'I wish a wish,
A wish be mine
That every man shalt worship thy own like divine.'
Traditionally, an ideal woman has always been associated with quiet wisdom, immense maturity, unconditional love and sacrifice. A woman who will inspire and change her man, her kids and her family for the better! She has always been considered as the bed-rock of her family, the foundation stone. A woman whose gaze is always down, and built to take in every challenge without a complaint or a murmur. Quite a tall expectation and an honorable task, indeed! But, there’s a catch!
'Catch em’ young,
Treat em’ rough,
Tell em’ nothing'
(Sung by Hank Penny)
The ideal woman so pure and divine that is most sought after by many a suitor. Once caught though, treated rough and given no appreciation. And this has been the way it has continued for generations after another! Women who bore the brunt, responsibility and the burden alone with a smile on their face!
To understand rather than to be understood;
To love, rather than be loved.
(The Prayer of St.Francis)
And, so started the ongoing training from the day she was born! Tirelessly groomed to be that highest ideal of a woman…that unrealistically picture perfect image of a silent Domestic Goddess! Much like a gruesomely photo-shopped version of her true self! Or in lay terms, the naive, sacrificing and obedient house-wife!
“Oh boys will be boys!” chuckled the society in delight. “Of what use is manhood indeed, if it isn’t loud and rambunctious, lazy, pampered and spoilt like royalty, predatory and wildly adventurous, and where pride, prejudice and anger are his most treasured jewels in the crown. It’s a man’s world, after all”, they concluded, quickly dismissing the fairer gender. But, thrusting right into her lap, her many roles, duties and responsibilities while stripping her completely off her basic rights. Not forgetting to remind her of her only true purpose in life and this is to serve her man and her man alone.
But, they conveniently forget that girl trapped inside the woman. A girl who longs to jump out, and join in all the careless fun and play! A girl who hides behind that idyllic mask, but is refreshingly flawed, emotionally vulnerable and crying out to be heard, understood, loved and appreciated! A woman who would like to be a domestic goddess not merely by paying lip-service but also be treated rightfully as the queen of her home!
A woman who is just as intellectual, capable and ambitious for herself and the family like her man! A woman who is simply tired of the prejudices, misconceptions, true lies and stigma that comes with being a house-wife by both her own family and the society at large!
Questions often flashed at homemakers
“What a convenient life you live! Living off your husband’s earning and relaxing at home.”
If only it were as rosy as it actually seems! Clearly, its been a while since you haven’t taken charge of a home and know what it is like to deal with the various departments (kids’ affairs, kitchen, bathrooms, laundry etc). Or you probably have someone who does all the dirty work for you.
A ‘mere house-wife’, is in reality, a Home Manager ..a Domestic Goddess. And there are no two ways about that fact. With that kind of power, comes a huge responsibility that isn’t for the faint-hearted. It takes a certain kind of nerve and gut to get down, raw and dirty, be autonomous and in charge, without any payment or reward in return. This is not a convenient life, my friend but a tough, tough one!
“What a hopelessly aimless, dull and drab existence you must be living”.
“What do you do all day? Don’t you get bored?”
This is the other extreme, painting a grey picture of a housewife. Some of the successful and efficient homemakers are in fact extremely intelligent, focused and a very colorful, spirited lot. While some are in the game by destiny and some by choice, the successful ones are those who find a genius way to beat the blues, boredom and tedium that comes with the routine house-work.
Boredom sparks creativity and no one knows this better than a seasoned house-wife. They bring a certain enthusiasm, vigor and spunk to their home, performing varied home experiments and discovering something new everyday. Finding joy in the simple, every day moments and having enough time to smell the roses while taking a hike outdoors is stuff that many dream of but few actually get to revel in that sort of luxury. Tackling and conquering boredom and tedium is an art that very few have mastered. Barring a few Sadhus and some super genius Domestic Goddesses that is!
“Don’t you miss going out to work?”
Hello! We are working, just as much or perhaps, more than you. Enough said!
And here’s the classic husband’s eternal dilemma – “Don’t you have the whole day to yourself to complete all the work?”
Oh yes, indeed, we do, my darling! But only, if it were that simple, Babe! From dealing with kid’s tantrums while performing the Taekwondo with the knives and vegetables alongside, to juggling with the kid’s homework to putting a zillion unimportant paraphernalia back in their place, from being every one’s favorite punching bag and being emotionally exhausted to lying sore in bed, while wondering at the back of our minds if the iron box has been unplugged.
It’s a figurative obstacle race we run everyday, albeit in the small confines of our homes. And it’s not easy playing the virtuous martyr all day, round the clock, year after year.
(This is a tribute to all the wonderful homemakers who are making a priceless contribution and an immense sacrifice, for the sake of the happiness and good health of their respective families. And to all those wonderful husbands who truly see, understand and appreciate the value and beauty of these Domestic Goddesses, we commend you. And for those blissfully ignorant husbands, we urge you get into the shoes of your better half today, right now and feel for yourself where it pinches her most. To the society at large, there is more that meets the eye when it comes to being ‘just a house-wife’. So, stop being judgmental!)
(This post was originally published at Women's Web - http://www.womensweb.in/2016/07/a-mere-housewife/)