A couple of weeks back I entered a blog writing contest hosted by Sulekha Rivr on the eve of International Women's Day. There were several topics and I chose "Should A Homemaker Be Paid A Monthly Salary?". Results have been recently declared and I made it to the top ten entries (http://creative.sulekha.com/international-women-s-day-blogging-contest-winners-declared_600757_blog). My entry and its link is as follows:
I am a working woman who recently got married. I am kind of between (salary paying) jobs now as I have resigned from my current job and would be relocating to Delhi, where my husband resides, in a month's time. Since the wedding, I have been travelling to and fro frequently and spending around 2-3 weeks at a stretch with my husband and his siblings.
The first few days seemed fine and I even enjoyed my job of a homemaker. The job nature of a homemaker is basically a cycle--cooking, cleaning, washing, and organizing. But after a week or so, the cycle started getting on my nerves and I started wondering how my mother is spending her entire time doing these chores. Both my mother and mother-in-law are housewives and it dawned upon me that they and all the other housewives have been doing a full-time, lifetime and 24X7 job of a homemaker. Apart from being unpaid, it is an utterly thankless job.
A woman is usually appointed a homemaker as a consequence of marriage or of just being a woman. The employer is usually the husband or the eldest member of the house while household members are the customers.
A homemaker is not paid, does not get a day off and of course not appreciated. Apart from the occasional compliment on the food, there is nothing else. She has to ask money from her husband when expenses are to be made and of course the husband says that she spends whatever he earns.
She empties the laundry basket everyday--washing, drying, folding and keeping the clothes in their assigned places. Nobody notices that. They only notice when their required item of clothing is not in place and the homemaker is accused of not doing her job.
She cooks every meal and places it on the dining table on time. And when the customers sit down to eat, they will either compliment or complain. But they do not understand what goes behind every meal. The homemaker needs to plan every meal, procure the ingredients and start cooking on time. The customers never bother to offer to help or get the ingredients. They just expect special and delicious food every time.
The homemaker struggles continuously to keep her kitchen clean and organized. The bottles, jars and utensils are used by the customers occasionally as well, but are replaced out of place mostly. the customers love to pile up used utensils in the wash basin. They never for a moment think how much utensils are washed by the homemaker in a single day. And the saddest part is they do not even care.
A homemaker organizes and cleans the whole time. And if she does not sub-employs a maid to do the floors, that too falls in her kitty. She straightens the furniture, the furnishings and the decor. She picks up the things the customers leave here and there and keeps them in place. She picks up the plates, bowls, glasses and cups the customers used to eat and drink around the house, but did not bother to wash or at least keep in the wash basin.
Apart from the above, the job description of a homemaker also include cleaning every nook and corner of the house, ironing clothes, getting groceries, maintaining accounts of household expenses, playing host and helping with children's studies.
After a day's work, which ends only with doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen, the best gift for a homemaker is a bed which is ready to sleep on. But she is seldom fortunate to have that.
In this world, services which are not paid for, are unappreciated and taken for granted. And a services of a homemaker is no different. How often have you ask your mother, aunt, wife or sister if she has eaten anything, if is she feeling tired or sick? Have you ever thanked her for cooking you a meal or washing your clothes? Have you helped her in doing the dishes and cleaning the house? Have you ever made her a cup of tea or a glass of lemonade? Have you ever granted her a day off? Sadly in this industry, there are only a handful of homemakers who actually get help in the form of family members.
The job of a homemaker is like any other job. So yes, a homemaker should paid a salary. If you can pay your maid, cook, gardener, driver, tutor and/or housekeeper, you can also pay your homemaker (who is all-in-one). And if you can not afford her services, then pay her at least in the form of love, respect, care, acknowledgement and empathy.