Opinion: What are housewives in India collectively doing wrong?

Thu, 24 Aug by Anuja 

In our parochial society, a women’s place in the family is seemingly limited to roles like daughter, wife, mother etc., which somewhere inhibits their mobility and their horizon. A girl is brought up where she is taught ideal behavior, how to cook, how to keep things organized and so on. And this becomes her life. Despite being educated, she is not expected to do many things as it is the man’s domain. Being a homemaker is what she is mostly confined to either by choice or pressure.

A homemaker or housewife is one who takes care of most of work around the house. She is instrumental in the well being of her children, husband and in-laws. However, what next? There comes a time when her children leave the nest to pursue their studies, their careers, her husband is busy at work. This is mostly the time when they start to feel restless. They mostly have put aside their hobbies on hold, never explored their interest. Many middle aged women start complaining of health problems which at times are psychological. The root cause is the feeling of being needed. This feeling is essential in realising the self worth of an individual. Many of my aunts in their 40’s somewhere feel this. Accompanying this is the feeling of having lost out. They could have achieved so much, so much of potential never unleashed. How do they effectively utilise their time?

Not only this many of them accommodate the needs of the various members of the family leading to an unnecessary burden on herself. She will cook four different types of curries and puris and roti’s because while her husband prefers roti, her child will only have puris with paneer. This results in children making demands every day. What should be considered a privilege becomes a daily thing? And truly where does it stop? The housewife confined to her kitchen perpetuating the notion that kitchen is for the ladies while men, boys don’t have to learn it. In a class of 450 when a professor asked the boys if they would prepare tea for their wives, nobody raised their hands. When asked if the wife was sick, then few hands were raised. Can you see the psyche? 

Housewives need to stop catering to every whims and fancies of her family. She is the glue which holds the family and she has to be the one who teaches about equality, load sharing and being considerate. She also needs to develop her interests, go out of the house and see the world because sitting at home is unlikely to broaden perspective. Learning is growing. She has to be the one who needs to teach her children to be self dependent, be more emphatic. More importantly she needs to realise her self-worth, she needs to go beyond her conventional roles, constantly innovate herself. It’s easier to lose oneself when the kids are young but after a while the loneliness creeps in when this part is over. There is a need to be active in both in personal sphere and socially. Be a part of something good. Be more then you are. 

Anuja 




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