Do you know someone who is a full-time housewife? Maybe you've looked at her with envy thinking what a nice life! She stays at home all day. No tensions, pressures or deadlines. However, there is another side to it.
The job (and it is a full-time one), of looking after home and children is no longer valued much by society. When a woman goes out to work she meets new people, gets recognition, and a salary. The home-maker's job, while equally valuable, does not produce such tangible rewards. Even praise and recognition are often lacking because the work is so often taken for granted. As a result, the home-maker may often experience a sense of low self-esteem. A woman is often dependent on her family to encourage and appreciate her contributions, and when this does not happen, her self-esteem can drop drastically. And in a world where money is given so much importance, the fact that she is not earning can further lower her confidence.
"A woman's work is never done". Far from being a 9-to-5 job, this one goes on 24/7. There is no point at which she can say the work is completed - there is always something more that could be done. The work may seem mundane and repetitious as well. Clean, cook, serve, wash up...and then it's time to cook again!
Especially when the children are very young, the woman may feel tied to the home. However much she loves her children, she also needs and misses stimulating adult company. She may also feel that her education and talents are being under-utilized.
The homemaker may look with envy at the working woman who looks smart, poised and competent. She may even worry if her husband is comparing her with his women colleagues.
If you are feeling stuck in your role as housewife, below are some helpful suggestions on how to cope.
1. First recognize and appreciate yourself for what you do. You are not 'doing nothing'. In fact you are doing a job that no one else can do so well. By spending time, especially with young children, you can make a tremendous impact on their growth and well-being. You are also saving a lot of money that would otherwise have to be spent on childcare and housekeeping.
2. If you have made a conscious choice to stay home with your children, then make sure that time really counts (see article on Quality time). However don't spend every waking hour with them, and do encourage them to be independent and responsible - it's good for them and for you.
3. Once your children are older, look for opportunities to be involved outside the home, either for voluntary or paid work. It feels good to do something outside the home as well, and feel that you are utilizing some of your talents and skills that may not be used at home. You could even take time to learn a new skill or language or update skills that you already have. Keep in touch with friends, and spend some time with them on a regular basis.
4. Take care of yourself. Eat balanced meals, take time for exercise and grooming as well as rest and relaxation. Only when you are refreshed and happy you can make your home a happy, healthy place for your family. Include yourself in the list of people for whom you care so well.
A Note to Husbands
It's so easy to take your wife for granted. It is a luxury to have someone at home to keep the home running smoothly and take care of the children. But remember the work involved can be monotonous and boring, and it is largely unrewarded. So do make it a point to recognize and appreciate what she does and teach your children to do the same. Acknowledge her contributions in public, when possible.
Most housewives hate having to ask their husbands for money. Do discuss your budget jointly and work out a system whereby your wife has access to money and does not have to account for every paisa.
Besides, whether or not the wife earns, a couple needs to see their money and possessions not as 'his' or 'hers' but 'ours'. Involve her in decisions related to money and make sure she knows where money is invested, and is familiar with banking procedures etc.
And after a day of being cooped up in the house (especially when the children are very young), she needs a break. Take over the children so that she gets some time for herself; help her find ways to meet friends and to update her skills. Encourage her also to read and use her mind, discuss some aspects of your work with her. You will enjoy more stimulating conversations, your relationship will grow and she'll be a happier, more fulfilled person - which translates into a happier home.