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Oh… so you’re a housewife… then you have it easy….you must have lots of free time.” To add insult to injury, some even go as far as suggest that a housewife contributes nothing of value but only knows how to spend her husband’s money, thus depleting his financial resources!

As per definition  housewife is a wife who manages a household while her husband earns the family income. Synonyms: homemaker, lady of the house, woman of the house. But you can read their mind-the picture they paint is: I’m sleeping all day, watching tv, playing on the internet, going for shopping trips, having parties. They must assume that some elves come along daily and do all my work!

Yes I stay in India so I don’t have to wash the dishes, sweep and swap, clean the litter, scrub the bathroom. Yes we are saved from rigours of domestic chores due to the other woman in our life the kaamwali bai, the maid.(But even she puts me last as often she comes home pretty late after the working woman-work is done as Mrs working woman asked me to help in the house as she had guest and I can make it out it’s not her sympathy or empathy towards Mrs Working woman that makes her stay but the green bucks that Mrs working woman often gives her to do her work. It another story that she enjoys working there for Mrs Working woman is so happy to see her and doesn’t push her to clean the corners or take out the carpet). Yes now there are those “labor saving” devices -the food processors, microwaves, washing machines which makes people assume that homemaking is soooo easy -all at the click of a button. But then someone has to use these devices! Clothes gets washed but they don’t walk up to the clothesline and hang themselves, or get folded themselves after drying and walk up to the cupboards back ironed and all chak-a-chak. Refrigerator doesn’t get filled with favorites fruits and vegetables, those homemade pasta and cake don’t get made themselves!

Is HouseWife Living off husband’s money is it true? I may be using my husband’s money for now but it should be viewed at this angle: Without me he has to spend more on child-care, school transport and other associated costs besides receiving less quality babysitting and chauffeuring services from strangers compared to the same services provided by his wife. We don’t have to fight over who will take a sick day from work when our child is ill or decide who will pick them up at daycare or whose parents will we call. We dont have to play rock paper scissors over who is going to make dinner or get dress ironed or run to the stationary shop to gte things for the project that is needed next day . Doesn’t it let my husband focus on his job. Just because we’re not being paid doesn’t mean we are not contributing! Economic Times wealth calculated the value of a homemaker work! (Click on image to enlarge)

What's the salary of a homemaker

What’s the salary of a homemaker

At-times it gets worse if the housewife was qualified and gave up her job. Most would immediately question the wisdom of ‘staying home doing nothing’ when the woman should be out there working in an office and make full use of her qualification and skills to contribute to the nation’s and herhouse economy. It’s not that we don’t want to but somehow economics didn’t work out. When we crunched the numbers, our gross incomes from two careers would have been high, but the cost of living was also considerable, especially when daycare was figured into the calculation.  I have to make a lot of personal sacrifices when I decided to let go of my career and become a housewife – to mention a few, our monthly pay cheque that let us be in control of our own finances and gives me financial independence, the daily social interaction I enjoyed at the workplace. I gave up our opportunities to fulfill my potential, to feel as if I am  contributing to society beyond wielding the credit card to keep the consumer culture humming.

Unlike generation ago where roles were clearly defined and housewife was either not expected to or did not  perform tasks such as pay bills or plan holiday or fill  husband’s tax returns. Today’s homemakers are expected to do all this and more. Right from coaching the kids after school to ferrying them around from one activity to the other to paying bills and getting his parents to the doctor, everything is this woman’s job. Often the scene is “ On his way out to go to work, he’ll (the husband) would just toss instructions into the air: ‘pay my mobile bill, ok?’ or ‘I heard about this great new restaurant, just check out the reviews online, my friend from Dubai is coming over and I have invited all our friends for a dinner. So arrange something nice. Not the regular dal, roti- what about some Italian food!”

It’s not that I don’t understand the pressures on working women. I do realize that managing a job a house and kids is a tough job. But I feel that they get a leeway which sadly we don’t. If there house is in not in order “You know she works” If they work on a project  You hear “You know she did it ..how great..how she manages everything so well”. But for us “Oh did you see the cupboard was not in order or yes her child was the winner in fancy dress as she is housewife and so she could make that corn dress”

Video on How Much Does a HouseWife Earn?


I do get tired and need rest like other working mothers as we are definitely not machines to tackle household chores and constantly fulfil wish and fancy of our households. 2011 US study by ForbesWoman and parenting website TheBump.com found that mothers who work outside the home feel significantly stressed and overwhelmed, but so do women who stay at home with their children. The study found that 92% of working moms and 89% of stay-at-home moms feel overwhelmed by work, home and parenting duties, with 84% of stay-at-home moms saying they don’t get a break when their partner returns from work and 50% saying they never get a break from parenting. Around 68% of stay-at-home moms admitted to feeling resentment due to the unbalanced responsibilities, and many referred to themselves asmarried single moms.”

Supreme Court on Women

Even The Highest Legal Body in India, The Supreme Court, had objected to the census listing homemakers as “non-workers” on a par with beggars, prostitutes and prisoners(Imagine that), and called for laws to quantify their contribution to the economy. Quoting from Telegraph  India (2010) said This was in relation to the case file by Arun Kumar Agarwal, whose wife Renu Agrawal had died after their car was hit by a truck. The husband filed a petition seeking a compensation of Rs 19.2 lakh. He said Renu was only 39 years old and his life had become miserable after her death.

This approach of equating women who are homemakers with beggars, prostitutes and prisoners as economically non-productive workers betrays a totally insensitive and callous approach towards dignity of labour and is also clearly indicative of a strong gender bias against women. If we take these (household) services for granted and do not attach any value to this, this may escalate unforeseen costs in terms of deterioration of both human capabilities and the social fabric. We forget that women could study or do a job in the time they devote to their families ”

Like any other girl we grew up fantasizing about our handsome prince, living in a dream home having kids and living happily ever after. In truth happily-ever-after never came.  (No wonder all fairy tales end with handsome prince taking off his princess in horse but where to?). Housewife or homemaker, however you choose to call it are an unappreciated lot.  Is it really that bad to choose your family over a career? It’s frustrating that people, often including husband, seem to think houswife has lots of time on her hands when she really doesn’t.

Related Articles:

Am I a working women or Housewife?
Yes I am a Housewife & a Working Woman too, because, I am working on my Family Future….
I work 24 hours a day….
I am a “Mom”…
I am an alarm clock, a cook, a maid, a teacher, a nanny, a nurse, a taxi driver, a handyman, a security officer, a photographer, a counsellor and a comforter.
I don’t get holidays, sick pay or days off.
I work through the day and night.
I am on call all hours and get paid in hugs and kisses….!:-)

I would like to change the attitude towards housewife.

This article is dedicated to my friends who are housewives.This article is for Stayfree’s Indiblogger contest:Time to change

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