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The ‘working women vs housewives’ debate has gone on long enough. It is ok to make different choices and live in peace while letting others live in peace as well.
Here is some food for thought. Rather than discussing working women vs. housewives, why not think about working men vs househusbands? It doesn’t sound right, does it?
Househusbands, who are they? Is it even a word? Yes, it is, and it’s defined as a husband who keeps house while his wife earns the family income. But we do not usually come across this term in our daily discussions or readings. That is because a) they are rare and b) the conversation related to that half of the population is carefully managed. Why create a further sub-division among their own class? Men are men, so they just talk about themselves as one whole entity.
Dear ladies, the very same logic applies to us womenfolk also. We, the women, are the other half of the population, plain and simple. What we are and the role that we play is far greater and beyond a simple subset of just working women vs housewives. The best way to do so is to call ourselves women and refer to us as part of the ever-growing and vibrant women community.
A friend of mine is an amazing artist. Her brush strokes work wonders on the canvas. A lot of times I have simply sat in her living room gazing at the paintings on her wall and just felt happy. She also takes care of her husband and hyperactive toddler and chauffeurs around town buying stuff and dropping off and picking up people from work and school. She teaches yoga to her friends, goes for long walks and decorates her home artistically on every occasion.
How do you define such a person? Saying that she is ‘just a housewife’ is like building a dam over an ocean. We will overlook so many aspects of her life by describing her only as a housewife. She is just a woman leading her life to the best of her abilities. And that’s who we all are.
Each one of us is unique an what we do with our lives is our own personal calling. We all try to take the best decision on how we want to spend our time, depending upon the situations faced by us every day.
Some of us have chosen to take up a job and get paid for it, some of us have chosen to start our own business, some of us have decided to pick up the pen and unleash the power of words, some of us have decided to cook delicious food and feed the hungry, and so on.
We take decisions and follow certain paths depending upon what we think is best for us at that particular time. There are no right or wrong answers, we make different choices at different times and should have faith and belief in ourselves to follow through.
When it comes to making choices, a woman struggles to make decisions about multiple aspects of her everyday life. Whether she should start a job after having a child or stay at home and look after her children and family and shelve the job grind for a few years…Will the cost and quality of day care be satisfactory?
In our society, it is always women who are debating this while the menfolk happily carry on with their lives as though childbirth was nothing but a day’s event. We rarely ask fathers, how is your work-life balance, as if rearing children is not their primary concern.
Society always scrutinises women’s choices under the microscope of tradition, values, and ethics. Some women may perform religious fasts and rituals, others may not. Some may decide to breastfeed their babies, others may need to bottle feed.
Every woman faces a very unique set of circumstances while making a decision and we should all respect one another’s choices. It is equally important that we should be able to accept whatever we or others have decided and support each other in our journey towards a better life.
Women who work outside their homes also do a lot of housework when they return home after a hard day’s work at the office. Both working women and housewives share a load of responsibilities, have deadlines to meet and race against time for completing their jobs. This itself shows that there is no divergence as such between these roles and we need to put the emphasis on women per se rather than define them as working women vs housewives.
Housework carries as much respect and economic importance as work outside the home. Try hiring a nanny or putting children in daycare and shelling out a sizeable part of your monthly paycheck. On top of this, you will still not be assured of the quality of child care provided.
Housework is even now predominantly considered a woman’s job. Ideally, it is the responsibility of all family members to keep their living area clean. The concept of housework needs to become gender-neutral and lose the tag of being mainly a woman’s job. Maybe, making household work payable monetarily will be enough to make it stop being so woman-centered.
It is the unique resilience of a woman that enables her to wear several hats during a lifetime. A woman can choose to be a powerful entrepreneur, a hilarious comic, a doting mother, an equal partner, a vivacious dancer, a candid writer, a best friend, and be the queen of her life.
It is important for us to change our narrative so that it reflects the multiple roles that all of us play at different times in our lives. For our overall growth and development, it is ideal that we call ourselves a part of the all-encompassing women community and expand the belief in ourselves to a lot more than just working women vs housewives.
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