Archive | September, 2012

The Working Woman Myth

17 Sep

My cousin recently told me that her neighbor’s house was stinking of dirty laundry, adding that, they are a working couple. Meaning :The wife works.  

 I belong to the second generation of working women, in my country, and strata in society. In spite of having a generation before me, the “working woman” myth still continues well into the 21st century. Most families would rather not prefer a working daughter-in-law. Most people (still) assume that an educated woman does more evil than good and has no respect for the elderly. Most of the working women are automatically assumed to be bad homemakers and bad cooks. Not to mention the biggest myth of all, that working women make  bad mothers, as we are dependant on others to raise our children.

Being a working woman myself, it’s only natural that I heavily dislike the prejudice. I personally have felt that having a job, has helped me, and probably many others, become better homemakers, daughter-in-laws, and even better people.

Below are why I believe working women are  (supposed to be) make better homemakers

Team Work:  From the day go, most jobs, include working closely with people, from varying cultural backgrounds, languages and  religion. We break all the seeming barriers, to make things work every single day. We are trained to work seamlessly with a team. Not to mention how we  cover for a colleague, when he/she is off sick or has an emergency. We understand the various merits of  cooperation, and we “get” team work.

How can that positively translate into a household?  Most often than not, managing a home, is a teamwork, which involves experienced stalwarts(read mothers, grandmothers, mother in-laws), and working with them seamlessly is all it takes.

Ability to adapt to change: One of the biggest challenges,  faced by women in India, post marriage, is to live among people alien to them.  To live in cooperation with people who though may belong to our own cultural/religious background, still manage their homes/kitchens completely differently from how our mothers did.

 “We don’t do it this way in my home” is an attitude that has led to various dysfunctional households.  This is where ,the working women , should have a clear advantage. We have promotions, we keep changing managers, offices, and sometimes even companies. We face varying and completely new scenarios, on a day-to-day basis. So if you are good at your job, change is probably very acceptable to you. So unlearning a recipe, or accepting that adding a new ingredient will not making it non authentic, will immensely help us in a new home. The fact that they don’t do things as they did in your home, might seem, pretty passé , for someone who faces change frequently. The last thing we are, are thick-set.

Ability to LEARN new skills (without letting ego get in the way):  Surviving at work, means continuous learning . Unlearning what you already know, and learning something new, is something we do everyday. We sometimes need to learn from people who may not have as much experience as we do, cause they might have a skill we don’t. Ego, though, might creep in, is always kept in check, because we need to learn to survive. As a newcomer, we are also, always given the time to learn the environment. We are not expected to be the greatest and best on day one.

How does this translate to a household?  The ability to give ourselves a chance to learn, without getting defensive. The ability to forgive ourselves, if we aren’t perfect on the first day. Most importantly, the courage to put ourselves out there, to learn, in an environment, which is completely alien to us and from people, who are not familiar to us.

Most importantly, we as humans, are creative beings, and having a place to unleash our creativity, and to be productive will make us happier, and better people. So then why the myth?

Lose the attitude

I once heard my colleague say  “I am a working woman, why should I work in office and at home”

OUCH! Not to mention that she wasn’t winning any ,Best Employee Awards, at work either. In fact, she played the woman card in office and the working woman card in her house. This attitude is what spells DOOM for the working woman cliché.  

Women’s education is still a cause of wide-spread concern. Even in the 21st century, girl children are pulled out of school earlier, that is, if they are ever sent to schools in the first place. Women’s education even in affluent families are sometimes restricted to “a woman needs enough education to help her kids through school. But not so much as to earn herself a living” All the various programs for self-sufficiency of a woman, the various reservation schemes in place for the fairer gender, none of it will make sense, unless the current working woman population, LOSE the attitude. We could blame the men for being chauvinistic, who oppress their women. We could blame the world for being partial to the male gender. But as we complain, we need to look at ourselves.

