A few weeks ago I had a somewhat stagnant conversation with someone. This person, a young mom and wife, said that she wants to start working again (consciously choosing not to put in her profession here), and that she didn’t want to waste her life by just being a homemaker and mom.
Now, the first part of conversation I completely support. The latter part…well…it did not sit well with me. Especially after she added that she wants to pursue her talent just like I was. Maybe I shouldn’t have, yet I did point out to her that I am too, a homemaker. A homemaker who writes. Our conversation stalled at this point until I bid her goodbye. Chances are that we might never discuss this specific chat again. And still, it took me back to my not-so-glory-days where I too equated success and productivity to income. In many ways, most people still do. Although the general mindset is in the process of changing, yet a lot of work must be done.
Do you know who bears the brunt of these thoughts?
Homemakers mostly. Or any stay-at-home parent.
Honestly, I find it quite hypocritical that when talking in a fictional (used the word fictional because it doesn’t reflect in our behavior) space, we tend to glorify homemakers. Yet when we talk a real talk, it wouldn’t matter how qualified she is, because she is a homemaker, it means all her talent and qualification and education is going to waste.
In desi style: ‘Zindagi kharab ho gayi!’ (Life is over!)
Why such a mentality?
To those who think and say such things, whether to themselves or to others: why do you think someone’s worth is measured by their bank balance?
So if that someone doesn’t earn, are they not worthy of your respect? Or should they only settle for a pitiful glance and some phrase which seeks to deteriorate their self-respect even further? Something like:
‘I understand how tough it must be for you to stay at home…it must be really boring! What do you do to pass time?’
This has been said to me in person. Yes Mrs. Know-it-all! It is difficult because frankly, the jobs in a household doesn’t seem to get over with!
On that note, what on earth is up with the kitchen? If we cook, we obviously must clean it.
If someone else brings us food, we must still clean it.
Takeout? Clean it!
Go for a trip? Clean it before leaving and after coming back!
Eat out? Still clean it!
I mean regardless of it being used or not, why do we have to keep cleaning the kitchen?
How does it get so dirty?
Are there people or beings or trolls living in my house who use it unknown to me and make me clean it? Because if that is the case….I can still do nothing else except clean it one more time. *sighs in defeat*
Also, for those who have kids and still make these kinds of comments, are you not raising them?
If you are, where did you get trained for it? Some special school? Some course? Some wizened wizard showed at your doorstep?
Because let me tell you something my friend: it takes every ounce of every education and experience that I have had, including the incredibly difficult task of not answering back to my parents when they used to be in an unreasonable and plain I-am-having-difficulty-understanding-and-listening-to-you-so-let-me-just-throw-a-godforsaken-rant-at-you mindset.
Especially the last scenario.
See? I knew our Brown culture was training us for something!
You see folks, I refuse to understand and adhere to this whole idea of earning money to earn basic say in things and with people.
I also refuse to believe that I must stick to one pole and one side only for it to be noteworthy.
Why can’t I be a homemaker and a writer?
Or own a business and still be a hands-on-mom?
Or have my own space and identity and be proud of being someone’s wife?
Or be a happy and content individual and still pursue my passion?
Or be excited to be known as myself, and as the mother of my children, and the wife of my husband, and my parent’s daughter, and my siblings’ sister, and a relative, and a friend, and a member of my community?
These are all Me! These are all aspects of my personality, different facets of my life. Together, they constitute the person that I am! Why should I polarize myself to just one angle? Wouldn’t that be, for lack of a better word, extremely one dimensional?
‘Oh…but staying at home gets so monotonous!‘
Yeah it does! But you know what else gets monotonous? Every job you do regularly.
‘Many women are forced to become a housewife!’
That is true. And that is why I do not endorse it. As I am not endorsing being prejudicial towards those who are joyfully content in such a role.
To the guys and girls who are looking to get married, keep your expectations clear. Boys, if you want a homemaker, do not go for someone who is career oriented and then force her to give up all she has worked for. Girls, do not live in a la-la-land and focus only on romantic talks and the extraordinary hope in your own abilities to change the guy’s thinking. It doesn’t work that way. No matter how much we would want it to be, simply love is not enough. Relationships require a lot of commitment and efforts for it to blossom into something beautiful and lasting. Love, spiritual love that we dream of, is one piece of a continuously evolving puzzle.
Sincerely speaking, this manner of thinking, especially towards oneself, is not just an individual losing his/her confidence. It is the result of continuously being conditioned to equate money with worth, value and power, Often we are also its perpetrators, consciously or subconsciously. You think you haven’t done it? Think again.
The reality of life is that nobody has it easy. The Working and the Earning. Except those that inherit ‘a small loan of a million dollars’. *ahem* *ahem*
The Earning are not always satisfied with what they have. And the Working do not always curse their place in life. Of course there are people who do. Just not everyone.
To lift someone up doesn’t have to be extravagant or a brave task from a savior. (More on the savior complex later!) It could simply be a small sentence of:
“I think you are doing pretty well in your life! Look at the progress you have made! That is something to be proud of!”
Side note: This sentence can be said to everyone regardless of their income, position or profession.
As to the person who made a huge mistake by saying how I must be so bored at my home, this was my response which basically discouraged them from texting me further. It has been 9 years since.
“Why do you think I would be bored in my own home?”
Feel free to use it. *wink*