‘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 lofty 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 naïve, sacrificing, and obedient housewife!
“Oh, boys will be boys!” chuckled the society in delight. “Of what use is manhood indeed, if it isn’t 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 of her basic rights. Not forgetting to remind her of her only true purpose in life 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 is refreshingly flawed, emotionally vulnerable, and crying out to be heard, understood, loved, and appreciated!
They also conveniently forgot the woman in her. 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 as her man! A woman who is simply tired of the prejudices, misconceptions, true lies and stigma that comes with being a housewife 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 seems! Clearly, it’s 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, or laundry). Or you probably have someone who does all the dirty work for you.
A ‘mere housewife,’ 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 nerve and gut to get down, raw and dirty, be autonomous and in charge, with no payment or reward. It 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?”
Here 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 find a genius way to beat the blues, boredom, and tedium that comes with the routine housework.
Boredom sparks creativity, and no one knows this better than a seasoned housewife. They bring a certain enthusiasm, vigor, and spunk to their home, performing varied home experiments and discovering something new every day. Finding joy in the simple, everyday moments and having enough time to smell the roses while taking a hike outdoors is the stuff that many dream of, but few get to revel in that 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 everyone’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 every day, 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 make a priceless contribution and immense sacrifice for their families’ happiness and good health. And to all those wonderful husbands who truly see, understand, and appreciate the value and beauty of their Domestic Goddesses, we commend you. And for those blissfully ignorant husbands, we urge you to get into the shoes of your better half today, and feel for yourself where it pinches her most. To the society at large, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to being ‘just a housewife.’ So stop being judgmental!)