When we were all kids, on our first interaction with any stranger often we have been asked this question “what does your dad do?” or “where does your dad work?” and after you answer the one that always follows is “does your mom work, or is she a housewife?”
I have been asked this question a lot of times and I would always answer saying “she is a housewife”. Today, when i look back at that time, my answer kind of upsets me as much as the structure of that question does. I strongly feel like running back to that time and replacing it with what it should have been, ” Yes! my mom works, she is a housewife.”
Housewives have been the most underrated and unapologetically considered to be old-fashioned economic burden. We have always been ignoring household chores like cleaning, maintenance and gardening because surprisingly when you look around everything is already done. That is definitely a luxury to have!
Inspite of all this a housewife’s cabin is always filled with files labelled ‘URGENT’ all over them. A housewife’s cabin? you would apparently laugh and joke about this but the housewife’s cabin is the smallest one in the corner made of tinted black glass and no one ever finds out what happens inside!
It dampens my spirit to see how mistakened people are while defining this intangible service and regard it as one’s inability to dream big for herself and contribute towards society and forget that they are a housewife’s arms in which society was born, nurtured and grown. In fact, homemaking is the industry which is responsible for generating all the human capital we have today.
Those at the back would argue saying that it is part of a woman’s duty to take care and manage her household. Now that we have decided to go down that orthodox, rigid, ignorant lane of thoughts and stick to the pre-told, outdated gender roles then it is also a man’s duty to win bread for his house but I dont see his efforts being ignored after performing it. On the contrary he enjoys acknowledgement both in form of a salary and status.
39% of the population of India, employed in ‘paid and visible’ jobs looks forward to hot cooked food and tidy rooms after they return home from work every evening. Unfortunately, a housewife is a CEO of a company in which everyone is paid and praised except her. I am not saying that there should be salary for every housewife, we cannot even do that because, home making is not a 9 to 5 job it is a ‘when you open your eyes’ to ‘when you close your eyes job’.
Although if you were to calculate the worth of household chores in monetary terms the numbers will leave you confounded! An average homemaking job includes approximately 18 hours of child care and 45 hours of household work each week, that constitutes up-to 11 trillion US dollars worth unpaid work globally, providing for better health, nourishment and developed human resource. The US department of commerce’s bureau for economic analysis said that if we equate the value of the housework done with the market price of the services that it is replaceable with it will add 3.8 trillion dollars to the economy of the United States with the GDP being 26% higher.
Just because nobody is paying for it does not mean it does not have an economic value. Obviously we cannot prescribe the value of the prodigious work they have been doing but the least we can do is to recognize their work and appreciate it.
So the next time you see a mommy, a sister or a friend who has been busy all this while building your house and your life, hug her and tell her that she has done such an awesome job and she is your super woman! Trust me it takes a lot to be “just” a housewife!
P.S. looking forward to a day where i can write a more positive post about this and not only use the proverb her but also use him.