>Wanted: A working homemaker

>It’s been more than 8 years of non-stop work for me, and I still don’t know how a teenager who wanted to grow up to do nothing turned into semi-workaholic me. My biggest high in life, for now, is work. And the three years when I was still working but had it easier, I fretted over how I was frittering away my time when I could do so much more. I put a lot of my other life on hold to carry on with work, but it gives me joy.

Having said that, I sometimes grudge the fact that my absence from home for most part of the day makes me less part of the family than the domestic helpers who spend the entire day at my place. I often have the feeling that they’re part of the family life I’m missing out on because I’m at work. For those who don’t know, I live in a joint family, with my in-laws. And I worry, lesser now than I used to in the initial years of my marriage, that by being away from home for such long hours I am making myself totally dispensable to the ‘family’. Everything can happen without me, ‘can’ being the keyword here. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it does.

I know a lot of full time working women – women who don’t just have jobs but careers. And I know they also have this underlying insecurity, like I do. More so if they are mothers. So I know I’m not the odd one out. But I guess it is one of those things I have to make my peace with. And to a great extent I already have. It’s the remainder that still bothers me occasionally.

It’s sad that whenever a woman chooses to step out of the house to work, she’s leaving behind a part of her life she would like to take along with her. What is it – our conditioning or our emotional constitution – that makes us want to inhabit two worlds at the same time? Sometimes I wonder if it really wouldn’t have been better if women had continued to play the role of dedicated homemakers, living to every stereotype of wife, mum, daughter, whatever instead of straddling two worlds and spending their lives trying to bridge the divide between the two. I know I would be a more relaxed person if I didn’t have in my head the idea of working. Or if I did, it would be better if I didn’t also have the idea of being a homemaker while away at work. Then I could just put my head and heart into one thing. Where did this idea of ‘woman of substance’ come from, of this woman who can manage both the worlds efficiently? What kind of superwomen set such high-stress precedents for the rest to follow?

At no point am I suggesting that I’d like to retire from my work and take up the stay-at-home role, simply because I cannot. It’s not me. I do wish though I could get rid of compunctions to be a ‘complete’ woman. Is there such a thing as a complete woman, as the Raymond ad would like to sell to us the idea of a complete man?

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9 responses »

  1. >I have been working for a decade now.. Phew.. Never imagined that I would work for so long.. Now I need a break.. Not to make my presence felt at home.. Only to give myself a break from this routine and just relax for sometime.. But I cant.. Have a home loan now.. But yes, maintaining a fine balance between work life and house front is a tough task.. I specially admire those women who are married, yet work and produce the desired outputs so efficiently.. Hats off to you and other such super women.. You are a complete woman, D.. You dont need any such Raymond.. :-))

  2. >Its my belief that you can be either a complete career person or a complete home maker. Working women do so while entrusting their homes to others- either in-laws or domestic help. Homemakers can't have others working by proxy in office for them, so they remain only homemakers. Balancing the tightrope becomes especially difficult once you become a mother.But there are those who maintain the balance out of necessity. Unfortunately, I fall into that category. On a tangent, I'm glad you've only written 4 posts that I haven't read in the long gap. Last time, you'd written a lot more.. 🙂

  3. >@Soulmate: I ain't no superwoman. I'm just a victim of my times.@Prats: Ok.@JLT: I agree with you totally. About the number of posts, shame on me 😦

  4. >you ARE a complete woman.. the complete woman is complete unto herself. She needs no one else's validation.. really. As a working mom who also runs an NGO after the baby has gone to sleep,i have this to say: I really, really thought that i will be best as a SAHM. The Other convinced me otherwise and forced me to work. When i stay at home (which is sometimes), i realise that am a much better mom when i come home from work.. our interaction is a lot richer, very exclusive, and we enjoy our time together. When i am a SAHM, tend to take our time together for granted, get irritated and generally.. just dont value whatever time we have. But thts just me.. am sure other mothers have a lot else to say.

  5. >Well I couldnt agree more. Its a dilemma that I face everyday!! I am getting a little tired of trying to reach expectations that seems to be always raising the benchmark!

  6. >@How Do We Know: I'm sure it's difficult for working moms, and a very difficult choice to make too.@Chrysalis: With you on this.@RSP: It's exhausting, isn't it?

  7. >so so true.As a working mother staying in a joint family, I not only feel indispensable, but also feel that i have no say in some of the nitty gritty things like instructing the maid on what to clean, doing up the house etc.Anyway i guess there is a trade off to everything in life.

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