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I'm always amazed when women say "I'm just a housewife" when someone asks them, "So, are you working?" As if a housewife doesn't work. As if being a housewife is shameful and you need to sound apologetic. So sorry, that I chose to stay home and take care of the family. Personally, I find the term homemaker more comforting. It sounds spiffier and definitely more "productive". The woman of the house who makes the house a home -- yes, that's me!
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I am not saying that things are not better than before, or that women don't have options. They are and they do, but we're still a long, long way from a culture where a woman is taken more for her ability than her assumed availability.
I have been meaning to write to you for some time. We cross each other everyday as you leave for work and I for my yoga class. We smile but we never have time to chat. I confess, I am a bit envious of you.
I happened to meet my neighbour's mom-in-law, a woman with a gentle demeanour. As we chatted for the first time, she asked me, "Are you a working mom?" Quite nonchalantly, I responded that I am not working right now as taking care of the little monster (my son) 24x7 is my latest preoccupation. With a smile of affirmation she complimented me: "You absolutely did the right thing by saying no to work." She beamed as if in doing so I had averted the wrath of god.
Apparently the term 'stay-at-home-mom' was coined to redefine and modernise the term 'housewife'. All it really did is shift the focus of the woman's existence from being a wife to being a mother. Maybe these stereotypical labels came about for good reason but they do more to divide than define.