When do we know?


Recently I had a chance to comment on a topic that is quite close to my heart. This post is an outcome of that unpleasantness.

Before that I just wanted to let you know that after the maid fiasco a few months ago, I finally landed with a reasonably good help last week.

I refer to her as help, because I don’t let her cook. She just helps me with the cutting, dish washing and cleaning. So far, touch wood; we are able to communicate well. It’s a miracle considering she speaks in
Telugu and English and I speak in Malayalam, Tamil, English and Hindi. I have no idea why Tamil comes in between our conversation. But it does!

Anyways, one major problem of me going bonkers with housework, my “self employed” work, two teenagers and a travelling hubby, is almost solved. In two – three hours we together accomplish a lot of the housework. We
are a team finally. Me and my maid that is.  I am too old to handle housework alone anyway!What will I do when I grow really old and have no money to hire a maid you ask? Well, at that point the hubby would be jobless too, kids would have left home and cooking for two old people can’t be that difficult. Can it?

As I was saying, I had commented recently on a post about how women who have a professional degree and end up doing ONLY housework are actually a loss to the country. Because their professional degree could have
been got by some other person who would have used it better. To this, I am only in quarter agreement. I do think it’s a waste of a degree, but I don’t not think that working as housewives is actually a loss to the country.  To this I added that it takes experience to realize why many professional women with degrees sometimes have no option but to take care of home and kids. For this, in many cases, it requires abandoning the
career. For a while at least.

To this, I got the reply, that I haven’t understood the gist of the post and that wastage of degree is a very big wastage indeed. And that these women should decide that they want to be a housewife and not go for any
professional courses!

To be honest, I have no idea how to reply to this, so I decided not to continue the debate there.

I just wanted to know how many of you out there are doing exactly what you thought they would be doing after graduating?  When did you people decide that you would be a housewife, or a businessman or a professional of a certain kind?  And most important of all, at the age of 16-19 ,which is when you decide what you want to do in life, did you really know so much about life , career and children? I surely didn’t.

While I was making Chilly Chicken today and just mixing the ingredients together, I was wondering, why didn’t anyone tell me what to mix into my life to make it perfect!


18 thoughts on “When do we know?

  1. Getting education in whatever field is never a waste, but choosing a five to six years of professional courses like medicine / engineering and other similar field, and then choosing to to play the role of a housewife is really a waste. At least, before you enter into marriage, you had the option of telling your future plans to the concerned person,but saying that at that time you are not aware of how things would turn out doesn't really make sense. One doesn't aspire to become a professional without the intention of staying in that line, for these seats are not given to one on a silver plate, one has to really work hard to get it, and once you decide to do something, it is expected you stick to it, maybe taking a brief break is not a crime but totally giving up your profession for something, that is not really some rocket science is a crime.I have come across so many dentist, children specialist,and engineers, architects etc., taking the role of housewife, and leading a very frustrated life. Of course not all of them are frustrated, some even enjoy it, but the big question is why did they do such courses if all they wanted to be is a housewife. I am not degrading the role of a housewife, for I am also one, but if one chooses to be professional, they can be that and also a fairly good housewife, for there are so many support systems available especially now.If every doctor sacrificed her profession for being housewife, we would have no one to go to when we fall sick, or deliver our babies etc. I also think it is a waste of time, effort and the money if one is not interested in being loyal and sticking to chosen field, giving flimsy excuses.


    • So you knew at 16/19 that you wanted to be a housewife?
      I am not talking of flimsy reasons not to work in your line. I am talking about genuine reasons for not being able to do so. Outside of India, or for that matter in many parts of India itself, it’s very difficult to get hired help in the house. So to get someone trustworthy enough to leave your 3 month old with, you need to really really lucky.
      What are the support systems you talk of? The Three Ms? Mother, MIL and Maid? Not everyone is lucky enough to get these?!
      90% of the working moms I know are frustrated with their twin roles in the office and the home. And these are not even in the professional fields. A professional will need to spend many more hours outside the house and the timings are never set.
      Men can leave a crying, sick child in the hands of strangers and go to work. Women are not made like that. The very fact that women can give birth to children, gives them the responsibility of taking care of them too! If you can’t or don’t want to, then don’t have kids! No one is putting you at gun point!
      Seriously, if I knew that leaving kids with maids who torture kids would be so difficult at the age of 19, I seriously would have never gone to a professional college. Kids I would have had. That was always a part of my plan. When you need to choose between your child’s well being and work, moms automatically chose the kids. Thats the maternal instinct at play! And that doesn’t make them criminals!
      Doctors sitting at home are very rare, but at times you can’t help it. Because India churns out Docs and Engineers like there is no end! And there are plenty out there to take care of our kids, deliver our babies and what not. But your kids are at your mercy or at the mercy of the people who take care of them!


  2. No Jyothi I am not doing what I thought I would be doing or got qualified for. Many of us don't know for sure what we want to do when we are forced to take up science or art when we are 15 or 16, do we? Many just take up something bcoz we are told to do so or because it is the in thing.And many of us have the odds against us. Like I have been searching for a job which will be to my liking but haven't got it. maybe if financially IO had the need, I would have taken whatever came my way but I am searching for 'satisfaction'So is my degree a waste? I don't think so. I am a better person because I got my MBA, period.


