Housewife- Who "does nothing all day"---- Does she really?

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  It’s 7:30 PM and you have had a long and tiring day at work.  All that you look forward to is a steaming hot cup of ginger tea. The tea is indeed given to you by your mother/wife. Wait no ginger in your tea! You are told that your mother/wife was hard-pressed for time and therefore, you are irritated (if not angry).  After a hard day’s work at office all you wanted was a humble ginger tea and that also was not given!  What does she do in the house all day, anyway!  Sounds familiar?


It’s 5:30 AM and the alarm goes off. Instead of pressing the snooze button, she (yes the very same woman who was unable to give you ginger tea) promptly gets up and heads straight to the kitchen to prepare the lunch for you and the kids. By the time you and the kids head off to the office and school, respectively, it’s already 8:30 and she has not even had a cup of tea. The rest of the day goes in a daze of doing the laundry, picking up the children from school and then dropping them off to their soccer / dance/ piano/ ballet classes (picking them up again from the classes. Pheww!), cleaning the house, feeding the children, helping them in their homework, cooking dinner.  And then you arrive in the evening wanting your ginger tea.

Homemakers or housewives have always been considered as “doing nothing the whole day”.  This mindset is not restricted to just one society. It is found across all societies regardless of the part of the world.  Being a house-wife in modern times is often looked down upon. After all, a woman is considered “modern” only if she has a career of her own.   It is ironic that in a world full of choices, a choice to get married and stay at home is looked down upon and ridiculed. Such a choice is considered regressive and a step backward in the women’s empowerment movement.

 My generation   was brought up to believe that women need to prove their worth in the man’s world. The only way one can do it is to have a high flying career.  If you do not aspire to have a career (not just any career, a career that establishes you as a “Power Woman”), all other qualities that a woman may possess, are over-shadowed by the “lack” of a career.

 Unfortunately we live in a society that views everything in terms of its “exchange value”. The more the exchange value, the more successful the individual is. It is, therefore seen as an irrational decision to opt for something that is way below the exchange value ladder because the person is deriving satisfaction doing that.   If their daily chores of cleaning, cooking or raising their children were taken into account by the National accounts of any country, we would see that a homemaker can give a CEO of a company a run for his/ her money. 

  As an extension of this, women who stay home are viewed as old-fashioned and an economic burden to society, i.e. someone who has no ambition or drive to do anything with her life. It is extremely disheartening to note that homemakers are not just seen as an economic “burden” but as someone who are not as intelligent as the people around them expect to be. If she was intelligent she would have been having a career not just sitting at home and “doing nothing” (Oh the most abominable phrase again).  It is extremely demeaning to label persons as less intelligent just because her choices do not conform to the exiting social norms.    This is such a prevalent attitude that an even a housewife while describing herself   says “I’m just a housewife”.  This “just” encapsulates everything that’s wrong with the way we view things.

As a child I always wanted to be my mother when I grew up. She was home when I went off to school and when I came back.  I studied in school and my father went to office, whereas my mother was at home “resting and relaxing”. The realization of how much hard work goes in being a homemaker dawned upon me when I was in Nepal for two years, staying alone and running a home for the first time. I felt like a housewife minus the husband and kids.  I got up at 6 AM and never went to sleep before 11 PM.  Give me a complex project proposal to write any time of the day. It really a cakewalk in front of all the household chores.

 A housewife is much more than a wife and a mother.  She is an individual capable of knowing what choices to make in life. The least the rest of the world could do is respect that. Making a home and efficiently running it requires as much patience as a job. Try doing that just once and you’ll forget to add the word “just” before a house-wife. 



thumbs up

True...housewives job goes unacknowledged till the day its not done!

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