Couple of days back, I went to watch English Vinglish in the theater with my kids after reading some really good reviews of the movie. Well, those reviews were not wrong, and the movie was time well spent. I am not attempting a review here. I wanted to talk about a very important and relevant issue that the movie touched upon – about the Indian homemaker. I hate the term housewife because I genuinely believe that homemaker is a more appropriate usage for a lady who spends her life building her home and her family. Just like the movie portrays, we take the most important member in our family, shamelessly, for granted. We did that to our mothers – those selfless souls who made life comfortable for us, looked after each and every need of ours and put their hobbies, passions and lives on hold for us so we could be brought up well, so we could pursue our dreams. No, I was not rude to my mother. But, I realized her true worth only after she passed away. My own mother was a gentle, loving soul and a stay-at-home mom. A great cook and a person of many talents, she was simple and down to earth. I still remember that she wanted to open a bank account in her name. I never understood why she wanted that. She was never deprived of anything in her life. She and dad were the most balanced and loving couple that I’ve seen who have lived the adage – in sickness and in health. She never had to ask for money, and she spent as she liked. Yet, she had once expressed a desire to have her own bank account.

 

I never understood it then. I started understanding it much later when I began earning. The high of opening your own bank account, of earning your own money, and of seeing your own name on a credit card or bank statement was huge. Each one of us seeks our identity beyond that of someone’s daughter, mother or wife. Having money or property in your name gives a tremendous boost to one’s ego and self-esteem. Perhaps, this is what she sought that we did not understand. Isn’t this what most homemakers crave for today? Today’s homemakers of my generation feel even more resentful because unlike my mother, they were raised equally with boys to study and have a career. But, many of them had to give up a flourishing professional career to raise a family and that sometimes breeds resentment and bitterness as time goes by for what could have been. They feel that they could have the fancy titles and six and seven-figure salaries next to their names easily had they continued earning. That “I” take a huge beating and no gratitude or even kind words acknowledging their contribution and efforts they put in takes a huge emotional toll on them.

 

That brings me to the question of respect of a homemaker? Why does no one give her the respect she deserves for being 24X7 hands-on worker for her family? Is it because we are taught to respect money? Does the patriarchal system make us respect our dads because they bring in the bacon? Have we been conditioned to take our mothers and the work they do for us for granted?

 

Are the stay-at-home moms to blame for some of this mess too? I think, yes. As a mother, who is raising two kids, I don’t take bullshit from my kids. They know that mom is friendly but they cannot misbehave with me. Those boundaries are set for them. And, I wouldn’t allow them to bad mouth their father either. In every family, it is important that the children are taught to respect their parents both by the father and the mother for being just that – parents. Why do mothers put up with abuse from kids like in the movie? Moms are not punching bags, period!

 

Why are our homemakers becoming the martyrs and putting their lives on a sacrifice mode? Why are they clinging on to the kids or the husband? Why can’t they cultivate their own interests and indulge in their hobbies? Even if others in their homes do not encourage them to do so, they must take that step to do something, anything, even small of their own. The emptiness that a woman feels when her kids grow up and don’t need her as much makes her feel depressed and sometimes clingy and controlling. That needs to be acted upon when she is younger.

 

Ask any homemaker if she is working. And, the answer you are likely to get is no or she is just at home. There is a problem of self-esteem too. Most homemakers start believing that what they do at home is useless. Everyone thinks that they sit and while away their time at home, and somewhere they start internalizing that. In short, no respect again. This time in their own eyes for themselves.

 

Thus, this is a complex situation with multiple facets. Just like in the movie, I also believe that happiness will come only by loving yourself first and foremost and believing in an intrinsic self worth and also in raising sons and daughters who are taught to be sensitive, caring and respectful towards their mothers. Hopefully, the husbands can be made to fall in line as well? 🙂

 

What are your thoughts on this?

 

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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114 Thoughts on “Our homemakers!

  1. This is what I needed badly to boost my esteem and not feeling bad about staying home for the past one month. Thank you so much girl. Many women think that a stay at home is a useless job. Many talk to me like that. Ahh..I am not working like you, why do I need to buy this? why do I need to groom myself? If you ask me, a homemaker is a 24/7 job. If you are working, you have set timings for everything. So, a homemaker is more challenging and demanding. Very well written Rachna. I so agree for not taking crap from kids. I felt the same when I saw the movie. If the daughter was my kid, I would have whacked her properly..lol..Don’t know how it will be when they are teenagers thouhg..OMG..did I end up in a long comment again? sorry dear.

