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Being a housewife and called so – something to be ashamed of???

April 9, 2010


 Today some one asked me, “Do you work”?  “where do you work”? and I very casually replied,” No I don’t work I am a housewife” (as if housewives don’t work at home  J:-) ).

The sympathetic tone and the look, “Oh! I thought you are a working woman” made me feel as if I have committed some crime by not going to office and working there.


An advertisement of a tea brand on TV shows two friends meeting after a long gap.

One very proudly says, “I am working in a bank”, the other one with a sad face and subdued voice, “I am a housewife”. The first one with obvious sympathizing looks and expression replies, “OHH!!!!”

 In another incidence a father introduces his three daughters to some one , “meet my elder daughter – she is a teacher, meet my other daughter—she is a lecturer and looking at the third one, “she is my younger daughter, her husband is a Doctor”, then noticing the sudden shadow of sadness on the younger daughter he tried to make amend by saying,” my younger daughter is very educated and creative etc” but the damage was already made. The younger one carried the scars of that humiliation of not being a working woman and gainfully employed all through her life.

Why is being and called as housewife considered like an insult to many women?

 I have heard many working women envying the housewives and their so called easy and comfortable life. They say that they would give any thing to trade places with the housewives.

Although, the housewives in turn want to be in the shoes of the working women.

Many men also carry this notion that housewives are good for nothing. They just sit at home, supervise the maid servants, go for kitty parties and have an easy life. Some one once commented, “These Malls and shopping complexes thrive on housewives only. These ladies have nothing to do so they just pick up their purses and go for shopping”

Our society looks at the working women with respect and awe. They are considered to be super human beings as they manage their homes, work, office, family, and children.

Although I am a strong advocate of women being financially independent but what is wrong in just being a housewife?

There could be so many reasons for a woman to remain a housewife and not work in office or manage a business.

I have seen many women happily leaving their jobs so that they could look after their families, their children and mange their homes.

But many of them do make it a point to stress that they are professionally qualified but for some reasons have chosen to become a housewife.

Why do the woman consider it to be shameful to be called as just housewives?

May be that is the reason many housewives when asked about their profession prefer to call themselves as HOME MAKERS, DOMESTIC ENGINEERS or SOCIAL WORKERS .

As if using a fancy name to their status give them a new respect from the society?

I am not saying that working women are ahead of women who do not work in offices and are at home managing their home.

I just feel that there is nothing demeaning in being a just a housewife.

All those women, who feel that they are mere housewives can utilize the time in their hands with so much constructive work. They can pursue their hobbies, get involved in social reconstruction work ( I am not using the term social work as it is most misunderstood and used terms – giving left over food, giving old clothes to contributing to the marriages of poor girls, taking free coaching classes – every thing comes under the umbrella of the terms social work).

A woman can make her own identity, come out of the shadow of some Mrs. so and so by still remaining a so called just HOUSEWIFE.

 It is a matter of perception,outlook, attitude and being happy with whatever is there.





36 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2010 8:43 pm

    Ya, I know how people react to that.. and the effect it has. My mom too is a housewife and Thank God for that because she literally ran the house and brought us up against a lot of hard odds.. As she puts it, “its a 24 hr profession with no holidays and no pay”.. Weirdly enough, I dont think this mentality was there with us before, was it ? Before, people respected that aspect of the family – the housewife, homemaker.. Now, its an implication of what ? Lack of knowledge, inability to find a job ? How idiotic…

    • April 11, 2010 3:49 pm

      I have heard many housewives say ,” we are maid servants with no salary, no holidays not even diwali ki BAKSHISH.
      housewives are always taken for granted

  2. April 9, 2010 8:44 pm

    A person’s perception of a housewife would depend upon the women around him/her. For example, if I know a woman who is a housewife and spends her time shopping, gossiping and spending his husband’s income in retail stores, I’m more likely to think that housewives are good for nothing. On the other hand, if I know a housewife who say gave upon her career to remain at home and take care of the family and children and is involved in constructive chores, I’m more likely to respect her.

    yes, its a matter of perception. 🙂

    • April 11, 2010 3:50 pm

      we cannot deny the fact that housewives do have lots of time in their hands which they utilise in kitty parties and shopping

  3. Sujata Chawda permalink
    April 9, 2010 10:05 pm

    A lot depends on whether a woman is a housewife out of choice or out of compulsion. Every individual, knowingly or unknowingly gives importance to what people think about them. It is easy to say that you should not bother about how society perceives you but the hard reality is that humans are social animals.

    I understand completely that being a housewife is no derogatory remark to a woman but I must admit that when I was called a ‘housewife’ for the first time (after having worked as a CA for a decade)it did hurt.

