Having all the time in the world

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The other day I went to a doctor for a bad throat. After the usual examination and questions, he began writing the prescription and advised the usual saline water gargling. After which, he asked me a cursory question as to whether I'm a homemaker or a working woman. Then, he said," aah, then you have all the time in the world. You can gargle as many times you want in a day!"

Why o' why do people assume so many things about others. Especially about lives of people they have no inkling about. Even if the woman had been his mother, I'm sure the fellow would've had no idea the kind of work she did around the house so that he could stick his neck up in the world pooh-poohing homemakers of the world.

Is it no work to keep warm meals ready? Does the house miraculously change into a habitable place from a war-struck zone? Or perhaps entertaining and feeding a toddler is not a big deal. There are day cares around, right? Well, when you need the day cares and have enough respect for people who run it, can't you extend it to the mother, the housewife, who has chosen to remain at home to do it instead? A day without the housewife, even the maids cannot salvage the house. So, why do you imagine her to have truck loads of time to kill just because she is not going outside the house to work? And, even if she is having time on her hands, it does not warrant advice or comment from anybody else. Her life, her time. Period.

Now, I am in no way judging people who have outsourced the above activities. Every person has the right to live the life they want to/need to. My only grouse is the scorns and smirks that the title 'homemaker' elicits. The automatic perception of someone who has nothing better to do all day. I definitely hate these terms-homemaker, worse, housewife! Homemaker is just a sugar-coated term for housewife. Don't ask me what is the suitable word then. Why categorize at all? 

The husband has simple solutions. "The next time someone asks you, say you are a freelancer. You work from home", says he. Maybe that's best. Until time changes for the homemakers of the world.

44 comments:

  1. Oh dear me, please don't say you're a freelancer. The next statement invariably is Oh then basically you don't have a job.

    -Preeti

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    1. Well...kya karen...we have chosen to be unemployed :-)))

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  2. I somehow fail to understand this mentality of people!!

    You know there was an article that I had read on internet where a frustrated lady finally wrote her occupation as House Engineer!! The poor guy was left shocked wondering what on earth must she be doing exactly :D

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  3. This warrants a blog post from me as well. :)

    The term is not even HOMEMAKER... that probably garners a lot more attention and respect. It is "HOUSEWIFE". I cringe at that very term. to me it sounds like housefly or house arrest or a slave, which is probably what most people naturally think of us anyway! :)

    A housewife belongs to the previous century. the today's girl is ultra modern wih tall career plans, nothing stops her, who juggles everything like a perfect juggler. However no one really understand what it takes to be a homemaker.

    It isn't just the difference of being a homemaker. I think success is always measured monetarily. If a woman hold high position in an MNC and draws impossible salary, she is seen highly in the society. While someone who is a clerk in Govt offices, they'd say "clerk hi toh hai". I am deviating, but yeah still something to ponder.

    In tat way, had we been paid for our "duties" around the house, we'd be millionaires in no time! :D *Toast to us*

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    1. I don't even understand the need to juggle so many things to finally earn that respect in others' eye. I am not even sure if that can ensure it. As someone rightly pointed out, even working women are not spared of jabs. It is just plain respect for the other person's time and space which shouldn't be dependent on any external factor.
      Do write your post..:-)

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  4. I say YOU are the driver of the house! You are the person who makes that place look-like and feel-like home! I used to watch an English family drama called "7th Heaven", they had a whole episode on this very topic and very beautifully 'Annie', the mother, answered "I get to be a psychologist, a handy-woman, a plumber, a nurse, a carpenter, a banker, a dog-walker, and I am proud of it! I am darn proud of it!...."