    • How sweet Latha! I am happy to provide you that buzz. I would have whacked the girl too. Even my son commented that how can she talk to her mother like that. Lots of times it is the women who pull each other down which is also so sad. Arre, I like long comments; keep them coming :).

  2. I haven’t seen this movie yet. It has made you think so much.
    Most mothers will put up with abuse because they are mothers. 🙂 Unless of course it is something like in Mother India… anyways I must watch this movie now.

    • Yes, you must see the movie. As a mother and woman, I can understand the lady’s pain. But, I can’t understand why she could not take things in her hand but then it is a movie.

  3. A lovely post and agree on each point! Unfortunately, the educated are unable to show way to a large illetrate populace who need to come out of the shackles. It is commendable that you practice what you say/ write, Rachna:)

  4. Yes.. absolutely… the homemakers themselves have a low self esteem which they need to overcome … being a home maker is no easy job. Its because of these home makers, the office goers can spend their day in office without giving a damn about the daily requirements.

    However I believe whatever has been shown in the movie (about daughter abusing mother) is little too dramatic.. does it happen in real? I am not sure.

    • I know, I felt it was too dramatic about the daughter. I wouldn’t put up with that kind of shit. But, I have seen women who are so helpless in front of their kids. They can’t raise their voice. And, now that I run the home, I know how the house runs and what my contribution to it is. It is high time that others recognized and appreciated that. Luckily, my husband and kids are supportive or should I say that I won’t have it any other way :).

  5. Absolutely agree. However trends are changing….I have two close friends, both engineers from reputed colleges who say, ” I am a housewife by choice and I am happy and proud of my choice.”

    • I agree Alka. Times are changing. We have so many homemakers including you and I who are doing very well managing a home, working and indulging in our interests. But, I have come across a whole bunch of women who are unhappy being at home. If they don’t enjoy and find worth in what they are doing then they will be unhappy. Wouldn’t if help if they were appreciated more often for what they contributed at home?

  6. I saw the movie and found it to be very intersting.
    Look,india is evolving.Times are changing.Not all mothers take a lot of nonsense any more.
    Education,jobs,income has given mothers an identity and I am sure it will only get better.
    Recently,I took a flight and was so happy to see it being under command of a lady.

    • I agree Chowlaji. We are evolving and changes are happening. But, it is still happening around us. I know of such qualified, professional ladies around me who gave up their jobs to have a baby and then could not get back into career. They are bitter and extremely angry and feel unappreciated. I hope they take it upon them to pursue a passion or something that gives them joy or even explore another earning option just like I’ve done.

  7. Lovely post, and relevant questions. It troubles one, when the family disrespects their mother. Luckily mothers have come of age , in some families, at least. I know lots of mothers who have a say in the home, and much respected too. If the father respects the mother, everyone else follows suit. Reversely, there are many mothers who are ruling with an iron hand too. This is the picture in the middle class.

    As you rightly said, it is many layered.We operate in our own small communities and circles.
    Unless ,the society respects women as persons in their own right this problem also will continue.

    • Thank you Pattu! Situations are way better in many families. And, many of us lead very fulfilling lives. I also agree that it is important that each parent inculcates in the child respect for parents and also practises the same.

  8. I think its high time someone raised that point. The respect factor is missing from most of the home-maker’s lives. Things are not going to change over-night. But, a few steps taken in the right direction, can do wonders for the self esteem of a home-maker.

  9. Rachna as always you manage to write in such a gently honest and thought provoking way. Your thoughts are complex and yet easy to understand. This is a topic so dear to the heart of many. At present I am a stay at home mother and a homemaker and over the time I have been so have encountered both negative and positive responses to that. I guess for me, I have slowly tried to separate what others think (as in lack of respect and such) from who I am. I hope as I continue to mother, I grow in wisdom as well and am able to set the limits children do need.

    Mainly I think we need to respect one another in the lives we choose!

    Wonderful post!

    • You are so amazing, Colleen and always so warm and encouraging. I am a homemaker as well who also works professionally. I have been through the routine of stopping working outside of home to give birth to and to be with my two young kids. The difference was that my husband supported me when I wanted to stop working and then also when I wanted to start working professionally because it does involve support and adjustment of the family. Most importantly, I get the love and respect that I deserve in my job of being a hands-on mom and wife. We do need to respect every person’s right to the life they choose. I hope each one of us can find it in us to do that. Thanks again for such an insightful comment.

  10. Agree with your thoughts here!! But times are changing and the homemakers are no longer the timid and taken for granted, in most households.
    Am sure kids and husbands do realize that a day or 2 without the mothers/wives around, the whole home looks topsy-turvy and it’s tough for them to manage even with the help around!
    I believe all homemakers should remember this poem…’If you think you’re beaten, you are, If you think you dare not, you don’t ….Success begins with a person’s will, It’s all in the state of mind’.

