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This Women’s Day a big shout out to the stay-at-home mom

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This Women’s Day a big shout out to the stay-at-home mom
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It’s a Sunday and she’s got up maybe a little later than usual but not late enough to forget cuddling her grand kids and playing with them in the bed. She makes tea for everyone, cooks breakfast, chats with the maid, gives her too a steaming cuppa coffee and breakfast. She’s doing routine stuff without a whimper, and with enthusiasm.So, as I read columns and articles praising the woman who manages a home-office with panache and as they list her achievements, my thoughts go out to my mother, the stay-at-home mom. She slogs it out at home day in-day out, and does so for no glory or pay hike! Like her I am sure many others have been doing this for years for end, without so much as a frown.The little times they frown, your heart can only ache!

In the quest to anoint glory on the women and her many capabilities, the stay-at-home mom/wife is often looked down upon almost condescendingly. It’s like if you have to have the woman of substance tag, you have to step out of the home. Working within the confines of your home is not counted at all. Which is why the stay-at-home mom and her tireless routine get my respect.

My thoughts go out to my grandmother, who had so little finances to manage with, but still ensured that nobody in her home went hungry. My father tells me he has no idea how she managed it, but with so many of his relatives (from the village) camped in their home to pursue studies (as they were in the city) he says, he never saw her crib. And my father says that it is because of her uncomplaining nature that many in his family got an education.

momMy thoughts go out to all such women who have silently worked in the background to ensure that someone’s life is made and made well. This woman who either by choice or by circumstance, stays at home is often the most neglected. Yes, on a special day nobody forgets to thank her, but on a daily basis how grateful are we to these women? She checks a thousand times before calling you at work, but how often do you check her routine before asking her to do some work? You come home and plonk on the sofa saying you had a tiring day at work. How often do you ask if she is tired? How often do we look up to them and tell them in so many words “I want to be like you”? You can say your work day has ended, can she?

In my view, the role of a stay-at-home mom is the toughest job. There are no excuses to give and you have to do your job 24X7 with no holidays and what’s more? The “appraisal” so to say happens almost daily. Do anything contrary to this and you’re thrown with the “c’mon your at home, what else do you do?” Yes, there are times when you take her for a vacation, for dinners or a family functions, but then that is something you enjoy too!

She is at home, so you can work can in peace without bothering about the mundane homely, routine stuff. She is at home, so healthy food is there for your taking. She is at home, so the home remains spic and span. She is at home, so your parents and children are taken care of without you having to worry about maids/creches/old age homes. She is at home, so you can be yourself and pursue your dreams.

So, each time when Women’s Day celebrations happen, for the stay-at-home mom, often myriad questions fill up a small corner of her mind. Within she knows she does so much, she know she ensures the home runs because she is efficient, she knows she has talents, she knows herself too well so she doesn’t get bogged down for too long. But when questions like “what if I was working, what if I hadn’t given up her job, what if I hadn’t married at all, what if I had a full time maid, what if I was super rich, what if I did not have such a large family of varying age groups, what if…” make a stealthy entry into her mind it is not her failing. It’s our collective failing as sons, daughters, husbands and children. It’s our failing that we haven’t told her how much she means to us. It’s our failing that we don’t recognise and appreciate her talents.

So this Women’s Day lets stand up for those women who toil for us at home. Let’s give their work respect. Let’s not say that staying at home is a regressive choice. It’s a choice that requires a special talent. A talent that is dwindling today and is in scarcity…all the more reason to hold such people close and say thank you to them.

PS: If it makes any difference, I say all this as a working woman!

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Manini

The author is a commentator on current affairs.