I Am A Member Of The Family, Not A Slave For Your Convenience And Pleasure!

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Read the story of this woman who says that she is not a slave to be treated by her family shabbily, without any thought for her wishes.

Author’s note: This is a true account, as narrated by a friend.

“Daughters in law should not be treated as maid servants in the house. She should be respected as a member of the house and treated equally as the other members of the family.” Recently, the Supreme Court put forth its opinion strictly while sentencing to imprisonment a husband where his young wife had committed suicide owing to harassment and work pressure at home.

I didn’t let that extreme thought cross my already reckless and exhausted mind, but I could relate so much to it, and l have a ‘Why’ waiting to be replied.

Well I know it’s my house and my daily routine is centered on doing household chores. It’s all about cooking, feeding, washing, ironing, buying groceries, dusting, cleaning, supervising, managing, and yes of course, accommodating, adjusting, learning to keep mum, not raising an eyebrow, not questioning. Most of the women do precisely this in their lives.

And if you think I am complaining, yes I am!

I am not grieving here and do not wish to gather sympathy, but then as a woman and caretaker of the family and as an individual, I have a very valid reason to question my family, the society, my parents and myself too. Why is it only me who does almost everything for everyone in the house including my in laws, husbands and my sons? Am I the maid of the house?

I have a businessman husband who often arrives home late in the evenings. My sons are grown up and have a number of things to indulge in and therefore I need to cater to them at all timings of the day. I have in laws who couldn’t develop a liking for me in all these years since I wasn’t their choice. So obviously I am their working help more than a daughter in law. And yes we never had a permanent servant at home.

I have a routine that runs on everyone’s whims and fancies. All of them get up at different timings; all of them have meals at different timings of the day. I finish with my in laws’ breakfast, then it’s my husband and later it’s the two boys. The same is the case with lunch, and well the dinner only begins post eleven. So hitting the bed before midnight isn’t a possibility.

It’s been 23 years and since then I have been more or less the maid of my house.

So why do you think I do it all?

I am a woman & I wasn’t taught to say ‘NO’

We were three sisters and were raised as queens by our parents. Being the youngest of the three, I received all the adulation and never had to do much in the house as my father was an IPS officer with all the official amenities to enjoy and assistants to serve us. I never imagined life would one day make me feel worse than a maid.

We as daughters and girls were always taught to be submissive and docile, not letting our wishes and personal concerns overweigh against the needs and priorities of our families.

However, I regret as to why we weren’t taught to say ‘NO’? Why wasn’t I taught to speak for myself too?

Why does no one care?

A few years back I began to realize that everyone needs me for a reason. Despite a maid servant for cleaning and washing utensils in the house I have been doing almost everything in the name of household chores. Well that most of the women do.

But I feel I am living just to serve them. I have served them with all the love and taken due care of the house. But despite my efforts and repeated requests, no one has ever paid heed to my yearnings for some discipline in the house, some rest and some ‘me time’.

How many men actually pay heed to the woes of the woman of the house? Don’t they take it lightly since it’s such a common complaint?

You must have heard it before too, but then yes, unofficially, I am the maid of my house on whom everyone relies without ever being considerate about my needs and aspirations. I feel tied up and disgusted at tims. Just because I am a woman and I do not go out to work, am I not entitled to my freedom and time? They don’t say it but I am their maid without ever being paid for it.

Blame it on tradition

We have a world out here who has since ages labeled women as the appropriate species for serving at home, and dare they raise their concerns regarding the same. Honestly and quite frankly, I may be the member of the house but I haven’t enjoyed that level of being an equally significant entity of the house as well.

Primarily we are not educated to stand for our rights and yes, our entire upbringing is infused with ‘this is your duty kind of a subtle and instructed set of values; second and foremost, we are victims of the grave fault that is with raising men as superiors and instilling in them that women are meant to serve the house and spend their lives like that.

I am not a slave

Yes, I am a wife to someone, a mother and a daughter in law, but does that mean I be taken for granted? Just because I am a woman and society sees a married woman as bound by her duties, feeding her family and being responsible for everything, should I adhere to the same norm and continue?

I don’t dislike my husband, sons or other family members, and I do not consider breaking away a solution but over the years I have realized that it’s a bigger problem with our society and culture where women are symbolized as household caretakers. Men, since they go out and earn and are the so called providers, enjoy being served and catered to.

The highest court of justice in the country may have put its stamp on an issue which reflects upon the miserable state of women usually treated as maids in their own houses; sending out a clear message that gender roles are not defined, and it’s not only a daughter in law’s duty to serve the house and do all the chores.

However, I wonder if that can bring a considerable change to the mindsets of the society. With such a complaint, can you think of pulling your own family members to court? Or you need to wait for a much more heinous offence like a dowry death, domestic violence or a rape?

Published here earlier.

Image source: shutterstock

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