    I just think that you should watch a short cameo of hers. Here is a YouTube video link Uma: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geqQZUPMFQA

    We can't do much about people judging at every step of your life. What we can do, is to spark a confidence in who we are and what we do and just blow such presumptions as the doctor's, with a hearty smile. :)

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    1. Thank you so much Leonardo for understanding and words of encouragement..never followed the drama before but loved the video.
      thanks :-)

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  5. Hahah..don't get mad at me for laughing, Uma. Forget about outsiders, husbands also do think that way. I had been staying at home for the past two months. So, in the morning while I was hurrying to get stuff done, hubby says, ah!! what is there? After we leave, you will make India calls, then chat with your sister and blog..that's all right? It just freaked me out. Didn't want to spoil his and my mood early in the morning, I coolly replied, Yeah, that's all I do. so what now? Hmm..anyway that's not what we are talking, but the post reminded me of this incident that happened this week. :)Next time when someone asks that question, ask them back, how does it matter to you? :P

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    1. Its Ok, Latha..you can laugh as much you like :-))) Sometimes its not worth replying, right?

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  6. Gah! I think being a homemaker is the toughest job on earth..more than a working mom...Darn the world!

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    1. Darn the world! is the way to go..gah!

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  7. Oh my god so true yeah my mom worked for 32 yrs and then retired voluntarily and now she hates when someone makes such comments as she realizes it more difficult to be at home than going out she knows how much tied up now she is than before!

    Well Said !!! Superb post!

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    1. Even my mother was a working woman and took VRS. She's surely more busy than ever before :-)
      thanks, Ramya!

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  8. Ah! MCP's, I say. Say you run an organisation and your wear multiple hats from logistics, operations, finance and also is the chief happiness/well-being officer. If he questions you further, quietly say I am also called Uma and I am a Chief Home Officer!

    Gah to these people! :)

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    1. Total MCP! and chief home officer sounds cool :-)))

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  9. That was a good comment from Archana.
    But why take umbrage at a mindless may be innocent remark of a doctor and lose one's sleep?He may not be even aware that he upset you.

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    1. You are right sir about the person not even being aware of the effect of such a mindless remark. I am not actually angered, just felt the need to make a point here. Surely not losing my sleep over such things :-)

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  10. I hear you Uma! I would say care a fig about all such people. But you know what, such is the nature of things in our 'modern' world that it's expected that a woman take care of all activities related to the home and kids. And like all the comments before I agree managing a home is running an organisation, for the most intangible and unquantifiable benefits. Hmm, there really ought to be a real fitting term to describe it - homemaker, housewife, domestic engineer, domestic Goddess, don't cut it either:)










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    1. The ideal situation would be where we don't need to justify the work we do. You are right about caring two hoots about such comments.

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  11. :) beleive me I know how hard it is , I see my mum ..
    and i do beleive that the hardest job is keeping the home running ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Thanks for understanding, Bikram :-)

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  12. typical comment....to hell with all such people....who cares....lets live our life well and the way we want. Actually most people are jealous that they can't take such a decision and stay at home.

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    1. true..true..actually I wasn't even so upset..just wanted to make a point.

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  13. Hello hello...i know been a long time but im finally catching up on the backlogs...
    Hows R now? And congrats on that job!

    And hey!dont bother what he doc tells u.though coming from the doc-its quite surprising.only goes to show that any amount of education and exposure will not change the basic ingrained thought processes in some people. As for me-there r always people who keep putting me down that i work..so there...

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    1. Hey Rashmi! so nice to have you here...arey don't even mention about catching up..am so ashamed to admit that I haven't been to catch up any of guy's blogs...:-(
      thanks for catching up re...and yes, actually there will always be people to put you down no matter what you do...so yes, they can all take a walk :-)

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  14. Running a home is the most mammoth task in this world! And the woman sacrifices so much to be able to that .. She has the same abilities, education and intelligence as a man and can do as well or better in a corporate setup but still forgoes all those pleasures to be able to balance lives for people around her .. If not for the women at home, can those working men have a complete and happy life?
    When people say stuff like this, we must only laugh at their ignorance and limited vision .. They are educated but sadly ignorant in more than one way ..

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    1. True, Aarthy..Here's an interesting article on this: http://blog.ishafoundation.org/lifestyle/relationships/the-feminine-presence-part-ii-2/

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  15. So very true Uma and i have faced that too. Well freelancer is also not something people feel is worthwhile and it is not changing anytime soon.

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    1. True..anything that doesn't fit into an acceptable stereotype is always rubbished.