    • Yes Shilpa, but it is not always. I have met so many even of my generation who feel sad that they are just at home or taken for granted. And husbands and kids do realize the importance of the lady of the house. The lady also must take off sometimes on her home or do things with her girlfriends that gives them a space to take care of themselves without someone fussing over them all the time. There are houses where moms take pleasure in doing everything even for adult children. I ask why? I love your poem.

  11. The question which is asked ,”Are you working ? ” is basically wrong.A home maker replies in negative to the aforesaid query & yet she is working 24×7. She never retires ( Ba retire thaye che-Mother retires, is a Gujarati play which was so well received, that it was translated into Marathi & Hindi as well).

    I know how it feels, to be home, after giving it up all especially,when I see my ex-colleagues getting promoted & attending seminars & so on & so forth . Men & kids continue to hurt us knowingly & unknowingly.I have come to the conclusion, that if this trend of treating the home maker as a door mat continues , marriage for women is a definite no.Men need marriage,as they get a honorary servant for life ! This servant never can get leave & neither demand money or anything else.Moreover, who will listen or care for the tantrums she throws unlike the servant /s ?

    Men will praise other women & when it comes to their own ,they are extremely possessive( please don’t mistake it for love which it is not) , as domestic help who can replace wife’s tasks to a certain extent is prohibitively expensive & unavailable at the beck & call of hubby.

    Though many women would like to get back to work, just for financial independence,seldom do they get a second chance in our country.Women are too emotionally tied up to the well being of their children to go back & work full time.Men have no hang ups what so ever.

    I feel women are good at all tasks & their multi tasking abilities should be utilised so that they can work from home & feel good about themselves as well.

    • I know Vasu. I gave up a career after doing my MBA but I did get back to working later but on my own terms and doing something I enjoy. I did have the support of my husband and family in doing what my heart desires. There can be instances like you have mentioned where the woman of the house can be treated shoddily and ends up feeling exploited or taken advantage of. What do you think can be done to help them out? Can they take the step to go out and work and risk strife at home? What do you think?

  12. Agree with all you have said!

  13. Being a homemaker is an full day job. There are no holidays. I too used to take my mother for granted but soon started to realise the importance of what she did at home the moment I moved out and lived on my own (in college and 4 years of my job) for a few years. When I came back, I had nothing but respect for her.

    • Absolutely Amit. I also realized the importance of mom when I stayed away. When we were younger, all she did for us was taken for granted. But then I loved her and respected her.

  14. Like you very rightly said, Rachna, the onus is on the homemaker to realize that she is not and should not be a martyr. If someone chooses to stay at home, it should be a joint decision and there should be scheduled times for her to go out and have a good time. Much of the problem, to my mind at least, is the way we see ourselves. I’m a happy homemaker, but no martyr – I love the fact that I can do what I love from home.

    • Absolutely Corinne. I also love the fact that I could take a break from earning when I desired and then had support at home when I wanted to work, albeit on my own terms. It is the best feeling in the world to be appreciated. I hope more homemakers get that in their life. And, they must make a conscious effort not to feel worthless as well.

  15. I realised the importance of my mum when I left my house; when I started working. Theirs is a job with no perks, no vacations and no salary whatsoever. It is indeed shamelss on on part if we dont even respect the fact that what they are doing is the most selfless thing in the world and that too for us.

    I had always loved my father more when I was a kid, because mom perstered us to study or go for dance classes. But everything changed once I lfet home. I loved her more, spoke to her more, and most importantly started respecting her more, and saw her in a totally different light. I once cried on the phone and told her, how much she had done for me, and how sometimes I fought with her. That was an emotional moment for us.

    I am surely going to show her this post of yours Rachna.This is a great one!

    PS: Both of us (mom and me) are off to English Vinglish this weekend. Really looking forward to it!

    • Hugs! I am sure you are going to love watching the movie with her. Thank you for sharing your experience. Indeed, we realize their value when we stay away from home.

  16. I can relate to all the points that you have made, me being a homemaker ( I call it home manager 😉 ) and all. I agree with you on being responsible for how others treat us. The capacity to be independently happy and being proactive in taking care of oneself is important.

  17. Waht you say is right. the hard work put on is not recognised ..

    but there is a flip side to it too in the modern day and age, I know many will not agree but in the recent times EVERYTHING and Anything seems to be taken in context of gender bases. Man does this , woman does this .. and I think TOO much of everything doesnot go well and it often backfires tooo ..

