She may not be eligible for a home loan considering she doesn't have a tangible income. But she is what makes a house home. Yes, if you think about it, there is a fine line of difference between a house and a home. A residential structure comprising floor, walls and ceiling might make a house. Let's throw in some furniture as well. But it is the presence of a homemaker that makes it a home running fine and full of life... that's the power of housewife!
With the so-called development of the country and its increasing number of working women population, the term housewife (I prefer to use the word homemaker) has gained a different perspective in the urban areas. I remember an incident when due to my chronic illness I has to discontinue working fulltime. Within a month the way people talked to me changed drastically. That's when I sensed the true perception of people. We had new neighbours and one day the younger, seemingly educated guy came over to ask some questions about the RCC structure as they wanted to install an AC. As he was leaving, I asked what kind of profession he was into. He proudly answered and then asked me about mine. When I said, "I freelance and work from home," he said, "Oh so you are a housewife!" It was not the term but the way it was spoken that irritated me. There was a tone of looking down upon, as if I was nothing... as if the job of a homemaker is not a job at all!
My mother, mother-in-law and some of my closest friends are housewives and I always respect the kind of effort and management the thankless job demands. I can never match that. So here, I voice out what a homemaker has to say to working men and working women (yes, sometimes working women also look down upon homemakers!) if you continue to look down upon her:
1. I will work only from 10 am to 6 pm, from Monday to Friday every week. I will take a lunch break from 1 pm to 2 pm, and that does not include preparing and serving lunch. After my work hours, I may do whatever I want - watch TV, spend time chatting with my friends, read a book, workout at a gym or simply laze around.
2. Walking umpteen times from living room to kitchen to bedroom to balcony for drying clothes, to the grocery shop and presswaala and vegetable market is equivalent to your travel time to workplace. So yes, I travel for work and I expect a Travel Allowance.
3. I will take 11 holidays in a year. Yes, Ganeshotsav, Diwali, Eid and Christmas included. During these holidays, I may or may not prepare sweets, attend to the guests, buy all the gifts, etc. as that is a part of the job I do.
4. I will have my share of sick and casual leaves.
5. I want an off-home-site trip every year.
6. When you use the term housewife, homemaker or grahinee, say it with respect. After all, I perform all the roles at every level in any corporate - HR, Admin, Management, Client Servicing, Caterer, Housekeeping, CEO, CFO, Designer, Decorator, Accounts, Representative, Planner, Babysitting and Partner to name a few.
7. I want an income, based on my years of experience as a wife and my qualifications and talent in making it a perfect home.
8. I want a Pension and Provident Fund.
Frankly speaking, every homemaker might say the above once in a while when you take her for granted way too often, but she does not truly want to put down the 8 strict conditions. In return, all she demands is respect and acknowledgement for the kind of work she does without anyone even telling her what is to be done and when. So, the next time you speak to or about a homemaker, look up to her and be thankful as your life can be miserable without her existence or if she lays the above conditions.