The day has begun. Apart from the menial yet important tasks of the house itself – getting the house in order, washing clothes etc. and then of course the daily task of buying essential items for the house, so much work is packed in one single day in the life of a homemaker and yet sometimes there is a feeling that there is something that is missing. Having been on both sides of the fence; a working woman as well as a homemaker, I realize what is missing.
Being a working woman is much more stressful than being a homemaker – not because being a homemaker is easier but simply because there is an additional responsibility of workplace commitments and deadlines. Yet there is a sense of achievement when those very deadlines are met successfully and there is appreciation coming your way for it.
During my time as a working woman, I had my share of a successful career and have been through the rigmarole of deadlines, delegation and people management. For more than 10 years now, I have been a freelancer. Yet there are times, especially when I hear tales of achievements of an ex-colleague, a friend, or even a family member, that I wonder if I made the right decision of choosing to be a homemaker.
At some point in time, there is even a feeling of inadequacy – even though the choice of giving it all up was a voluntary one and not due to unfavourable circumstances or unfavourable people. This feeling of inadequacy, by the way has nothing to do with financial benefits. Simply put, it is just about one’s self esteem.
Appreciation at the workplace
Suppose a kid is unwell at home, things have been a little stressful; the spouse is also traveling abroad and in the midst of such a stressful situation, the homemaker is still calm, goes about her chores as normally as possible and eventually things are in control. Likewise, there is a major deadline at work; there is staff shortage because of some illness or emergency at staff’s homes. But as a leader, the crisis has been handled well by convincing other staff to stay on and finish the work in exchange of leaves on some other day and thus the deadline has been met.
In both scenarios, a crisis situation was handled well; at the workplace there will be appreciation for the work done and in some cases, a written one too. But at the home front, it is just another day and a situation which women face the world over.
Similarly, when a new dish is tried and it comes out well and the entire family likes it, it is a very happy feeling. Yet it cannot be anywhere close to the feeling of standing in a room filled with some senior executives and you standing and giving a presentation and getting applauded at the end of it. Likewise, being able to bargain with the vegetable vendor for a few rupees can never make up for the positive feedback that you get when you are in a one to one with your subordinate.
A boost to one’s confidence
This definitely is not about money. It is simply about self esteem, confidence levels, recognition and a sense of achievement. Knowing that one is a great homemaker, has everything in order in the house and maintains the house in a spick and span manner and being appreciated at work for getting the work done professionally and flawlessly are two different things. I would reiterate that this has got nothing to do with what anyone thinks of me. It is simply my own yearning for this kind of appreciation.
This also doesn’t mean that I value myself less because of not being a working woman. Not at all, yet I also know that every single achievement, no matter how big or small is a boost to my confidence.
The reason being that someone who is less educated than me too can excel in managing the home or bargaining with the vegetable vendor; the real test of my education, my knowledge and my efficiency is at managing things and people at my workplace because everybody at my level there is equally or better educated than me and surely I have to be different than them or do things differently to set myself apart and that is what is a challenge as well as a motivation.
And this is precisely the reason why women should continue doing something in a professional way, for as long as they can, despite their family responsibilities.
A sense of fulfilment
I could be having a decent bank balance and I could be taking enough holidays in a year, yet the sense of fulfilment that I have when my articles are appreciated and received well is altogether a different one, even if it doesn’t involve any monetary benefit.
Sometimes it is simply a matter of doing something worthwhile, something different and being recognized for it. It is always nice to hear that you are beautiful even if you know that you are.
This post was originally featured in Women’s web.