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In a gathering of family friends, a highly qualified professional when asked about his wife’s profession, ‘She does nothing. She is only a housewife’’, he replied with a smirk.
Mother-in-law gloats in front of her relatives, ‘My elder daughter-in-law is a doctor and the other one is a professor.’ And what about your younger daughter-in-law? ‘She only handles the chores at home’, Saas Sahiba replied, pulling a long, gloomy face.
‘Both my daughters are very competent and doing wonders in their academics. But my youngest daughter is very dull. She stays at home and helps me out.’’
These are bigoted statements that one frequently hears in today’s world. Have we ever bothered to ponder upon the phrases “only housewife”, “only handles chores at home”, and “only stays at home”? Let me unfold this “only” and have a glimpse of the daily routine of this housewife.
1. The Morning Schedule:
She is up and about early in the morning as everyone has to go on to their respective jobs and she has to make them ready. Socks? Ironed uniform? Breakfast? Lunchbox? Bottle? Hairbrush? There is panic at every corner of the house and she runs to and fro to make both ends meet.
2. The Cleaning Routine:
When everyone leaves, she cleans up the mess left behind. “Clean up” is a broader term. Let me unlock this “clean up”. Bed covers that are not on the bed, cushions, and pillows that are on the floor everywhere, towels on the bed, clothes that are thrown around carelessly, overflowing dustbins in every room’s corner. She places them in their right places, cleans the house and makes it spotless.
After every 2-3 days, she washes a heap of clothes, irons them and hangs them in the respective wardrobes. It doesn’t end here, she makes washbasin and your toilet shine as well.
3. Handling The Kitchen:
She washes all the dishes, cleans the stove and wipes the mess on shelves. Meanwhile, she has her eye on the clock because she knows lunch should be ready before the hungry lot arrives. In summer, she perspires but tolerates the heat in the kitchen and cooks with devotion nonetheless.
4. The Other Half Of The Day Is Another Challenge:
The other half of the day comes around when the family gathers at home after their outdoor ventures. There is chaos once again and nobody even cares to put their stuff in their respective places. On the lunch table someone doesn’t like curry, so she rushes and makes noodles or fries for them immediately. After replenishing their bellies, everyone goes to their beds with their laptops, cell phones, and naps.
5. When The Evening Comes Around:
Time for the evening tea, homework, even extra burden if guests come to visit because she has to cater. She prepares dinner while continuously washing utensils which keep on piling up in the sink.
Despite all this, everyone is so ungrateful and tell such women, straight away, “You were free at home, why are you so tired?”
Reminders of bills, seasonal changes and your requirements, family events, she carries out every housework with efficiency. The next day the same vicious circle ensues. Even in her sujood, she has thoughts about the leftover housework on her mind.
In spite of this mental and physical exertion, she is considered as old fashioned and an economic burden to the society. It’s not a stigma that she is not a renowned doctor, highly-paid professor, researcher, an engineer or a celebrity. She is part of the family unit and she knits the family together.
People whine about their work’s load and stress all day long and remark, “You know nothing about stress or the real world. You remain confined to home“. She cannot ventilate her frustration because, in other people’s books, she is always relaxed and doing great at home. It’s difficult to tackle things outside one’s comfort zone but to set things inside it is also not a piece of cake. The aim is not to portray her as a poor soul rather to acknowledge her multitasking skills and her daily grind.
Respect your mothers, sisters, wives and daughters who are not working professionals but they choose to stay at home. Please don’t suffocate them with your allegations because believe me, they are equally equipped for their job as you are. It’s not about being paid, it’s about being valued.