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