s to all the remote-working mothers out there. We may not always have it together, but we sure give it our all. And that, my friends, is worth celebrating.

The writer is the head of content at a communications agency

A modern miracle wrapped in a migraine