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  16. It shows that people still do not value the responsibilities fulfilled by a "Home-maker". The word "Home-maker" is very apt according to me. If we look at its true meaning, Home-maker is the one who makes home a home!! Sadly, people understand neither the meaning of this word, nor the importance of the associated person...

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    1. I think Radhika, we try to glorify the term for the woman who works at home but essentially the feelings for her hasn't changed.

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  17. I know those kinda remarks. Makes one want to scream 'SHUT UP!' eh? Freelancer? Super idea!

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    1. Sounds better, right? It may spark off a different kind of brow-raising session but that may be better to deal with than a pitying look, IMO.

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  18. Haha Uma.. I can just imagine my response if someone, even a doc, said something like that to me :). You know how I much I hate the housewife type labels - argh!!

    You should put up a blog post of your schedule for a day ;)... wish you could email it to such people too!

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    1. I know..actually sometimes I feel why bother at all :-)))

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  19. How I wish I could show that finger (forgive the grossness). But then, I think the doc is not alone. He has more company. Almost every second person in our country has this attitude:(

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    1. hey Vidya, how have you been?
      yep, sadly the doc has too many for company :-(

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  20. Uma, being a homemaker is perhaps the most satisfying job which pays huge dividends in long run though mayy not earn a salary:) It is a back bone of happiness!

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    1. very true, Rahulji..sadly, the effort put in goes unnoticed many times.

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  21. Hi Uma,
    It is not only men who have this twisted idea about women at home having no work at all, other than watching TV, talking on the phone, and of late the internet etc. The women too are like that, for example, my MIL used to ask me what i was doing sitting at home, instead, I could use my time productively by doing some saree business, and other such nonsense. They just like to have at us, and try to degrade us for no reason at all.
    I had always liked doing the house work, not keeping a maid, getting the breakfast,lunch for the kids for school, keeping tiffin ready for them, when they come hungry and tired from school, in between, doing some shopping, and I used make some time for my Aerobics practice too, so much to do and so little time.
    But I never complained , I felt happy doing my work, and never wanted to keep a servant to help me, because I wanted to be free to the things in my time, instead of waiting for someone to come and do a shoddy job for me.
    After doing all the housework for 22 years, we had to shift to a much bigger house, and doing all the work took its toll on my health, and only then i kept a part time maid, I still like to cook, and never felt the need for a cook for that.
    Now people ask me what i do all day, or what do I do, I simply shock them by saying i do nothing, I am enjoying my life to the full, and with the children all grown up, and not around I am totally free to do whatever I want, and if i don't want to do anything it is purely my choice.
    That really shuts some of them up, while others admire me for saying it as it is.
    We have to ignore these jobless people, we don't need any certificates from anybody. We are much happier people than all those people who have to work whether they want or not.
    The doctor must have felt relieved that you are not bound by any of the rules and regulations that working people have to adhere to, and with that ides in his mind, he must said, " Good, you can gargle as many times as you want."
    Sorry for the long comment.

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    1. Hi Rama, first of all thank you for taking time out to write such an encouraging comment and welcome here :-)
      Admire you for doing so much around the house. You hardly must be getting any time at all after a marathon like this day after day. I applaud you for standing by your convictions and giving a firm answer when provoked.
      Yes, mostly likely the doctor must not have had any hard feelings for a homemaker when he uttered those words. Just that it triggered off my stand on situations like these-many of us have faced such remarks at different points of life, isn't it?
      Thanks for the comment and don't be sorry, I like long comments :-)

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  22. Uma, came across your blog about a month ago and have been catching up on all your posts..Better late, wanted to share this incident as recently as a week ago, during one of the office gatherings, where I introduced to other women employees from other teams, one asked if I had children and when I said "yet to have" , she comments back "then, you have all the time in the world, not pressed for time like us(pointing to other 3-4 women)"..I wondererd for a full 10 minutes what she meant by that and how she could plainly make such a statement just after knowing my name and which team I belong to. I wonder how people assume a lot many things even without attempting to check if their assumptions are valid or true.Anyway, we cant change what people thing or do, we just need to let go and dont even take it in one ear, I guess..

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