    I totally understand that homemaker is a bigger responsibility , its very easy to go out do a job, earn money and come home as compared to keeping the HOME as a home rather than a house ..

    I could not do it I know that.. I admire my mom who kept it that way and I can see what all sacrifices she made and what all she had to go through ..

    Bikram’s

    • And, don’t we all appreciate our moms when we are grown up and move out of the house? I just wish that this respect is there to encourage them to go out and do things that they enjoy even though that would mean us doing some things on our own. That is what is missing in most home. The mom feels guilty because she has gone out with friends “neglecting” kids. Well, the mom is a person too and needs to recharge herself. She also has to be shown the love and respect and be allowed to be equally involved in the decisions of the family. And, she also has to learn to be assertive!

    • oh yes .. she deserves more of “ME” time then most of us all the time .. totally agree with you ..
      this neglecting kids blah blah only the idiots and people who dont have a life of their own say.. I have never given TWO hoots to what people say or do ..

      and yes you are right Mom’s need to be assertive and go and have some FUN
      let my mum come I am going ot take her to ALTON TOWERS for all those rides I am too scared to go alone .. 🙂 she is going to kill me after the ride for sure he he he 🙂

      you know I did manage to get her on to the plane for skydiving , but she chickened out at the last moment 🙂

      I am a cruel son …

  18. Do we respect our stay-at-home mothers any less than our fathers? Perhaps this difference in “respect” does exist in society, but I have never felt it personally or seen it among my friends’ families.
    In any case, I hope our Home Makers don’t shortchange their own importance in society themselves – they really have no reason to, as you rightly allude to in your piece.
    Nice essay!

    • Both your points are valid. There are many many homemakers out there who feel resentful, angry and not appreciated. Some of them are young moms who did not wish to give up a career but had to for the sake of kids. So, they are resentful that they had to make a choice they didn’t want to. There is nothing wrong in ambition, right? Then there are those who live in joint family and don’t work because they are not “allowed” by their hubbies and in laws. Yes, that happens too. And, then there are those who are always lamenting that they are just sitting at home and comparing themselves with the working women around them and wallowing in self-pity. Have they been brought up to be timid? I don’t know. I haven’t faced this in my life. But, I have seen this among many homemakers.

  19. A lot of good points here. I just call myself a stay at home mom.

  20. Ours and few others’ has been the patriarchal society where women always get rough deal. In the movie I liked a statement which sums up what I just said. “If a man cooks, its an art, if a women cooks its a duty”

    Things should change, it is changing…

    • So true, Insignia! Have things really changed that much? Isn’t it still a woman’s domain to look after household chores, handle cooking, kids’ homework etc. even if she is coming back from office in the evening? How many husbands actively help out at home every single day? A lot of fuss is made over men if they cook once in a while or do other household chores. For women, it is their duty. This mindset prevails to this day even in higher strata of society. Things are changing, but we have a long way to go.

  21. Rachna,

    I agree with you that it is sad that we tend to ignore the worth of home-maker. A young professional girl can pursue her career with support of family even after marriage. She too needs to understand worth of elders who take care of her children and home while she is out. Unfortunately young girls of today wish for independence from in-laws as they look at them as interference and not at support they can provide.

    Take care

    • Like I said these are complex issues. Even if a woman is financially independent, she is expected to handle the household chores. Does anyone expect her husband to come back from work and cook, clean, do dishes and handle kids’ homework? But, she is expected to do all that. And, if she does not work outside the home, is she not doing a lot of work in running the family. Yet, does anyone ever think of doing something for her, chipping in one day and cooking so that she gets a break. How many families support their daughters-in-law when she wants to go out for an outing with friends or pursue a hobby? These are complex situations.

    • Rachna,

      I agree it is complex situation but it is not something which can not be resolved by mutual understanding and logical talk. If one remembers formula of give and take, it can work but one can not just have take take take in mind.

      Take care

  22. I have not seen that movie and there is a slim chance of my setting sights on it but hey, I do agree with you. No one has the right to make you feel less special, leave alone feeling less equal. Rude children? Seems to be the epidemic of the times! You’d be right to put them in their due slots.

    • But, you must see the movie with your wife and kids. It is pretty entertaining and feel good too. I must tell you that hubby also did not want to watch it thinking it will be rona dhona kinds :), but it really wasn’t that way. And, I agree that no one has the right to belittle you or insult you. I would not allow that kind of behavior. I can’t speak for others and their circumstances. Rude kids also must be addressed at home. If we don’t pull up our kids, who will?