Though we always forget, as educated working women, we are the very limited blessed section of the society. We had parents who were willing to educate us and give us equal opportunities. We had employers who were willing to hire women, in spite of the seeming disadvantages. So as the blessed class of the society what are we doing for the rest of the not-so-blessed section of our society? Do we need to go deep down into social work, and rehabilitate widows/girls to help society? Not always. Society is by and large the people we meet on a day-to-day basis. Our biggest contribution to society is to be a good example.

Respect the housewives :I have seen a general disrespect towards the homemakers, from the working women. Forget about men, who don’t respect their housewives enough. Are we, who are the same gender, respect the housewives, just because their jobs don’t have monetary advantages? If they keep their house sparking clean, the answer is always, that’s cause they don’t work. They take care of their toddlers, while taking care of a full-fledged family, the reason is, that’s cause they don’t work. They are amazing cooks, that’s cause they don’t work.

We fail to notice that  it’s because they are exemplary in a job, that needs more respect than ours. Homemaking is probably the toughest job on earth, the one with no weekends, no vacations, and is 24X7, with no backup. So people who have chosen to be homemakers should be revered and respected, by the other lot of women, who chose to work outside their homes. Or I would say, who are blessed to have the opportunity to work outside their homes for a living.

LEARN :  Not everyone is great at culinary skills. Not everyone is a brilliant homemaker. But trying your best to help around, being empathetic and respectful if you do have other women in the home is an attitude all of us can build.  Having an education or a job, doesn’t make it OK for you to be pathetic in any of the departments you are expected to be good at. (Let’s face the gender inequality, for a minute here. Women are expected to know more of these than men are) .However, as mentioned above, having a job makes you equipped to be better at homemaking, than anyone else. So helping around, or learning a new skill, should actually be easier for you. Are we doing enough, or are we using having a job as an excuse  to being a lesser woman?

Most of us are unaware of the impact we have in the people we meet. We , the privileged lot of working women, will determine, how many fathers will decide to educate their girl children.  Our attitude in general would determine , how many men will let their wives work. Not all of us can save girl children, and not all of us can work in homes for women, to better their living conditions. But all of us, can influence our immediate surroundings. . The various facets of learning a job brings to a human being woman or man, is way much more than the money we earn, or the independence we enjoy. A job should not be a time draining exercise in futility which keeps us away from family, it’s a profession, that makes us a well-rounded individual. As a woman who has an opportunity to fulfill our dreams, we should become examples to everyone around us to pursue their dreams, without the fear of being bad at any of our primary duties as women

 

 

 

 A woman who has a lesser education or is unemployed, needn’t automatically be good at everything homely either. More about that later. !

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The Grass is always greener on the other side of Facebook

11 Sep

While planning to write about the general dissatisfaction wave, which seems to have hit each and everyone around me. I realised I may not be able to contain all of it in a single blog. Hence this is the first part of my DISSATISFACTION series,which includes 2 symptoms of general discontent, Nostalgia, and Comparison

NOSTALGIA

Recently when an author was reviewing his favorite books, he decided to go back and read most of it one more time, to be sure, that it was not his ”NOSTALGIA” that was making a book his favorite. but that it seriously did have better things to offer. Why did he decide to go back? Why did he  fear that nostalgia may have made his observations partial.

The term nostalgia describes a sentimental longing for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations

I am not sure if you are one of them, but I hear innumerable people say, “My childhood was the best time I can remember. My college days were the best. My single days were the best. My first job was the best”

Everything in the distant past seems to be their “best” time. Everything except for the present,which they dread. Nostalgia  is not an emotion I agree with. The essential advantage of nostalgia is we probably remember the good moments, all too well, and forget the turmoil we faced. I am not saying we should dwell on our past troubles. But was your college life really that great compared with your current life?You were probably staying in a hostel, with no good food to eat. You probably had  a LOT to study, that enjoying life seemed like a distant dream. You saw your mother  take an afternoon nap, and you couldn’t , because it was your exam the day after. The whole world revolved around your  academics.You had to beg and plead for anything you wanted.Rs 2000 seemed like a very huge amount of money. Was it really a great time? Maybe yes, maybe no.

