OPINION

Worthy Matters

July 29, 2010
Cee Kay

Are housewives really "economically non-productive workers", just like beggars and prostitutes? At least that is what the Government of India believes and that is, indeed, a belief supported and propagated by many, including many housewives. If you are not bringing in the money, you are non-productive. Doesn't matter even if you are doing everything else to keep your home running smoothly. That doesn't count! The sweat and blood you put into bringing your kids up doesn't count! The three thousand and nineteen things you juggle every single day don't count! Basically nothing counts even if you do everything except bring in the dough. Sadly, such is our society and such are our views.

I have struggled with this issue plenty - what is my worth? How important a part am I, of my family? I have been on both the sides and I still don't know for sure. J can do, and does everything for the kids and the house that I do, except cook. When I didn't have a job, I thought long and hard about how it would affect him if I were to die this instant. And I couldn't reach a conclusion. Now that I am back in the workforce, I still doubt my worth because I bring in less money than J does. To his credit, he has NEVER made me feel inferior on this account. (Oh heck, on ANY account!) It is all in MY mind.

The best reassurance I ever got on this issue came from our financial advisor when he was helping us plan how much life-insurance we needed to buy for each of us. I assumed Jay's would be more because he earns more than I do, and I was right. I also assumed I didn't need any, or needed very little because I was bringing in peanuts (a 250 gm packet every month, to be very specific). He explained to me that my worth was hidden in everything else I did that Jay would need to pay to get done, if I were to say buh-bye to this world. I am telling you THAT was the biggest reassurance I have ever gotten.

So I ask the government of India - if a housewife were to pass away, leaving behind her husband and kids, and assuming that the husband wouldn't have ANY help from family or friends - what would he need to pay other people to do what his wife does? I think the answer would leave many people thinking hard!

I am not one to sing praises of the studies that deduce what is the monetary worth of a housewife because I feel it only superficially glorifies what a woman does. If it were to bring a concrete change to a society's mentality, I'd be all for it. But there IS something to be said for such studies because they do point out the one fact that we choose to ignore - A HOUSEWIFE IS AN EQUAL AND CONTRIBUTING PARTNER IN THE HOUSEHOLD!

I am an optimist. And an opportunist. Thats why I believe "When life gives you lemons - make lemonade. Then sell the lemonade and make air freshner from the peels. Sell that too!"
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