  23. very true ,,couldn’t agree more then that..
    I haven’t seen the movie but heard a lot..
    rest .. I had spent many yrs at home when kids were small so I know the worth when you don’t work.. in my opinion a WOMEN should be financially independent .. have her own space ..get some break from home and show up her talents..rest every individual is different..

    • Thank you Harman. Personally, I feel that every woman should work and know the freedom of earning her money. Besides, work is much more than earning, isn’t it? It helps you explore the other facets of your personality. But, even for those who choose to be at home and raise families, there must be oodles of respect. Because, it takes a lot of skill to keep a home running without hitches, and who would know better than us. At the heart of it, isn’t every woman a homemaker?

  24. I sense a few lines of thoughts and hopefully you won’t mind me speaking up 🙂
    First and what most have commented on so far – the life of a housewife/homemaker. Most women experience it – some temporarily while raising children, some for their entire life, some during job transition times. As you well know, it comes with joys and challenges, like any other job. Why is it not valued as much – see, that’s partially the lady herself that should feel good, comfortable with herself and partially the society image of it…and I honestly don’t give a damn about the second. Sometimes it’s the sircumstances that makes us homemaker, and then I would understand some resistance to it, but if it is a choice – enjoy it! During my last job, which didn’t go that well, I was reading the blogs of a few homemakers and was so jealous of their lives – the flexibility, the simplicity of chores, the meaning of what you do every day – after all, it’s YOUR home you are taking care of. Must be rewarding, no? Then accidentally I lost my job and got ‘what I wished for’…it took some adjustment, but I did love many many aspects of staying at home. And I was busier than ever! Bottom line (imho) – it’s all the way YOU look at it.
    Another aspect of your lovely post – appreciation. See, I believe everyone is born with innate need for unconditional love, and it most often comes from your parents. I had to think…at what age I realized my parents don’t owe me the love they give me…and I admit it was only when I started living on my own, when I had to do what they did. So, teach the kids respect, but aside from that…you can only love them! Kids and men too 🙂
    Last, but not least – it’s touching to hear you speak of your Mom with love, and see how cultures shape us inevitably.
    I never thought much of opening a bank account. Done it thousand times! Now you make me appreciate it 🙂 Thanks!
    Thanks for the wonderful post and sorry for the longish comment, but…didn’t you mention you like long comments? 🙂

    • Ah, now that is a meaty comment :). Culturally, Indian society has been quite intrusive. In the sense that, people still care about what others say and think. Then parents have a huge role in our lives. They also dictate sometimes that this is done and this is not done. This is much more in joint families where the girl lives with her in-laws after marriage. She is expected to follow the conventions of the family. In some homes, they decided whether she must continue to work after marriage. Then there are nuclear families, where the hubby might not like that the wife works outside the home. In such cases of forced homemakers, there is bound to be resentment. Another angle is that unlike western society, in India the household work is a woman’s prerogative whether she works outside the home or not. So, if a husband and wife come back home in the evening, it is the wife’s responsibility to fix dinner, ensure other chores are done, look after the kids’ homework etc. If the husband helps out, it is great. But, most often this help is occasional and not daily. Thus working outside the home and raising a family is exhausting. Yes, we do have the luxury of household help. Also, some women are conditioned to be martyrs even when no one in the family expects them to be. They just keep doing everything for everyone and would not go out and do something of their own. Personally, I find it rewarding to have a family, to raise my kids the way I do, to have a loving and appreciative husband. I was lucky to have the choice to not work when I had my kids and when they were really young. I am also lucky to pursue my passions and to work flexibly and earn now when I want to. I pursue my hobbies and indulge in my passions and my family supports me. But, I also know of many homemakers and stay-at-home women who feel bitter and unfulfilled. Partial blame lies on them and some of it on their situation.

      We all appreciate our parents when we leave our homes. And, you know what, I appreciated my parents the most when I became a parent. I finally understood the significance of everything that they had done for me. I appreciate your point about loving the people in our lives. But, no relationship is a one-way street, and rudeness must not be tolerated. Besides, if I don’t correct my kids, who else will? A woman should respect herself first for others to respect her.

      Sometimes trivial things like driving your own car, having and operating your bank accounts, taking your finances in your own hands may seem trivial to you and me but for some they are big.

      Loved your comment for your thinking and for sharing your views. And, my reply does feel like an essay :).

