“You’ll be just a housewife.” said a high school classmate to a very baffled me. A self-proclaimed palmist (of the street-side category), she announced my destiny to a group of highly determined (mostly pressurized by parents) ladies who were on roads to becoming serious professionals. I do not believe in palmistry, numerology, and any mojo but I really like mocking those who claim to know how to read destiny. I took offence to the “just a housewife” part which implied that being a housewife was not an enough purpose of life. I was myself determined to become a working professional at the time, but was still a strong supporter of “Homemaker” as a profession having seen the successful role my Nani (grandmother) and Mom had played in family fostering, child upbringing, and home management. Today, when I am a self-employed landlady and a stay-at-home homemaker, I have decided to babble endlessly about the great importance of homemakers; therefore, I write Babbling Abbie: Chitchat Of A Mad Homemaker.
“Men don’t like nagging housewives.” said a divorced socialite lady to my mother once. She had abandoned her husband when she found out he had developed interests in another woman. Unfortunately, she blamed herself for not being the hip and glam housewife who could have anchored her husband for eternity. By “nagging housewives” she meant homemakers who would discuss their share of work hurdles with their soulmates when they came home from work at the end of the day. In contrast, it was okay if the husband would vent his work fury at dinner by being mean and snobby. This is where I discovered that women themselves did not give themselves the importance they deserved.
“Do something instead of just sitting at home.” said my father a couple of days back. He expects me to do some white collar job at a Fortune 500 or Blue Chip company with my MBA degree. He, and a couple of other socialites, think that I would be putting a good MBA in Human Resource Management to waste if I “just sit at home”. My “just-sit-at-home” job includes home management: groceries, finance management, bill payments, cooking, cleaning, home maintenance, property management: property rentals and tenant management, family management: attending to family’s health concerns, and social/emotional management: tackling the social meets and greets, and keeping an emotional balance in household affairs. I am not the only Superwoman, every other woman on the planet is doing the same set of awesome things. And every other Superwoman is not being acknowledged for working her fingers to the bone. Even if the are not self-employed, like me, and earn from home, they are keeping the home and family functioning. The importance of their rockstar performance can only be recognized if they are removed from the show for a couple of months. I am certain that the working, corporate male will crumble when he does not get his hot curry on the table when he returns from work, the unattended children will be ready to rip his work tuxedo to shreds, and the piling unpaid bills and domestic chores will sent him howling to an asylum. So every man who is fond of using “just a” before saying “housewife” should rethink how his corporate-social skeleton is still working.
My babble is in no way to dishonor men but to highlight the general concept of underestimating a housewife, or a stay-at-home individual like they have no purpose of life. The same goes for working women as well because there are always such prickly elements in every sorority that like poking stay-at-home women with “what do you intend to do now?”, or “what next?”, or “what do you DO all day?”. There is an entire world that each homemaker is running even if it does not show up on the professional/corporate radar. They are providing care to the elderly at home, they are packing lunches for kids or siblings or siblings’ kids, they are picking and dropping kids to and from school, they are helping kids complete their assignments, they are also cheering for kids in the spectators’ stands when others are busy working desk jobs, they are at supermarkets and wholesalers buying grocery, they are in the kitchen conjuring delicious recipes; and even inventing their own, for dinner, they are everywhere while others are serving desk jobs. Oh, and while everybody is doing a 9 to 5, they are doing a 24/7 most of the time! That’s overtime, and in fact it is all the time.
Babbling Abbie, as I was saying, is my life as I live it as a proud, single homemaker. There are daily musings, struggles, stories, and my latest likes and interests. So, grab a cup of Chai, relax, and unwind. Let’s see how much we have in common.