    • April 11, 2010 4:46 pm

      Hi Sujata, even I know it is not a derogatory term but people make it sound like so, and make a housewife feel guity because she is not into 9-5 job.
      they forget that we are employed 24 X 7

    • October 12, 2010 9:56 am

      Dear Sujata,
      I read your article onbeing a HOUSE WIFE, with interest. Ultimately its a choice we make for ourselves. Its easier said than done because to make a choice for your own life is the most difficult thing to do. Knowing you as my niece and having seen you at home and how you handle your home and the kids, i think you are very passionate and a loving mother and a beautiful home maker. Never regret any choice you make. We take up a proffessional course as a security for us. That will never be a waste but i think the womanly instinct in us is best shown in the way we handle our home and our lovable children. I always say, we do what we do for our children and our husband because we love them and also because we enjoy doing it, we derive pleasure from what we do. I am certain you will agree with me. Dont ever ponder over the thought whether it will be recipracated or not. That point is least important. Just carry on doing what ever your heart desires.
      GOD BLESS you my dear. Lots of love…..padma chitti

  4. April 9, 2010 10:38 pm

    I think its a personal choice, Don’t worry about what people talk

  5. April 9, 2010 10:45 pm


  6. April 9, 2010 10:50 pm

    It’s not only about being housewife. It’s in the reasons behind the same. It’s about whether that being housewife was out of choice or because of lack of opportunities, talent or ‘permission’, I guess.

  7. April 10, 2010 8:47 am

    well it is a personal choice….. and i think children are better brought up when mother is at home… at least i think that i could not have been what i am of my mother was not at home in crucial stages of my life..

  8. milan mehta permalink
    April 11, 2010 5:11 am

    Shame on the people who look down upon our home makers. Why do such people think taking care of home , kids, cooking is any easier than working in an office? The work that women do deserves much higher credits than the work we do to earn a living.

  9. April 11, 2010 10:18 am

    Here I disagree with most of our friends, including my wife.
    Being a housewife is not doing nothing–it is a bigger responsibility than what most of us do at our work place.
    There we all have a team and still we do mess up and land up holding meetings.
    Here we have this lady doing every part of management herself and still none of think we need to have a meeting with her on any problem.

  10. April 11, 2010 3:32 pm

    I can totally understand where you are coming from. I believe that we as women should just shrug and show don’t care attitude towards people who have such notions.

    A homemaker is working doubly hard….I am in awe of my mother who is a housewife. I had a happy and healthy childhood thanks to her. How could I ever forget that??

    Judging people on the basis of what they do is soo wrong…I have faced this too…

  11. April 11, 2010 7:05 pm

    yes, i do agree with Mr. B K CHOWLA

  12. shruti permalink
    April 13, 2010 10:04 am

    You have a POINT. I would like to share what am going through, for which lot of questions keep running in my mind…
    I have been a working woman from last 7 yrs, with lot of support from my parents. Post marriage, I had some restriction since I liv with my Inlaws. Now, I had to quit for a very genuine reason, back to looking for a job. Its considered a “SIN” to be a working woman here. You might say am talking of one case here, BUT it does exist where they don’t want the Daugher-in-Laws to go to work! for what? I have been indirectly told kts much better off seeing me at home. I love doing house hold wrk and never will back away from work at home stuff…..

    Here in this world, people will always talk what suits THEM….never really bothering other;s FEEL….SAD….am so disturbed.

  13. mbmcconico permalink
    October 5, 2010 4:14 am

    Thank you for that. I was struggling today as I am a housewife- have been one for three years with a new baby. I am fully qualified- went to college and am even working on my masters from home. I hate the stereotypes about managing the home and I often find myself believing them. As you know, being a housewife or homemaker is indeed a REAL job!

  14. Sweety permalink
    November 4, 2010 12:26 pm

    I have never been a housewife but I am getting married next year and I am currently looking for a job. To be honest I would love to be first and foremost a housewife with ideally a part time job outside of the house and eventually back into full time work. When it comes to society, all I hear is that Women should work and how its an amazing thing, but I rarely hear how wonderful it is to be a housewife at least to a certain point in the womans life, especially when she is having a baby and is looking after her young child. It really saddens me because I know that a lot of women would like nothing less then just spending more time with thier kids as their kids are growing up. Personally, My instinct is to look after the house as my main job, and yes it is a job in itself because I remember my mum bringing me up and my brother very well by spending as much time with us as possible. She had various jobs throughtout her life but at many times she would be at home with her kids and look after the house etc I have worked for 4 years and I have a degree so I know all about the office life etc and for a time it was very fullfilling but then I moved because of family reasons and I met my Fiance and I am so happy! We plan to get married next year. He has a very stable job and I wish I could also work again so I’m actively seeking work. But we also want to have kids in the near future so when that happens hopefully then I would love to be a housewife and he is all for it and supports me in whatever I choose to do. People have different opinions, you have to do what makes you happy.