  25. We Indians always respect money and thats the reason working people are respected more, Personally i have been lucky that my children always value my contribution..even today whenevr i feel that i havent done anything(not doing a job:)..my son always tells me that i am a succesful person and done a lot because i have brought up two well behaved and good human beings..He always makes me feel very tall and same my hubby too

  26. I agree Homemakers get a rough deal many times – Because “they simply stay at home and don’t do anything”. What people don’t realize is without these homemakers the home which till now had been functioning like a perfectly oiled machinery would just stop functioning ! But I think Homemakers need to be assertive too. Like you mentioned, putting your foot down with the kids and others in the family is so important. The homemakers themselves should never ever feel that they are less than others because they don’t bring in the money !

    • Thank you Ruchira. I agree 100%. First and foremost, homemakers must start valuing and taking pride in what they do. After all they make the home a home. They need to be assertive and also more conscious of their individual needs as well. Sometimes, others in the family do not expect sacrifices, but they continue to push themselves. Besides, they must never allow to their kids to misbehave. As a parent, I fail to understand how kids can abuse and misbehave with their parents and get away. It would also help if the husband takes her side and supports her.

  27. My Mother was a home maker but she also managed to have her own identity as she had that force of personality to do it. I accept that I took my Mom for granted when I was younger but I never had any less respect for her than my Father. She was always glad to know she was home when I came from school and knew that she had her own dreams and desires that she has kept on the back burner for us.

    I also know that in most households things are different. Women who are home makers get a raw deal. Things will only change when the woman herself becomes assertive and does not think that her job is of less consequence than her husband.

    • So was my mother and my grandmother as well. They had that personality about them. I agree with everything that you say. Indeed, women have to take the first step and be more assertive.

  28. That is a brilliant post Rachna. Two things I would like to say.
    Firstly, a woman has to respect herself. Very often we allow others to takes us lightly.
    Secondly attitude of some working woman to the SAHM. I have seen and been told by some working woman, how I am wasting time, wasting my talent, sitting at home. I just ignore nowadays but I find it disgusting

    • Thank you Bhagyashree. Absolutely, it is the other ladies and many other working women who are the first to either give you lecture about wasting your skill, degree etc. or belittling what you do at home. They sometimes even suggest that a paid help could substitute a mother’s role in the life of kids. Maybe, it helps them feel superior, but it makes me want to laugh :). Like Shail said, it is a problem with their self worth that makes them talk like that. And, that is how homemakers should take it in their stride. Of course, assertion is absolutely needed.

  29. I love your take on not taking insults and taunts from anyone. In the movie Sridevi does make her feelings obvious. Her son and MIL understand her. The father and daughter needed a shock treatment to awaken from the trance of their superiority complexes. They got just that. She was making money too from her ladoos. So it was all about respect in her case. And she portrayed it really well. Nicely expressed. 🙂

    • Thank you Jyothi! Imagine that she earns her money but her husband still looks down upon her skill. Maybe, he felt that she was earning so little compared to him so why bother. Or some crazy notion of possessiveness that no one else should eat her cooking. In short, keep her existence solely revolving around the family. And when the husband does not respect his wife, kids will mirror that behavior. They did need shock treatment and got it. But, I would have liked a bit more of spitting fire from her :). And the daughter deserved spanking.

  30. Wonderful post. I am a homemaker (and no wife of a house) who takes no bullshit from anyone. Taking rudeness from children is not an option AT ALL. But I do see a lot of parents paving the way for it and then taking it mutely too.
    And yeah, if anyone suggests that what I do has no worth, that shows their own lack of self worth.
    I understand how your mother wanted an account. No one understand that about homemakers. They may have ALL their wishes satisfied, have everything they want.. but having something in your own name is a different thing altogether.
    I loved the movie too.

    • And three cheers for you, Shail. I remember your post on bringing up your kids that was superb. We need our women to be assertive and most times the family will listen. By being a crybaby or a martyr, homemakers don’t help their causes. Lots of times we don’t understand another person’s perspective, and that is where assertiveness would help especially if it is a loving family. One should not just swallow their wishes and keep quiet, wallowing in pity. Give back and take what is yours.

  31. Hi Rachna

    I am yet to see the movie. I was a SAHM for almost two years after my son was born. Its one of the greatest and toughest jobs on earth – I mean managing a home and raising kids…..Managing a home is a duty done with dedication from which you can never take a break…Tiring, stressful whatever the situation be….for me it was lucky coz that brought me to blogging 🙂

    • I agree Jaish and so do many homemakers in our generation. Yet, there are others who hate doing it and feel small and unhappy. I took to blogging and professional writing when I was on a break as well :). I also learnt kathak :).

