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She toils each day to keep the household running smoothly. She ensures that the husband and the children are fed and clothed. She balances the household accounts. She struggles with rising prices and a static household budget.
She runs around serving everyone. She is the first one to wake up and the last to go to sleep. She is the unpaid, under-appreciated, and taken for granted housewife.
The term "housewife" is in itself derogatory. It implies that the sole purpose of the wife is to take care of home and hearth. It suggests that her world is confined to the four walls of her house. It limits her to cooking, cleaning, and rearing children.
A "housewife" is not supposed to have any ambitions of her own. She is required to always be one step behind her husband. His wishes should always be honored, no matter how she feels.
Her only aim in life should be to raise her children and please her husband. If she's living with her parents-in-law, she should cater to their whims and fancies as well.
She's little more than a maid. And an unpaid one at that. The ridiculous expectations don't end here.
After working like a donkey for the whole day, she is supposed to dress up like a glamor doll and hang on to her husband's arm at parties. She should simper and gush about how much her husband loves her and cares for her.
Anything that goes wrong in the house is her fault. If the children do not do well at school, she is blamed. She should have taught them better.
If her husband is having problems at work, it is definitely her fault. Her kundli has a certain dosh that is jeopardizing his career. Or she did not keep the required vrat for the upteempth time and hence incurred the wrath of the gods. Or she did not wear enough jewelry to keep her husband in good health.
Anything that she does well is just her duty. She made an extra effort to cook something nice for dinner? It's high time she did; we were getting tired of aloo gobi anyway. Children topping their exams? After all, they have received their sharp brains from their father.
Dear husbands (and parents-in-law!), were you to get hired help to do all that your "housewife" does, you would find that your income does not cover the cost. That's salary for a cook, a housekeeper, a maid, a laundry service, a butler, a tutor, a presswala, a live-in nanny, a driver, and a personal assistant.
So the next time you come home from a hard day's work, declaring that you are tired, please remember that your "housewife" does not have the luxury of putting up her legs on the sofa to rest after her work day ends.
In fact, her work day never ends.
Open your eyes to the drudgery that she is subjected to each day. Appreciate the sheer amount of work she puts in to make the house livable.
And do not belittle her contribution toward the home, for it is far too valuable to be measured in terms of money.