Yo-Yo Feminism and the Unsung Glories of a Die-Hard Housewife…

My mom had this plaque on the living room wall when I was a kid. It read…

I’m just a little housewife

With dishes three times a day

With laundry and cleaning and cooking

And toys to put away

Now it’s not that I mind the housework

Or the screaming kids at play 

It’s that husband that burns me

When he says with a smile

Did you do anything today??!!??       

I’d like to say that is the story of my life. But that wouldn’t be true. I go back and forth between being a domestic goddess and a die-hard feminist.  You just have to walk into the house to know which avatar has taken hold of me. The DG version will have the house vacuumed, dishes done and dinner prepared well ahead of time. She will also be humming a tune as she scrubs the tub and she might even bake a batch of cookies for the kids.

It’s a whole different story when the feminist takes over. You will have to hop over the shoes strewn in the foyer to get to the living room, from where you can see the mountain of dishes piled up in the sink. Your truly will be on the couch wearing a grungy T-shirt and stained PJs. As the kids rummage the kitchen for something to eat, la femme reluctantly uproots herself from the couch and grudgingly makes dinner. Cupboards will be slammed, pots and pans banged around, while she mutters something about being a slave!

The unsuspecting husband walks in. “Hello”, he pipes. Only to be met with an icy stare. He knows better than to say something because that is all she needs. One word and she’ll start her tirade against all men and the thankless job of being a housewife.

Out here in the U.S., nobody uses the term housewife. It’s home maker or stay-at-home mom, which are equally unglamorous, unless you are in a reality show – The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills! These glam dolls just have to dress up, have lunch dates and dinner parties, launch perfumes, vodkas or clothing lines (another excuse for a party!). They also meet with their dermatologists and plastic surgeons regularly. They are a poor representation of the common housewife and a sorry lot.

While there is some part of me that envies them- the part that doesn’t like housework I’m guessing – I wouldn’t last a day in their silicone/botox world. Also being a person who hates the limelight I’d rather live a life of obscurity than have a camera crew taping my every move! So all I can do is pretend I’m a diva and expect the imaginary help to do the chores. When I’m done with being a diva or the house starts to stink, whichever come first, I suck it up and go back to being domestic goddess.

An unpaid job is a thankless job. There is no reward for cleaning up your house except that you have a clean house. There is no reward for cooking fresh meals for your family, except that you all enjoy vibrant health. There is no glory in showing up day after day at the bus stop to pick up your kids after school. No glory in sweating it out in a hot soccer field as your child plays. No bonuses to be had. No promotions to work for. Just the quiet satisfaction of watching your children grow up. Just having enough time to smell the flowers. Just the wisdom to know that life is magical and is unfolding right before your eyes.

Oh who am I kidding? I have often wished fairy god mother would show up, wave her wand and turn me into a princess and turn the mice and cockroaches in my house into maids, cooks and ladies-in-waiting! Until then I will never cease to sing my glories, be a domestic goddess and fight for my rights!

P.S. Domestic goddess just read this post and she insists there are NO mice or cockroaches in the house. Did I mention she was appalled?

26 thoughts on “Yo-Yo Feminism and the Unsung Glories of a Die-Hard Housewife…

  1. LOL! hit the nail bang on the head gal! We all go through both phases almost every week, and its heartening to note we all have the jekyll and hyde in us!

  2. Awesome read. I can completely relate though I do have help to do the cleaning and I am a working mom, I oscillate between being feminist and having dinner ready after a tiring day are work!

  3. Loved, loved, loved the article … quirky and hilariously funny and so very true … once again have to say that I loved it 🙂

  4. I laughed more times reading than I can say. It’s a never ending struggle and it isn’t just housewives who have it. My husband in a moment of profound wisdom gave me a fridge magnet that reads, “Dull women have immaculate houses.” Words to live by when the goddess is on holiday.

  5. I laughed, giggled, frown and laughed again. In the end I so understand your conundrum. In my case it’s my cat staring at me with accusing eyes when I haven’t cleaned our his box… LOL.

  6. i think that piece was given by uday chettan .Papa you know he has no comments . how come you remember every word of it .amma

  7. Nice post, I feel like this is the way I would be as a stay-at-home mom. I was always jealous of my friends growing up who had a mom to walk them home from the bus stop, I was one of the few “latch-key” kids who would come home to an empty house and have rides arranged to and from soccer practice. I think you’re kids are very lucky to have you around even if you are in feminism mode.

  8. It says only when job is not done the value of it is known to the home people the pain and the effort it takes to do the job, when I go out station my son says how do you manage amma I’m not able to do it properly. And when I call home my husband says I’m doing your job so I ask is my job only to cook and clean and keep everything ready do I not have any value beyond that…..it’s life

    1. Sreelatha, we are all equal and infintely priceless. It’s the outdated roles that society forces us to adopt that keeps us trapped in a cycle of unappreciation and drudgery…it need not be that way. Thank you for your comment.

  9. really ,really amazingly well written Damu! such a breath of fresh air….it was so like sitting with you and giggling away to glory….miss u …..

    1. Thanks for your comment Janani…until we meet again, hope I bring a smile to your face every time you think of me (like you do for me!)

  10. what a cute, cute, cute post ………………. loved it …………….. you go, girl …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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