People also always complain about their current job  and reminisce about their first job. “My first job was the best”. While I  am thinking “Really? You mean when we were asked to work on Saturday nights?” Then when I meet them few years down the line, they say “You know we had such a great time in Bangalore. Didn’t we? I miss those days, I hate my current job. “  Hmm, but I remember you saying your first job was the best when you were with me.

I probably had the best childhood anyone could ask for. I was a naturally good student, I went to the best schools, wore the best clothes, and my father got me everything I wanted , I don’t remember him scolding me ever when I was younger. But if you ask me, do I want to be a child again, my answer is NO WAY! I am glad now that I am grown up, and don’t have to undergo the many MANY perils of growing up. I am glad I am done with that. I am even more happy where I am at now. After all, our entire childhood is spent “preparing” for adult life. So I believe adult life should not be spent missing our childhood. Just doesn’t seem right.

Now comes the second aspect of discontentment, when we arent looking back at our former selves, we are looking at others.

Grass is always greener on the otherside

There was a classic 90’s Malayalam movie  “Ayalathe Adeham”. (Could be best translated to,

My neighbor’s husband), which  spoke about a complaining wife who compared her husband constantly with her neighbor’s husband. She felt her life was ruined, because her husband wasn’t as smart, outgoing, or fashionable as her neighbor. Aside from the fact that, it was a laugh riot, it focused on the most predominant reason for a discontent life, The grass is always greener on the other side syndrome.

Today obviously, we have no time to look  at or be friends with our neighbours. Most of us do not know who our neighbours are, but hell ya, we have FACEBOOK. Not to mention its innumerable unlimited photo upload power. Even the busiest among us, find the time to look at someone else’s photos and LIKE them. Somehow our life seems mundane compared to what is projected in those pictures. The Europe travels, the posing with wax models and what not. You are caught thinking “My life sucks. I am stuck in this job, stuck with this man, who isn’t romantic, (or isn’t rich), while everyone else is enjoying their perfect life!!!”

Ok, where am I going with this. Do I have an antidote?

Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic. John Henry Jowett.

Why is it that 90% of people I meet everyday, are discontent and unhappy? Is it because the world is just a sad place?  Is it because the world and this life doesn’t have enough to make any of us happy? That we are either looking at our earlier selves or looking at others to compare and be dissatisfied.

Or is it us. Is it because we are just so ungrateful, that we can never find happiness??

The majority of people I know who are always cribbing and complaining do have a great life. They have financial security, are not laborers, they usually have an (although not perfect), a loving family. They are obviously in a much better place, than they were few years back. But they just don’t remember it, and just dont get it. As cliché as the two ideas I am expressing here seems to be

1) The grass is always greener on the other side

2)Is the glass is half empty or half full?

 Its still two clichés that NO one seems to have grasped

Are we grateful for what we have right NOW? Are we ever taking the time to look at the innumerable blessings, we are showered with?

Nostalgia is always overrated. As we do look back with pleasant memories at our past, it should also be a good time to look at how much our life has improved and become better today, than yesterday. You may have put on a few kilos, but you also have overcome the acne. You may not be able to gulp down 5 pizzas at a go, but atleast now you can afford it 😀 without asking around.

I am all for browsing through other’s s happier lives, if that makes you inspired, but  if that makes you a walking complaint box unhappy with everything you have, then you need to rethink your priorities.

Intention aka Niyath

10 Sep

 I strongly believe in evolving and to keep at it on the learning curve.

My posts are always a reminder to myself first and foremost, to keep a tab on the various and varied things my simple life teaches me.

It’s always the intention/niyath that counts, so I start with absolutely great intentions. To share everything from my fitness dilemmas to my work, faith, and anything and everything in between.

My Ramadan Blog: Which is by far, my most regularly updated blog till now is here. If you need some prelude.