As you open your eyes, a hot brimming mug of coffee, ironed clothes and a call for you to take your breakfast awaits you.
And as you doze off to sleep at night with a belly-full of food, wrapped in a warm blanket all ready to meet the next day head first.
A homemaker starts their day the earliest amongst the residents and ends it the last. They work non-stop, consistently, catering to the needs of the people all day long, day in and day out.
Homemaker or slave?
In a typical Indian family, mothers/wives are the homemakers with absolutely no help from the other members of the family. They are always supposed to put others’ needs before theirs and be at the beck and call of them. They are overworked immensely and yet their work is not recognised or respected. It is shrugged off by saying anyone can do this work. What they don’t realise is that no one can do it consistently throughout their life. And yet the mothers/wives do it.
Covid left them working with absolutely no help as little as they received from maids and servants. While we were busy binge watching and following all trends, they had to really push their limits to complete all house work.
Their work does not pay and so it is not considered important. They are often referred to as “jobless” while we see them overwork themselves day after day.
Here are some of the mocks they recieve from society-
● You are privileged to get married in our house.
● How will you know? You don’t even know the world outside.
● Don’t spend all your husband’s hard earned money on frivolous stuff.
● You stay at home all day long. You must be having so much free time.
● You wouldn’t know what’s it’s like to work hard all month long and receive the paycheck.
● You don’t have to do hard work, you are at home only all day.
Got no skill at all?
A homemaker is supposed to take care of the kids, do chores, look after in-laws and husband. If she doesn’t, she was not taught how to do it in her parents house. Her opinions are not considered important enough to be taken into account. Her experience and advices are not considered that important to be followed. But
she’s a teacher to her kids, an amazing cook, a caring daughter in-law and a supportive partner.
Got no ambition?
We have painted an image that a woman who has a job is successful and the one who stays at home isn’t. Being a good mother, wife is also an ambition. The woman who works outside and the woman who works in home both are successful. What differs is the choices they were given and decisions they made.
Many women have made the choice to stay at home because their family is that important for them. Empowerment is about having this very choice to make.
Even a working woman is sole homemaker at her house. Even with a job she is supposed to manage every single thing at home.
Spending husband’s money?
Women are considered shopaholics and spending on things that does not need to be bought. People remark they lived on their parents money and then husband’s. What people don’t realise is that they weren’t given the kind of environment and opportunities to grow. They were only expected to learn how to do chores and take care of family. If only one had encouraged them to go further, they might be at a different place right now.
Target of Jokes
Let’s be honest. We all have come across a joke where the mother/wife is the dominating and chatty one. Be it whatsapp forwards or a comedy show, these jokes crack up everyone.
But are they really funny? When one makes such jokes they are feeding to the internalised patriarchy. No woman is that vain let alone all. This only further increases the stereotype against homemakers making them feel unworthy.
We all know how much we will be struggling if we didn’t have them in our lives.
Sick days- a foreign concept
Homemakers are working round the clock all year long. Sick days just don’t exist. When they express how they feel, they are made to feel as if they are whiny and full with complaints.
A picture of a homemaker cooking in kitchen with an oxygen tank attached as she was covid positive blew the internet away few days back. The caption of the post read – a mother is never off duty.
Not only it romanticizes the oppression and outwardly expectations homemakers face but also somehow sends the message that a woman can be on her deathbed and still has to work as the men of the house simply cannot enter kitchen as its below them to do such work.
HOW YOU CAN BETTER THIS
A different and evolved mindset of society can make all the difference. We can achieve it by-
● Small gestures of gratitude really goes a long way. Even if it’s a small thank you, be sure to let them know that you see and appreciate what they are doing for you.
● Recognise when they are the butts of joke during family and social gatherings and retort back with a playful yet strong comment/sentence. The conversation will pass but those people will remember not to target the women who made us all that we are today.
● Sharing household work really goes a long way when it comes to this matter. Don’t let them take all the workload. Offer a hand whenever you can. It’s really the least we can do. The bar is so low for us.
● Encourage them to give time to their hobbies and interests. Even if it’s an hour a day, we all know how important it is to do what you like doing. Just because they are married now doesn’t change the person they were before they got married.
● Be sure to take care of them as much as they take care of you. While going for work in that street, remember to bring that ice-cream they love. It’s not about grand gestures but small daily gestures really will make their days so much better and bearable
● Be sure to let them know they cannot be all giving all the time without recieving anything in return.
Homemakers are not superwomen who can do all chores, be available all the time, lighten mood whenever it’s required, not fall sick, no mood swings, not have a day off and provide everyone with an encouraging and nurturing environment where they can grow. But since they have been doing this for as long as I can remember, it really makes me wonder if they really are superwomen.