  15. jaydee permalink
    February 21, 2011 10:34 am

    Get real, if housewives could put a salary to all the jobs they perform and collect social security based on multiple salaries or fees, they wouldn’t feel so bad. They have a right to feel bad and inferior, society does not validate the roles of housewives and many of their contributions are intangible. Housewives are marginalized and discriminated against. Being a housewife makes you happy until your relationship fails, the money runs out, or financial power struggles ensue in the relationship. In the course of a marriage, something like this is inevitable, and when it happens, it’s devastating. This is a very nice article for those who can indulge in escapism. But the average housewife suffers in silence. The sacrifices are countless as are the experiences they delight in, but make no mistake, housewives are not respected in much of the Western world. Housewives have no social status. The only status they have is self-assigned and without external validation, it can erode one’s spirit, breed shame, and foster deep anger towards oneself and others. Being a housewife has economic, social, cultural, and spiritual consequences that far exceed our original thinking about it being a personal choice. It changes everything.

  16. July 15, 2011 6:16 pm

    I think being a hse wife feels bad because of how society perceives it!! Otherwise if all the working women would be honest they work so hard trying to manage both career and home and end up having an average of each!! Your kids dont turn out great and you will never compete with the male counterparts cos you will always be late for this and that trying to juggle your home and work. They are so frustrated and the lush out at the poor hse wife who was bold enough to make a decision between home and work!!

  17. meylin permalink
    November 29, 2011 9:36 pm

    well i personaly think that depending on your husband for money is kinda pathetic.not to be rude its just that my mom tought me that way.she said “get a good carrier instead of being at home all the time just look at me,i have to depend on a man,dont ever do what i did”and i think she is right.imagine you get a good carrier and you earn alote of money.that is something to be proude of because you can say ima buy this for myself or ima take a trip or whatever.but being stuck in you house washing dishes and doing laundry <,<.how can you call it life?it seems so boring.well i probably say that cuz im a dreamer but you know what? thats your choice and if you are happy then good for u. dont let no one get in your way of happiness i guess.except if its something bad like being a prostitude but thats a diffrent story lol.

  18. meylin permalink
    November 29, 2011 9:39 pm

    oh an jobs might not be so stressful if you picked the one you arehappy with.for example i want to be a fashion desighner.i would like to creat gowns for wedding or for special acasions.if you study for a job you will regret than yeah it will be stressful

  19. meylin permalink
    November 29, 2011 9:55 pm

    you know what i change my mind.if people warn you to not be a housewife then yeah listen to them becasue they know what they are talking about

  20. April 5, 2012 5:13 pm

    Its actually all about the money. Who rakes in what? I am a housewife and I do not go to kitty parties or go shopping because of a huge lack of time. The whole day I have something or the other that has to be done at home like washing up, cooking, taking care of the bills, errands,etc.

    I know the whole stance on the housewife is that she’s at home and she has nothing to do and just loiters around. But the fact of the matter, is that men don’t seem to figure out how the food lands on the table. True they do fund it. But man doesn’t live on salads alone, now do they?

    The notion of housewives being lazy comes from when men have a holiday.They generally spend their time at home doing nothing or just watching tv and ordering for chai. So they assume that the housewife does that too. Little do they realize where the chai comes from.

  21. been on both sides of the fence permalink
    April 20, 2012 3:44 am

    oh Anjali Empty you are one smart honest cookie! I love a person who has enough guts to tell the truth…..very rare.

  22. farshid permalink
    December 24, 2012 10:15 pm

    Sadly enough, a large number of people in our society respect others considering their position and specially salary. Meanwhile, such people do not respect others due to the fact that these people are convinced that housewives are as an unemployed. I do not agree with such people. I stick to the belief that housewives play a key role in society.

  23. pratiksha permalink
    May 27, 2013 6:38 pm

    hi friends,
    i feel proud that i am house wife it does not mean i am not educated i am professional engineer.and did my master’s too.i would say housewife are more hardworker than professional working women.just getting up in morning take bath have breakfast take tiffin box and leave for office is more easy.but women at home form morning 5.30 till to bed in night keep working with no weekend .working women keep her baby with caretaker if has baby to look after .what in reality motherhood she will never realize it.because she never had done all those things for baby.Infact the made knows child better than mom this fact of Today.pity on those child who dont get there parental love needs mom love this what i am studying.much more to write……. respect housewife she is great.

