Who is a housewife? If anyone from my generation is asked, she would first turn up her nose at the term, housewife. Please – call me a homemaker, is what she would say. So do you know what a housewife should actually earn? Well, for all those of you who thought that becoming a housewife – ahem – homemaker, is a thankless job that comes with nil pay and nil holidays, you have another thing coming. I did not say so – the new Miss World (single, thin, beautiful), said so. Even before she could finish balancing that crown on her head, she has gone right ahead and made a statement that a mother should be paid for dispensing her duties. A leading daily helpfully laid down a rate chart of what a housewife should actually earn (picture courtesy: TOI).
Well, here’s what I think a housewife should actually earn. And disclaimer: this is not some feminist rant.
Love. Respect and other related drugs. Here’s why.
- Love: The very first thing that a housewife should earn is your love. You have brought her into your home. Correction, you have uprooted her. She may not look at it that way. Because she loves you. So love her back. This is a message for you and your family. She is not your property, she is for you to love.
- Respect: Respect her choices – that is what a housewife should actually earn. More than anything else, you need to let her know that is very much her own person, given to her own moods and her own emotions. You need to step back if she is the one running the household. Do not leave instructions – or even worse – do not let your family walk all over her and tell her what to do, saying that she doesn’t do enough, or that she does not do it well enough. Let her be. Your suggestions are fine – your opinion, no thank you. And for those of you who think a woman’s place is in the kitchen, remember – that’s where the knives are . So before telling her what she should do in the kitchen, know that she is aware of where everything is – and more importantly, how everything works.
- Participate: Be one with her and invite her to participate equally in the decisions that you take as a family. Because you are not the only one getting affected by those decisions – you will all get affected as a family. Do not undermine her opinion. Ask for it. That is one of the greatest things that a housewife should actually earn. Equity in a relationship also demands better financial transparency. By taking care of your home, she has earned the right to participate in bigger decisions – property now or holiday first? This is what a housewife should actually earn in return for her untiring efforts towards managing her household.
- Don’t be an Ass: This one is pretty simple. Do not act like she is some parasite who is sucking your blood or asking you to sell your kidney when she asks for the maid’s salary. Do not leer at her and taunt her saying that she should be doing what the maid is doing so that you can save that money. She does not tell you how to do your job, so what a housewife should really earn is the best version of you at home as well. Do not sit down and judge her for ordering in one day. Do not tell her to be like your mother. She is who she is. Which is why you married her. So show her that – that is what a housewife should actually earn.
- Listen: Listen to her from her perspective instead of taking her words as insipid talk. Learn how to actually listen instead of hearing her out. You may have a lot of venting out to do at the end of the day, and the same goes for her too. This is what a housewife should actually earn – a place in your day that is all hers. Not the kids, not the in laws, not your boss, not your co workers, not the neighbours – just her.
Basically, when it comes to what a housewife should actually earn, you need to remember that a housewife is doing more than her bit – not just for your home, but for society at large. She is rearing your children in an environment that she helps make stable along with your earnings. She is therefore preventing future criminals from walking the streets, at worst; and maybe producing hardworking and enterprising individuals who will do well in their chosen niche, at best. So respect that. She is taking care of your home so that you are free to go out there and do what you do best. So do not make the mistake of thinking that she has no right over your earnings. And many of them have left a career to do this. So do not take her for granted. What a housewife should actually earn is value. She should be valued enough by the children she stays up for, she should be valued even when she goes out with her girlfriends for a night out while you look after the children. She should be valued and treasured for just being herself.