    • Life doesn’t always turn out as we want it to and my degree is not a waste either! Thank you.
      I have taken up jobs that did not do justice to my qualifications too just for the convenience. Not anymore.


  3. well…i often debate this topic a lot and most of the time my female friends quarrel with me..but i believe a good career, money and everything else is done only to have a satisfactory life and family and if one has to abandon the family then i dont think it is a wise thing to do… i mean how can one leave their 2 3 month old baby in the day care or with some stranger for the whole day? anyhow everybody is entitled to their own opinion… i think many people can become good professionals but only a few can become good housewives/mothers and hence being a housewife is a lot more difficult and demanding than doing a 9-5 job…


    • Women think that I am jealous, so I generally keep my opinions to myself regarding this. It's just that post brought out that side of me, the side that has been trying to justify to everyone I know why I decided not to pursue in my field of choice.


  4. i echo Md Israr on this…being housewife is more challenging than working in a corporate office…i've seen ladies spoiling their happy family life for the sake of their jobs…i seriously doubt if it is worth it!


    • Welcome here Hari. I have my doubts too. But in this day and age, women not having a job is looked down upon. If you are a graduate and unemployed, then tho you are done for. It’s a matter of choice. I chose this option and because of this I might be classified as an anti- woman’s lib. But I think demanding respect for whatever you chose to do is the most important kind of woman’s lib.


  5. If only u were able to know where life is going to take you… It'd all b so easy !!I don't think much about the decisions I'll be making after 3-4 years.. as of now I'm concentrating on my studies.. all I know is that one should make choices not out of adjustments but out of self-satisfaction.


    • Exactly. We have no idea where life will take us. Yes, self- satisfaction is the most important thing in life. And sometimes to get that a few adjustments have to be made. That’s is applicable to every phase in life, not just motherhood.


  6. Oh well, that is crazy thinking. No woman decided on being a housewife. Education is never wasted. We have to remember that a woman should always have the education that would enable her to go out and work at any stage in her life. If she chooses to contribute her time to home during her children's childhood years then it is her prerogative. No education is ever wasted, and no woman should abstain from studying as much as she wants.


    • You have no idea how much better I feel when I read the responses to this post. I was kinda down in the drain after the reply I got on that post. Now I feel much better. Honestly, it’s so easy to judge people. Experience is the best teacher in life. And not all lessons are easy to learn and understand.


  7. Jyoti- having a degree or a job does not really mean much in terms of freedom for women. A woman who “üses” her degree as you say and works outside of home is actually doing double work-at home and at office. Every woman contributes in some way financially to the family -only in some cases it is a tangible cash income which seems to be indicate to the world that she is putting her education to “use”- cooking, childcare, caring for health of family members are all something that are an outcome of education and which contributes to a family's well being-something that all women do but is never acknowledged because it does not carry a “cash value” with it!! If you read gender studies you will come across these two roles that women play -productive and reproductive. The reproductive role consists of all this cooking , childcare, home management that allows the family to function and go out into the world to participate in productive processes. Productive role on the other hand is something that gives you a cash income.. Often people never acknowledge as work “the reproductive role”. your maid who helps you in the kitchen is actually performing a productive role out of what in her home is a reproductive function. She would be doing the same in her house but no one considers it as work as it does not give her an income…!! Women have always worked – it is just that some work brings in the cash and much of the other work does not! Have a nice week!


    • And of course, cash is of the utmost importance in life. Your comment sums it all up actually. You compared housewives to maids, and then maids to working women. But maids don’t work as maids out of choice. It’s when they are not educated and choose to be housewives and then their husbands are not able to provide for them , that they resort to becoming maids. For them looking after our kids and looking after our home is a JOB. And like in all kinds of jobs, there are always people who are good at it and bad at it.


  8. A good question, as I always say we people have this habit of saying things which we dont hold on to ourself. Education if one thing and house hold is another, (sorry to say but most of the feminists are of this view that a women wastes her degree) as you i disagree to it, and this is not me being sexist (I genuinly think that, maybe because of the way we are brought up) a women can look after a house much better then a man. But that is not the point I do feel that no education is wasted EVER.. if she is housewife then the way she will bring her kids up will be different then the ones who is not so educated … Bikram's


    • I sincerely hope so. It was always the guilt feeling that made me leave my jobs. The kids needed me. When they no longer do, I can continue with my career. Not everyone does the same thing their entire life.


  9. I read this post and followed the comments till the end…..like u said, a few comments did make me feel better too. As for me I was proudly boasting to anybody who cared to listen that i was going to be a career woman. Life has its own way of balancing things out….I guess.I specially liked wht Bikramjit had to say…no education is wasted ever:-)


    • Very true. I guess it takes experience to realize this. And when life throws things at you, you have no option but to face it the best way you can. I am happy I wrote this post. I keep coming back here whenever I feel sad now.


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