  24. tina permalink
    July 12, 2013 6:09 pm

    I believe if you plan having kids for you to be a good mother you should be a housewife or cut your working hours. If you don’t want to have kids you want to be a career woman fine. Make the choice now you can’t do both jobs well. One will suffer.

  25. tina permalink
    July 12, 2013 6:17 pm

    As for asking for money, you shouldn’t have to as you have a joint account from which you can access money for running of the household although I would recommend to discuss most costly purchases with your husband. You have right to compensation for your work just like your husband even though you don’t receive a salary as such. I wouldn’t go on a shopping spree in any case, this would affect the trust between you and your husband. Trust is the holy grail in relationship so take it seriously but if the groceries or child needs something it would be purchased from joint account. I am sure he would agree to it.

  26. rashi permalink
    March 17, 2015 6:34 pm

    All these debates of housewife vs working woman make so sense because the truth is that most working women in India do both.Indian men hardly contribute to household chores irrespective of whether their wives are career women or not. And it is only natural to respect someone who works to earn a living as well as takes care of home, than someone who does only housework and lives off their husband’s money.

  27. Sonia permalink
    April 13, 2015 6:33 am

    Not true people are there who don’t stop to taunt you saying ‘so what do you do all day ? Don’t you get bored ? ”
    My husband will come and say see they said it to you too one income is not enough but on other side I can’t take care of kids either .
    I’ll wait for the day when he realizes that the post he reached is not by his hardwork it’s my 24 hr job that made him focus on his career .
    I can go out and do job but what is his contribution ? I think when people understand this the answer will be clear .

  28. March 12, 2018 7:21 pm

    I think it really depends on the situation: True happy Housewife can be very lucky if this means they met someone they trust, they love and who can provide enough for the family.

    We must stop being hypocrites: There are too many women working hard like slave to prove themselves on a low salary and then end up after work doing all the things the housewife will do while the children are having their nap or being at school. And this is true too for men whose wife has deserted the family, leaving him dealing with the kids on his own and a job.

    Most women feels always they are not doing enough, we are not confident and feel easily ashamed. Society is using that: women never have time for themselves. We must be very impressed by them but what good is it if at the end they are just being used? I know so many friends who still have to fight to get any help from their partner. Most women don’t have the money for a maid or a nanny: they are truly superheroes. But are they happy? How sad that instead of liberating us our feminist fights had led us with another kind of slavery and insecurity: we replaced the domination of the husband and parents and church by the the domination of pressure and work/DRH; and we swapped the insecurity we had by depending on our partner with the insecurity of losing a job (threat of a young employee, or a new machine, or the market).
    The reality is that women work for differents reasons:
    – some doesn’t have a choice: they are single moms or divorcees or just won’t leave their survival stack to their partner because they don’t believe he will provide for the family no matter what. (fear of being cheated on, fear of the husband losing his job, fear to have no retirement money, fear of not being able to leave alone without the partner if one change her mind)
    Also, the average salary is not enough to make a normal two children family live properly or by the actual TV/media standards (meaning meat everyday, holidays, decent clothes, brand new house, two cars and university fees and a lot more)
    – some working women are happy: they had the chance to study what they love (meaning they had also the brain, the money and the support from their family) . They studied very hard to obtain their diploma. Then they fought to be recognised in their jobs and they did: they are successful in their job, they earn decent money which make them feel secure and pay for the maid and the childcare. When they come back home, they can have a great family time because all the chores are made by someone else and they don’t need to educate a husband to help at home or do everything by themselves. They go on family weekend escapes and great holiday clubs every year. Most of the time the partner is successful too, adding more money to the equation. Those women are rare but they are who most people idealize when they think of a working woman. High heels, ironed hair, always perfect and beautiful.
    I’ll say stop your TV show and drama and look around you: most working women (not the high pay check ones) would rather be less superwomen but instead be loved for what they are, feel secure, be a spring of tenderness, patience for the kids and care for others and the society if only society would find a way so they can just be happy with what they are: girl, women, mom and grandmothers. Some giving time for society when the children grow up, some helping new moms with their newborn infants…some being engineers part time or 1/4 time… some women can do so much but when they feel threaten or not good enough they are just like men: not happy! We speak of housewife but the same happen for men who wants to stay at home, except that at the moment they are fashion trends: not sure it will last in our performing over stressed society though where everybody must be a working slave. Is a work an addiction? What are we going to do then when robots will become cheaper? Stop working? kill ourselves? Pretend to work in a video game 3D environment? I wonder: is the author of Matrix was a visionary after all?


  1. 2010 in review « Awakening

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