Saturday, April 19, 2014

No-Nonsense Chayaisms-Housewife


“I am just a housewife”, is how, many women identify themselves. By doing so, they are downgrading the status of a home maker and underestimating the role she plays. I am going to dwell on this topic longer than I have done on others as I believe that without a housewife, there will be neither home nor human race and a conscientious and dutiful housewife is truly a treasure beyond, measure. Even working women are basically housewives as they too look after the home, take care of children and attend to husband’s needs. But hey have a salary cheque coming in every month which boosts their self confidence and sometimes gives them a winning edge in the battle of egos with hubby! I am here referring to full time housewives who either fulfil their role excellently or are frittering their time in idle pursuits. I am tempted to quote some tips for a housewife:

Have dinner ready: Prepare yourself. Touch up your makeup, put ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be happy and interesting.

Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces, comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are God’s creatures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimise all noise. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

Don’t greet him with problems or complaints: Don’t complain if he is late for dinner. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice.

Listen to him: You may have dozens of things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first. Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or other pleasant entertainments.

Sounds outdated since this was written in 1951 but ask any man and he will opt for such a woman even today! A home is like an organisation and a housewife is the MD. She decides what is good for the family and it is her prime duty to give them the best. Since the husband brings in the pay cheque, she has to use it judiciously to optimise its use. Unfortunately, this ‘profession’ of a housewife is not recognised either by the family or by society. So she feels it is a thankless and payless job! How does one motivate housewives to rise above the ‘just syndrome’ to “I am a home maker” mode? It is by quantifying her contribution in terms of industry rates!

How much is a housewife worth?
- Child Care -  Rs.3500.00
If you can get one to take care of the kids, bathe them, feed them and not pinch them when they cry
- Cook – Rs.16500.00
Try getting someone who spends so much time at the cooking range to cater to different tastes in the family!
-Dishwasher and kitchen cleaner – Rs.1500.00
Four meals a day, that many dishes to wash and that many times to wipe the counter and wash the sink!
- Dhobi – Rs.1500.00
Washing without mixing colours or breaking buttons, ironing without burning a hole and folding and keeping away so you can access it even 2 minutes before leaving for work after reading the paper in the bathroom for half an hour!
-Secondary maid- Rs.1500.00
To pick up things around the house, redo all the cleaning by the maid who stays away from work every 2 days.
-Public Relations – Rs.20,000.00
For trying to stay on the right side of in-laws and their relatives, attend all family functions and think of gifts for all occasions and give believable excuses for the husband’s absence at religious events.
- Nurse- Rs.7500.00
Sitting up all night with the husband when he had a mild headache after the office party, taking care of aged in-laws, giving kids medicines every time the weather charges.
- Tutor – Rs.6000.00
Coping with the home work of children and relearning math and science you learnt at school so they ca write their projects and tests. Tally all those figures and you’ll find she could be earning a cool amount more than you!!

 This does not include the love and care and spiritual nurturing that a housewife provides. And no Sundays or holidays and a 24 hour working schedule! But what does she get in return for her labour of love? Not even gratitude! Maybe that is the reason why housewives do not have self esteem. A good housewife is one who fulfils all the above criteria and her home is like a successful corporate entity. She becomes a ‘Home engineer’. A sloppy one deserves the title ‘just a housewife’.