The loving homemaker
The only profession with an adjective.
When you sift through hundreds of profiles in the marriage market on a daily basis, it starts to feel little bit like Tetris - the computer game for the uninitiated. Hundreds of people shaped like irregular blocks just keep falling, and you quickly keep shoving them into crevices that they fit best in.
Once you start noticing the shapes and the patterns, you get better and better at the game. Sifting through the market for grooms, I began noticing that a certain shape of men drops more frequently than the others – the one whose mother is a …
… loving homemakers.
Umm, is there any other kind really?
In my previous newsletter, I spoke about the working woman problem - well educated women with careers make for difficult brides. They not only need men of higher means, they need men raised by women with careers outside of home. This helps build empathy in our men, who are nurtured on patriarchal fodder.
Unfortunately, most Indian men would have had the chance to see only one woman up-close before they are married off, and that’s their mother. So, their very banal idea of a wife or a mother is based on this woman. This means what this woman does is of prime importance in the market.
If she is a home maker, chances are, the boy doesn’t even know how to spell “chores” or he is comfortable with the idea of the woman leading the upkeep of their personal lives.
But you might say #Notallhomemakers
Sure, why not.
Does this make them loving then?
Again, sure, why not. I like home-makers who whip their sons to be good at household chores. Look at my husband - he cooks better than me, he takes care of our daughter so well, and does all the things our society expects women to be better at, far better than me. He was raised by a woman who took early retirement, so for all practical purposes, was a home-maker.
This morning, as I was packing lunch for 20 kids in my daughter’s school, adding a box of store bought mixture as an accompaniment for the Bisibelebath, my husband had the nerve to come and tell me that his mum would’ve made that mixture at home, from scratch. Women are conscious of their actions on their children, but I don’t think there’s necessarily a great SOP to beat the male child bias without beating yourself up or your child. But if any home-maker ever tried, then that’s loving enough.
So why does the home-maker need to be loving, or have any adjective?
For one, being a “home-maker” is a thankless job. They are responsible for everyone else in the household to continue to pursue their dreams without a second thought about how the house is being run. Yet, they don’t get paid, they don’t get vacation days, they don’t get bonuses, and they aren’t promoted either. They can’t even switch companies. So, the least the world can do is give them a little adjective in appreciation for their sacrifices, or to cover up your own guilt.
But wait, that’s not why they have an adjective no?
As far as the boys are concerned, “loving home-maker” is a euphemism for…
“Don’t say no to me, just because I need you to work but my mum’s a home-maker”.
“She always prioritised my dad, and me, over herself, and I might expect you to do the same at some point, intentionally, or not.”
“She is a home-maker alright, but she’s ain’t no witch, so please marry me”.
“Saying housewife somehow seems less prestigious, so I’ll say the perfect home-maker or loving home-maker so you know she did have a career progression, which you can aspire for too. You know, like manager to senior manager, wife to loving wife or whatever adjective, you prefer. After all, I am a feminist too.”
But do you know how women read it?
“Oh, why doesn’t your retired govt services dad have an adjective? He ain’t loving enough?”
“What are we overcompensating for here?”
“Is she going to come and run our household?”
“Is that codeword for you not being feminist?”
So men, what should you do if your mum’s a housewife, you ask?
Nothing, so what if she is a housewife? It’s her life. If she’s a house-wife, call her a house-wife. Ain’t no shame in it. You don’t need to get all LinkedIn headline level with describing her.
Now, I am a wife, who spends a disproportionate amount of time at home now, so does that make me a housewife? Sure. Do I need to be loving? No. As a woman myself, I am fine without any adjectives.
If you feel the need to give me an adjective, I’d rather have one that sounds more fun - like a WhatsApp addicted, function attending, serial watching, tambola playing kitty party type housewife. At least it’ll make someone reading your profile laugh.
But if you’re boring, and insecure, then save some space on your profile for yourself, and hopefully in the process, you’ll save your chances of getting hitched too.
Note: she might be loving, yet, at best, they’ll just be frenemies
Some women are nice, some are not. But the moment you start sharing your child with another woman, you discover a new side to you. In general, women are terrible at getting along with other women. This relationship between a woman and her daughter-in-law ain’t no exception.
In fact, the relationship between a mother and daughter also gets into a frenzy once the daughter gets married, because suddenly they’re competing with each other on their wifely, motherly skills and so on.
Frankly, there’s very little loving left to your home-maker mum once your profile has found its purpose. At best (yeah, you read that right), the loving home-maker mum will be frenemies with your future wife. That’s all.