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Just the other day, our bunch of girls/women were discussing something about professional writing, and a lovely lady complimented me on how I am able to pack in so many things in my routine and do them well. Of course, I felt happy. Every compliment is a motivator and an energizer on many levels. After thanking her, I chipped in that I owe it to a very supportive family. I do what I do and it makes me very happy. She then pointed me to a very valid observation – no, it is not about not taking compliments well :-D. I do love compliments and take them well. But her observation was,

“Why do women always immediately start thanking their families when they are complimented?”

She even suggested that I write a blog post about it.

Write a blog post about it is what I hear and read quite regularly these days. In the past week, I’ve had 5 conversations that have veered there. Even the husband now says, “A topic for a blog post!” 😀 Okay, so let us get to the business of dissecting this one.  And this is rooted not only in Indian culture but something that I have seen all around the world. Traditionally and even now, home and hearth are a woman’s responsibility as much as bringing the bacon to the table is a man’s. Yes, before you jump up and strangle me — women earn and earn well these days, but I am talking about traditional expectations. A man quitting a job and living on his wife’s salary is almost unheard of; whereas, a woman, a well-earning professional woman, can quit her job and be at home without anyone batting an eyelid.

Women have been considered nurturers and care givers since time immemorial. Are they more suited to it? I don’t know. In my home, I am the better parent in terms of patience, doing things with children, teaching them, making projects with them,  listening to them and being around them. And this comes from the husband, so I do take it at face value. I also regularly cook at home. I enjoy cooking. It is my way of ensuring that everyone at home gets hot, nutritionally balanced meals. It is my way of gifting us health. Yes, I could technically employ a cook. But, I prefer not to. Now, it is out of my free will. No one has pushed me into it. My husband also cooks. He has a few signature dishes that he excels at. He is able to manage regular cooking even the rotis well. Yet, I handle the responsibility of daily cooking.

I also have the responsibility of housekeeping. I do delegate work, make the kids dust or do errands but by and large, most of the work is done by me. I do have a domestic help to do regular chores. And when she does not come, my husband chips in equally (when he doesn’t offer, I twist his arm!). I was very clear when I had my children that I wanted to be hands on with them. With no support of mummies and daddies on both sides, we singlehandedly raised the children through every illness, sleepless night, every tantrum, while holding on to our jobs (me sporadically)! In the past 14 years that my husband and I have been together, there have been multiple times that I tried my hand at something professionally after my sabbaticals, twice I gave up as it was getting too difficult for me to manage all. My husband took up the economic burden without a thought or a word. We ran on single income. I was never asked to go work so that we could have extra. Yes, I got that choice.

And then when I wanted to work again and I have been a freelance Content Writer for the past 6 years now, I took it up. Now I work from home and handle the duties of being a wife, parent, homemaker. I also handle responsibilities for my company. I took it slow and steady and even now I don’t work full time. Now, I talk personally, it would be impossible to do it all if my family did not stand behind me in support. Just the same way as it works for every man who excels at his work. It is not always about the chores they do but also how they motivate you and take pride in the work you do and stand by you especially through your mistakes and failures. If they did not, perhaps I would still be doing all that I do but would not be in the happy space that I am in currently.

So, in my opinion, I am not being modest just mindful of the fact and acknowledging the contribution and joy that my family brings to me both personally and professionally. I am also aware that not every working woman is that fortunate. In a similar vein, I attribute my strength of character, professional commitment and honesty to my father. He has been the strong backbone that I have always leaned on. He says less does more. To my sister and I, he has been a father who taught us very early in life to be as equal to men in thought, deed and ambition. No wonder then that he supports my sister-in-law wholeheartedly in her career and my sister in hers.

When I got married, I did not draw up a charter to divide the household chores. We took up what we felt each was good at. When we saw the other having a low day, we chipped in. When one of us needs to be away, the other chips in for the missing person and does much more. And what makes it all worth it is a family that loves you and appreciates you for what you do for them. I am just doing the same for them.

Have I answered the question adequately? What do you opine?

Pic courtesy: Freedigitalphotos.net

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37 Thoughts on “Women and family considerations!

  1. Rachna,

    You spoke my words. I am a working mother of 18 months old boy, and it wouldn’t have been possible if my husband had not been supportive of my decision.

    I loved that line where you said, “it’s not about what work they do but how they motivate you, take pride in your work and all….

