Raising kids. Educating them. Looking after family members, including elders. Attending other chores 24/7 with scant regard for personal health, well-being and career advancements, all for the family.
More than a juggling act, isn’t it?
Homemakers do it every day. Isn’t it a supreme sacrifice?
By and large, though, their immense contributions are remembered, that too ritualistically, only once a year:The International Women’s Day. Is it fair?
Babita Shrestha from ApEx talked with some homemakers to know the challenges, complexities and the bliss that come their way every day.
‘We deserve better’
Harimaya Shrestha, 49
In a way, I was trained to be a good homemaker at the age of learning letters. My elder sister and I got married the same day! I was not given a chance to educate myself by in-laws and had to live my life by following strict rules. As for learning the letters, I learned them while teaching my four kids!
Now that all of my children are grown up and making money, I feel quite content as a stay-at-home mom. Children are taking over my duties, so I don’t have to do much of the chores. I feel that homemakers’ hard work is undervalued in the Nepali society. This should change. I don’t know much about Women’s Day, about the outside world. But I think the Nepali women are not getting the exposure and the opportunities they deserve.
‘Supremacy of homemakers’
Purna Shova Lama, 49
For me, Women’s Day is like any other day: cook, clean and chill. I have coined this concept called “Hominism”. This concept shows the supremacy of housewives, which shows women’s supreme efficiency to balance between home and outside work. I was unable to continue education after marriage, but homemaking is my choice and I am proud of my caliber. This is a way to play my role in the family and the society. A housewife has to deal with every issue in the household, a great responsibility in itself. I feel like a warrior at a war. Only homemakers know the suffering of housewives. As for Women’s Day, it is an important event. But given the status of women in society, the hypocritical freedom of women and the so-called rights that are not at all practiced, I don’t feel a strong affinity toward the day.
‘Women should be seen and heard’
Devu Rana, 53
When I see my children grown up and home in order, I feel extremely satisfied. Raising two kids without the help of their father was the hardest hardship for me. I had to be present everywhere. It used to be so stressful. Being able to give my children a healthy diet, a clean home and a good education, I feel satisfied. There were times when I lacked the energy to do my duties. The society should recognize the contribution of housewives for the betterment of the society. There are voices that utter about feminism, but none there who makes women visible or heard.
‘Every day is a Women’s Day’
Poonam Mishra, 51
Even after obtaining a bachelor’s degree, I chose to become a homemaker. My conscience told me to do so, and I obliged. Though satisfied with this decision, I feel quite frequently that I could have become someone a lot greater. I lost a lot of chances during the transition from my life in India to a married life in Nepal. But I am content with my role as a stay-at-home mom. Raising all four kids and watching them doing well makes me proud. I have something to say about this societal misconception that ‘homemakers never work’. This is wrong and needs to change. In fact, both working women and stay-at-home mothers are hard workers. Much still needs to be done on the women’s rights front, though there has been some progress. On Women’s Day, I urge women and men to celebrate the Day every day, not just on a particular day. It would be more meaningful that way.
‘Put women’s rights on the front-burner’
Apsara KC, 48
Togetherness in the family is what I cherish being a homemaker. After obtaining an IA degree, I had to get married. This meant inability to pursue higher education. After having two kids, I had to put them first. Society expects a homemaker to work 24/7 and still finds time to point out: she does not work. Regarding daughter and daughter-in-law as equals can make a significant impact. Every family member deserves love and care, that is what matters the most in a family. Positive inclusiveness is valued by positive intuition. Women’s rights need far more urgent attention than superficial celebrations. As for the Women’s Day plans, I plan to spend the day at home, cooking delicious cuisines and serving them to my loved ones.