  32. From the point where you said,’ I hate the term housewife…’ you had me nodding my head vehemently in agreement with you, Rachna! I think too that, to a large extent, factors like, patriarchy, over-stressing on the importance of money and age-old conditioning are responsible for making the homemakers’ roles seem irrelevant and worthless. But, I also feel, that now we, homemakers have begun to realize our own worth, command that acknowledgment, are far more confident, self-assured and convinced that we are not useless. The realization, the awakening process is slow, I agree, but it is there for sure 🙂

    Fantastic post, Rachna! Loved it!

    • Thank you so much Deeps for such warm words of appreciation. Yes, you and I know how to appreciate our worth and make others realize it too. We are living life on our terms and enjoying it too. I wish all homemakers out there can do it — slow and steady.

  33. Oh and yes I loved loved loved the movie too 🙂

  34. I really hope other folks find your blog post right here as useful as I have.
    In my opinion, In India all family member like to live together, and Most homes have a male earner, that’s why women still carry the responsibility of her family is more, This does not mean that women is not important to home maker managing a home and raising a ids properly it is toughest Job in on the earth.
    From socking images

    • Thank you so much, Always Unlucky! And that is the saddest part of the story. A homemaker’s job is the toughest and most challenging in this world. And, yet it is appreciated so little by and large especially by the very families they nurture. This has to change.

  35. I absolutely agree with you Rachna and yes to a certain extent women themselves are responsible. I just hope that more and more people understand that and start valuing the contribution a homemaker makes to the lives.

    Very well done Rachna.

  36. thz true itz our inborn karma i beliv…

  37. Very factual and thoughtful article Rachna. Your writings are very engrossing and I really like that…:)

  38. what you call as mother’s sacrifice for family is her selfless love.

    those days women had very less options to work or take up a job but now time is changing, now we have working women who take care of family as well ..they were not worthless then and they are not worthless even today! it’s our mindless (worthless) thinking that degrades their value in the house ..

    i and my wife both are working, so when she’s busy i take care of the house and cook meals and the same thing i’ll pass on to my kids in future ..to respect women equally!

    • True Rahul! It is the mother’s selfless love, but it needs to be appreciated by the family. Also, she must be encouraged to pursue her own interests even if it might create inconvenience to the other members. I am glad that you are helping out your wife, and that is the right way to go. That is the only way the kids also pick up good habits. My husband helps me too, but then your wife is a working professional. I wonder how many husbands help their wives who are stay at home moms in housework and other chores.

  39. A lot of good points made here, Rachna. Although I wonder if self esteem is related to working vs staying at home. There was once a time women didn’t work (in a manner as happens today) and I’d have a hard time believing that women did not have self esteem back then. Also, I know a equal number of women who work and lack self esteem and those who don’t but don’t have such an issue. Heck, I even know men who’ve worked all their lives and have self esteem issues.

    Being unable to control petulant children or raising them up appropriately is less likely due to self esteem and more likely due to just lack of knowledge or perspective. A lot of us learn on the job. Some of us get it right sooner than others. And some of us learn it the hard way.

    On the respect due to women who are ‘home makers’, couldn’t agree more. I’d add that those women who work deserve the same respect. In fact, being a woman has always been a tough gig from the beginning of time, whether working or not. Men have it relatively easier, and I suspect that most of us men (moi included) are fully clued in on how good we have it:-)

    Respect for a mother starts with (as Mrs. Pattu Raj pointed out) how the father treats the mother. Children are great at picking up cues, especially body language and non verbal signals that we send out. I think we men owe it to all mothers to be conscious of this, and send the right messages all the time. The fact that women (mothers) are easily forgiving could be another reason that children push their luck with them 🙂 At some level, it indicates a certain comfort level.

    We must train our children to think for themselves and speak up when they have an issue. Balancing that prerogative with ensuring that they handle disagreements respectfully is a tricky matter. We need all the good luck that we can get.

    Again, thanks for a great post. Sudha and I plan to check out English-Vinglish. Both of us are big fans of Sridevi!

    • And, your comment is so insightful, Srini. I agree that self-esteem must not have anything to do with working vs. non-working status. But, dig a little deeper and you will find homemakers feeling very sad that they can’t work especially those who have the qualifications and had to give up plum jobs. So somewhere the self-esteem takes a beating. Like I said in the post, most women were raised in my mom’s generation, under strict control of parents, to be good homemakers. They took pride in keeping good homes and raising kids. They never had ambitions to work outside the home. But, people like me enjoy my professional work too and am glad to be doing that. Many women fall in this category.

      Being a good balanced parent is tough, very tough. But, letting kids insult you and dictate decisions to you is distressing. As a mom, I just cannot understand how kids can be this way to their parents.

      All women deserve respect for their roles in raising a family. But homemakers must especially be respected and appreciated because often their roles and work is taken for granted. About women and the respect stemming from fathers, I completely agree.