    Very well said

  2. Ofcourse it’s true without our family it would be so difficult…. I like the way you write about such things Rachna…so balanced… I’m glad I found you through this boon that blogging is… It’s nice to read about like minded and even more balanced women like you..It helps us iron out the things we might be missing…Never stop writing! And thanks to your family for supporting you so much that we get to read you here
    nabanita recently posted…Never be too soon to Judge!My Profile

    • Awww Naba! This is such a fabulous compliment. I will cherish it for a long long time. I am so glad to have met you on this journey as well. Glad that you find my writing balanced. Somehow, confrontation has never been my style, and that reflects in my opinions. I hope that we can keep learning from each other’s experiences. That is the beauty of blogging!
      Rachna recently posted…Women and family considerations!My Profile

  3. Ditto, ditto, except that I have never had a job. Even without a job, maintaining all the household work can be taxing leaving little or no time to myself. Yet I am doing whatever makes me feel good. My family do understand and make it easier for me.

  4. I think you have answered the question well. None of this would be possible without the help of a supportive family. But hey! “You” deserve the compliment – you must be doing something right so that every one else in your family supports you. Don’t you think so? 🙂 I really liked the part where you say there was no pressure on you to go to work so that there would be another source of income. I think women lose it when they have that kind of pressure from the family. Look after the home, bring the income and be pressurized to do so – now that would be exacting!
    Destiny’s child recently posted…Are you a social animal?My Profile

    • Absolutely DC! I actually should have written that I said, “Thank you” first! Of course, I take credit for my talents and achievements. Without me they wouldn’t be possible. But for me they do go hand-in-hand with the sweat and toil that all those close to me have put in. It is tough on women, believe me. The society, the conditioning, our own upbringing and qualifications that pull you between an ambitious careerwoman and a pragmatic mother and wife. Every woman faces the dilemma to balance her work and family life. Some of them like me are fortunate to have people supporting our decisions; thus we can excel. I genuinely believe so. Have seen enough women around me to know that I am fortunate that way.
      Rachna recently posted…Women and family considerations!My Profile

  5. Rachna,

    First let me compliment you on your writing skills. You have envious writing skills (now, I dont envy pple easily)! Your posts resonate with me so well and in this post too you answered the questions aptly. I also attribute my happiness (and everything else) to my family not because I feel I am incompetent but because I believe happiness and goodness are always shared. In the same fashion, without hesitation and rather proudly, I also credits of my husband’s accomplishments as well.

    Also I feel crediting others for your success or goodness helps you in staying grounded and this means more success and more benevolence! 🙂

    • Surabhi, thank you so much! You made me soar high with your warm words. Thank you for connecting with the post. I agree with what you have said, I take credit for a lot of things that my husband and kids achieve, and I openly give them credit for the same. Of course, first and foremost, it is our talents that make us what we are. Yes, I agree about the staying grounded and also feeling rightly grateful for the contribution of others in your life.

  6. You have said it all so brilliantly!

    My success is my own. Saying thank you to my family for their support and backing keeps me sane, grounded .
    Gratitude makes sure I don’t take them or their love or support for granted…

    The husband gives credit too.. never once has he said that his success or merits are his alone.. so, its pretty balanced out 🙂

    Like you have said – we don’t have a chart drawn up.. he cleans because he does a better job and I enjoy cooking.
    I would say – we both pitch in to make sure our home is a home filled with books, laughter and most importantly love.
    Pixie recently posted…Hope springs eternal. Always.My Profile

  7. Well, I’m not sure if you answered her question or not! I think she was talking about your writing skills and I think that is something that you had and developed apart from your family!
    Yes, definitely we have to credit our family for being able to do certain things, manage so much, and have the independence of decision making! And, I fully expect that your husband (and mine) attribute their success to their family in similar lines!
    Would I have achieved far more if I were single? Definitely! But, I would have missed out on so much more!

  8. I construed her compliment about my ability to pack in so much both professionally and personally. And for that apart from my talent (which is obvious and for which I thanked her :)) I feel family is more important. You have totally hit the nail on the head by your last sentences. That is exactly what I feel! Thanks Rosh!

  9. Agree word to word with what you have written in this post! 🙂 Give yourself a pat on the back Rachna for doing such a good job of juggling everything and making a family that knows what it means to be a family 🙂

  10. I always appreciate your clarity of thinking. Once again very well articulated. I agree with your views. I have seen, in most cases, it is not only women but men also who end up making career compromises for sake of children. While my mother chose to be a homemaker, my father took up bad postings that cost him promotions to ensure we were in towns where I could get good educational facilities. Finally if I look at it, dad was not at all excited about his job – it was just something he had to do to get bread on the table and pay for my schooling – actually my mom had more opportunities to do satisfying things – like her cooking innovations.

