“Oh… so you’re a homemaker… then you have it easy….you must have lots of free time.” A common statement faced by many of my homemaker friends especially in cities where the majority are working women. To add insult to this injury, some even go as far as suggest that a homemaker contributes nothing of value but only knows how to spend her husband’s money, thus depleting his financial resources! One can read people’s mind, the picture they paint in mind about homemakers is, they sleep all day, watch TV, play on internet, go for shopping, have kitty parties and somewhere in their conversations, knowingly or unknowingly the husbands and children also bring in these statements in the daily routine. Yes, now there are those “labor saving” devices -the food processors, microwaves, washing machines which makes people assume that homemaking is so easy -all at the click of a button. But what they don’t understand is then someone has to use these devices! Clothes gets washed but they don’t walk up to the clothesline and hang themselves, or get folded themselves after drying and walk up to the cupboards back ironed and all chak-a-chak. Refrigerator doesn’t get filled with favorites fruits and vegetables. Most of the times we forget or refuse to accept the efforts of the person behind keeping the home organized.
In today’s world we talk so much about women being independent, not dependent on husband’s money, having a career of her own to the extent that we have associated the term ‘successful’ only with women with a professional career. Some people feel being a homemaker is a lack of ambition. But ambition is not necessarily a virtue that needs to be solely linked to a career. Aspiring to become a better mother, a better cook or a better friend is also being ambitious. The competition really needs to be with you, not with anyone else. Are you a better person today than you were yesterday? That is ambition to me. I feel that nowadays housewives face so much criticism and are the butt of so many jokes that we as a collective whole have succeeded in making women feel guilty about their choices. In my opinion it is wrong to judge women for a choice that they’ve made, each for their own reasons. Perhaps, someone wanted to spend more time with their kids, perhaps someone didn’t like their job or perhaps they simply liked being a housewife. Who really has the right to look down on somebody else’s choices and assign a value to them?
Here are few suggestions for the stay at home mothers to help them keep away from the guilt inculcated by the people around them and make their lives more meaningful:
“Just” a Homemaker?
Stay at home mothers generally face this comment by family and friends that they have wasted their education. Eventually you also end up believing that there is no use of your education. In my opinion, a woman is so much more than her educational qualifications or a job – then why do we need to define her by those limiting factors? Just because a woman doesn’t “use” her degree, does it mean that she is wasting her education? For one thing, having an “education” has no connection to having a “degree”. How many of us are really working based on what degree we have? You are a beautiful wife, a wonderful mother and a great home maker only by virtue of your education. It has not gone waste.
Living off husband’s money
You may be using your husband’s money for now but it should be viewed at this angle: Without you he has to spend more on child-care, school transport and other associated costs besides receiving less quality babysitting and chauffeuring services from strangers compared to the same services provided by his wife. You dont have to fight over who will take a sick day from work when your child is ill or decide who will pick them up at daycare or whose parents will you call. Doesn’t it let your husband focus on his job. Just because you not being paid doesn’t mean you are not contributing!
Having No skills
Does being a homemaker mean that you aren’t using any of the skills that you’ve picked up? Of course not! Today, when you hear the term “transferable skills” thrown around when job-hunting, why can’t we apply the same logic to being a housewife? Any homemaker would tell you that running a household involves efficient management, organization, delegation, prioritization, planning and so much more! Also, I don’t think that if you become a homemaker, you’ll become dull and boring. For one thing, a homemaker need not necessarily stay locked up at home the entire day – you can still go out, meet friends, volunteer, join classes etc.
Ultimately, each person chooses to do what works best for them. Just because that choice doesn’t work for us, doesn’t make that choice an invalid one for someone else. And if we have no regrets and are happy with our choices, then why should we allow anybody else to tell us what should or should not make us happy? People are often unhappy because they try to fit their lives into someone else’s definition of happiness. I think it is time that each one of us define our own happiness and try to live a life in accordance with our definition. If meeting a deadline at work makes me happy, that is fine. If cooking a meal for my children makes me happy, that is fine too. No one has the right to tell me that cooking is worthless and that it should not make me happy or satisfied.
Am I a working women or Homemaker?
Yes I am a Homemaker & a Working Woman too, because, I am working on my Family Future….
I work 24 hours a day….
I am a “Mom”…
I am an alarm clock, a cook, a maid, a teacher, a nanny, a nurse, a taxi driver, a handyman, a security officer, a photographer, a counsellor and a comforter.
I don’t get holidays, sick pay or days off.
I work through the day and night.
I am on call all hours and get paid in hugs and kisses….!:-)
(The author is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Learning Arena, an e-learning company)