      Absolutely agree about raising kids who communicate with us, don’t fear us and can share opinions contrary to ours. But, as parents, we must emphasize that with us or with others, this must be done in a respectful, decent manner. I hate brash and rude kids. Somewhere it reflects upon the parents who did not correct them when they first saw the signs of brashness appear. And, I am glad you and wife enjoyed the movie :).

  40. Hi Rachna,

    This is my first time here. Nice post. I second everything you say (as would all the other comments before me) and have been personally trying to effect this change in those around me. But it is very difficult to counter the years of conditioning.

  41. Love how your writing is evolving, Rachana. Keep it up!

  42. I had the same thoughts after watching the movie. It also made me reflect upon my own behaviour towards my mother who is a homemaker. I take her for granted and sometimes, especially during my teen years, had temper tantrums too – being rude was a part of it. Though I made up for it afterwards, I now realize how bad she must have felt. You have touched upon a very important subject through this post and I am so glad you did. I would recommend English Vinglish to anyone, anyday. It’s a beautiful movie with a beautiful message. 🙂

  43. Well whoever said that a job of a homemaker was easy, then they have exaxtly no idea what they’re talking about. Well I had a stay at home mom, and I liked the fact that she was there with me at every point in my life, though she was highly educated, tomorrow, for my kids I don’t think I would give up my career but try and balance the two, lest I waste the 18 years of education in life. Its all about One’s priorities and I definitely feel a woman should be given her space.

    Wonderful read. Loved every bit of it 🙂

    • Thank you Ashwini! I also loved the fact that mom was home with something hot to eat when I got back from school and all ears to hear how my day went. My mom was highly educated as well. I gave up a career because I wanted to be there to enjoy my kids’ childhood. But, I am glad to say that I’ve begun working professionally now that both go to school full time. And, if given a chance I would do it all over again :).

  44. All that needs to be said on this post has already been said and I enjoyed the dialogues as much as the post itself.

    Women need to be assertive and the family will give respect only when they do. We can’t demand respect but command it. And I have seen many women stand tall even when they are crushed and those command respect. you already know my views on this, don’t you? 🙂

  45. Lovely article, Rachna–extremely well-written! Yes, mothers need to set boundaries and work on ensuring they are respected at home. That is crucial–yes, it was painful to watch the teenage girl speak poorly to her mom in the movie. I winced. I remember my own rudeness to my mom when I was teen–I was horrid to her. She must have suffered so much on my account. Yes, children need to learn not just to love but to respect and value their mothers and their fathers. You set a fine example to your children. Am glad you have written this post–others need to learn to.

  46. wonderful post! I just love that the movie showed this aspect with sensitivity and your post just reinforces the notion!

  47. Great post Rachna and you are right SAHMs often do enable others to treat themselves without respect and worth. Self worth can only come from within and if we don’t treat ourselves with respect no one else will. I wrote a post on SAHMs recently and it raised a lot of emotions like your post. Would love your thoughts on it http://www.themomviews.com/dont-judge-a-stay-at-home-mom/

  48. lovely post rachna and yes I loved the movie so much. Your post is so beautifully worded and reinforces the need to cultivate self respect !

  49. Loved the movie! Agree with all your points! Even if a wife is well accomplished, her husband can make her feel small with his words. I have witnessed such instances!

  50. Mothers in all make and model; whether working at home or out of home should be respected. They give up so much to raise their family!

    I also strongly believe in financial independence for the girls. It is absolutely necessary to wade off self pity.

    Good post Rachna! Will try to watch English Vinglish.

    • So true, NRIGirl. I also like to earn my own money and also do something professionally since I had slogged my ass to get a great qualification. But, I am lucky that I could take my sabbatical and now am back to a professional career again at my pace where I can work from home. I am pretty proud of the choices I have made in life and stand by them. Watch the movie, it is quite nice.

  51. Loved this post, Rachna!! Your thoughts resonate with mine :-). The fact is that not only is a homemaker’s working hours 24/7, it isn’t anything that’s creatively stimulating – it’s mostly drudgery. And when educated mothers end up doing that, they feel shortchanged in life. I wanted to watch the movie real bad, but missed it 🙁

  52. And you are bang on, BeingFab. It is the drudgery of the work that is putting off. I hate cleaning personally but love cooking. Try to catch the movie on DVD or TV. Thanks for your visit.

  53. Your posts are always so thought provoking Rachna.

  54. Totally agree with you! hope our generation is able to bring about atleast some change in the mindset, by ourselves not becoming a victim of this thought process

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