    • Thank you, Karthik! Yes, you are right! Men and many men slog in bad jobs only because they have to pay bills and EMIs or run families. My husband also gave up some lucrative opportunities because it meant staying away from the family. So, I completely agree with what you are saying. If women make sacrifices so do men. It is just that they remain unsung.

  11. “You know women have a long way to go when you hear them say, my husband is such a wonderful person. he lets me do what I want to”.

    Having said that, if a man needs a supportive wife to succeed, so does a happy and a successful woman.

    • Letting you do it is not the same as being 100% behind you in everything you do. I did write that I would have still done everything I do but may not be in the happy space that I am in. That said, for my multiple hobbies, passions and jobs, I really owe it to my family much more than my talent which was the point of this post. Thank you for reading, Purba!

  12. Very well written!! I think for anyone to succeed, a happy and supportive environment at home is crucial, whether man or woman. I suppose women have been prevented from living life on their own terms for so long that when their partners support them, it becomes a matter worthy of great praise. Men have had supportive wives since time began, but very few go forth to acknowledge their wives in public!!! You are a very talented lady, Rachna, and an inspiring one too – so rock on!!

    • I am sure if more husbands were blogging or openly talking about their wives, they would acknowledge their contributions too. Thank you for your warm words, Fab! Glad you connected with the post.

  13. Very well said Rachna! You are a wonderful writer. Thanks for such a thought provoking piece of writing. I too feel lucky to have been blessed with a husband who supports me in every thing. He doesn’t enjoy household work but does it to support me in discharging my official duties. He even yells at me if he finds any lack of commitment on my part in my official duty. I don’t mind this, because I know he wants me to thrive at whatever roll I do. Though I know I am not a great writer, whatever I write I owe it to my husband and daughter. Though I am a successful and confident Govt. Officer, I never had the courage to show my writings to anyone. I have always been writing and tearing off pages ( and of course typing and deleting after I started using computer) before showing them to anyone, as I found them totally worthless. Once, by chance my they read a piece of my writing and forced me to start blogging. Your blog made me ponder over the importance of family support for a woman to succeed. Thanks for the beautiful post!

  14. Such an inspiring read. I admire working mothers because I’ve seen people I know manage things so wonderfully well, with support from their kids and their spouse as well.Probably a few years from the line I might be able to relate to it. Wonderfully written 🙂

    • I admire working mothers too, Ashwini! I know how much extra we have to put in. But I also know that they would be miserable and angry if they did not have support at home. Yes, we will exchange notes a few years down the line :). Thanks for reading!

  15. I ditto your thoughts, Rachna. Like you spoke my mind. Every family has their own systems in place, just as every family member shares a unique bond with another member – husband-wife, mother-children, father-child. As long as your house works around the fulcrum of happiness, you don’t need to change anything. And even if you do, it still remains your personal way of working things out. Just like giving credit to your man does!
    Honest, well-thought post!

  16. Completely agree with every word you wrote, Sakshi! We don’t have to conform to others’ opinion of what constitutes our empowerment or free will. We figure it out among ourselves in our own home. The bottomline is nurturing, loving relationships and the path is always individual. Always a pleasure to read your comments.

  17. And how well put!! Exactly, a family covers up for you when you are busy and when you are sick. Blogging would not b possible if your family did not give you that space!
    Brilliant and lovely post !

  18. agree agree agree … 🙂

  19. Thank you, thank you, thank you :-D.

  20. ‘We took up what we felt each was good at’ that sums it up nicely Rachna. I often hear people rising with negative emotions when we talk of women’s responsibilities to run a home but the practice may have come because she is really good and better than the man at it. 🙂

  21. Nicely shared and very well weaved in.

  22. You know, it is very fashionable these days to give a feminist twist to every statement and be shocked. I fully appreciate the sentiments voiced in the post as well as the justification of thanking the family that not only supports but encourages you to be be the fab woman that you are — excelling at everything you do. Sometimes I have had to armtwist my family to stand behind me and encourage me. What do you say to that? Or should I ask, what would the feminists say to that? 😀

    • hahaha Zephyr I can quite imagine that. What would they say if I said the same thing about arm twisting :-D. Seriously, sometimes I wonder why everything has to fall into the mode of being politically correct or approved by feminist standards. I am a feminist too but that does not stop me from appreciating my family. Glad you resonate my views.

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