This morning I woke up to the question “What will be your answer if a housewife asks u “what is the price for us”?” asked by my cousin. I was still in bed when I saw the message and I replied in one word “priceless” – the first thing that came to my mind!
Busy day, and I overslept, so I got up and got myself busy doing other things. But this question kept coming back. I’ve been on both sides – working woman and a housewife. For fourteen long years I was a working woman – very independent, highly earning, travel around the world kind of a woman. Then I had a baby and one more came along and I decided to try being a “homemaker” or “Stay at home Mom” for sometime! The sometime is now seven years long! So I guess I am qualified enough to answer that question.
When I was a working woman, I got paid to do my jobs. I had a “role” at work. I was an Officer, Analyst, DBA, Trainer, Freelancer, etc… and I did what was told in my job description, not much of a deviation from that. When I went into a project where I had to take calls in the middle of the night, I got paid to answer the calls, actually I got paid just to be on call – whether I got a call or not was a different story, and then I got paid for the number of minutes of call that I got each night, my phone bills and broadband bills got paid and I could take time off based on the calls too. When I had to travel for work, I got credit cards with no limits, 5 star accommodation, travel by business class at times and what not!
Now coming back to being a housewife – When I got married I was told my job was to be a wife, what was not told but implied was that I had to be a good daughter-in-law to my parents-in-law and a good sister-in-law to my husband’s sibling. As the only daughter-in-law, I have additional responsibilities too! I was expected to mother a son – no having daughters was not the done thing, you could have daughters, but we need a grandson! I needed to maintain my (parents’) family name in my in-law’s house – which meant I needed to have a lot of patience. I was a working woman then, but it didn’t mean that I could shirk away responsibilities of feeding my husband, paying bills, keeping the house clean, laundry done, guests entertained, etc. So My role was being a maid, a cook, a peon, an entertainer and so much more without getting paid.
When I became a mother, my job profile kind of changed and my “roles” only increased! I became a mother – which meant take care of kids, their welfare – right from cooking and cleaning for them to being a driver, teacher, child minder, etc, all rolled into one! I quit my “full time job” which had a definite role to take up a job which had roles being added by the day without any pay.
And all this without a sick day off! When I was doing a paid job and single, if I was sick, I would call in sick and sleep all day long. Once I was married, I had to take care of the other half and when the family expanded, the responsibilities only increased. So even on a “sick day”, I would still have to do the bare minimum of cooking and a bit of this and a bit of that before I hit bed.
Even when I go on holidays, I have to worry about packing the right clothes, food, snacks, etc! It is not like I can hand over my family to someone else and just relax – well working woman go through this too, I am not saying they don’t.
When I was a working woman I could actually go and buy things without worrying too much because I was earning enough. It was then that it struck me how a homemaker would feel.
At a paid job, if I got bored doing the same thing over and over again, or was not happy with my boss, or the job location that they sent me to, or my pay or anything that caught my fancy, I could quit my job! All I needed was to send a letter and serve the notice period of a month or two! Here as a homemaker, no quitting business!
Similarly if my manager was not happy with me, they could replace me easily. Try replacing a homemaker with a better one! I am not saying it is impossible, but it is a huge task to get a better replacement!
No, I am not complaining. I enjoy doing what I do. I do whatever I do because I think it is the right thing to do and it gives me happiness. I am writing all this to make people realise that homemakers are priceless.
As the master card ad says…”There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard” And a good homemaker falls in the first category!