The transition from a single working girl to a married working woman requires a lot of adjustments and an understanding mother-in-law
The move over from being a single working girl to a married working woman initially seemed mighty tough. Soon after my engagement, all and sundry started asking me if I would keep on working after getting married, as if a girl only works to kill time before someone hitches her up.
I have got to accept that I did wonder about my future hubby and in-laws having a problem seeing me leave for the office every week day. To find out before hand if my fiancé fostered any ideas of wanting his biwi to be home all day, get dolled up in the evening to wait for her lord and master to return from work, I referred to my job as much as I could whenever we talked.
While nothing he did or said ever hinted that he would not like a working wife, friends still warned that a man would gladly eat out of a girl’s hands before she becomes officially his, but after that it’s a different story altogether.
There was no harm in being prepared so I made a mental list of all the arguments that went in the favour of keeping my job. Thankfully, I never had to use them.
I can vouch for the fact that living in a joint family can be a real blessing if a woman has to spend a good part of the day out of the house.”
Clearly a woman who decides to pursue a career along with taking care of the home and hearth has got to be prepared to work extra hard at balancing the two together. But more than this, what makes life easy for a working woman is the cooperation of everyone living in the house.
From my personal experience I can vouch for the fact that living in a joint family can be a real blessing if a woman has to spend a good part of the day out of the house. Even if those at home, i.e. the mother-in‑law and sisters‑in‑law, may not do your share of the housework, it is a relief to know that they will be there to keep an eye on what’s going on.
It is difficult to get a good maid. And even if you have one, things don’t become easy as there has to be someone around to keep an eye on her. Even, with a maidwho is supposed to turn up during the early hours of the morning or late in the evening when you are home, things rarely work according to schedule. Her child gets sick or runs away or her junkie husband beats her blue and black, and there you are impatiently glancing at your watch which tells you that you’ve got to leave for work in 15 minutes.
In such a case if you’ve been taking good care of your mother-in-law, she will willing oversee the maid who’s most likely to turn up in your absence.
I have to say that I have been lucky enough not to be given the sole responsibility of the kitchen — I cringe to think how tough life would have been for me otherwise. I know there are so many ladies who manage cooking up meals before or after their job, but it’s really hard on them.
Thankfully I am blessed with a mother‑in‑law who just loves cooking and fattening up her kids and even when I am trying to put my culinary skills to use, she’s there by my side to help. With so much cooperation from her, it’s only natural that I also try and handle as much as I can when I am at home.
Mothers tend to spoil their sons and the wife has to take care of the spoilt boys (brats). It’s sad but true.”
Of course things can’t be they way they were at my parent’s home when I would make a fuss if I didn’t like what was cooked or if my mum asked me to help her out, or my mother would shout at me to come and have dinner while I would be busy chatting away with a friend on the phone.
Now I have to respect meal timings to have food together with the family or wait for my hubby when he comes late from work. I know there are so many educated females these days who advocate asserting themselves and making husbands share the housework, but the conclusion I have come to is a little different. Not that a wife should be treated like a doormat, but there is not denying the fact that husbands like to be pampered.
My better half does take care of me but what he loves more is that I take care of his needs. So even when we both return from the office together, I have to literally hand him the towel and pyjamas before he goes to freshen up and change! And the clothes he drops on the bed after changing has to be picked up by me too!
Quite a change I must say from the time when I would leave the bed unmade, my clothes lying around and my dear mother would clean up the mess after I left for the office.
But these are some changes that a female should be ready to accept after she gets married. No matter how understanding and broad-minded a husband is, he still will not be too happy if you declare you are tired and leave him to clean his own closet or the bed. You’ve got to make sure he doesn’t run out of clean undergarment or hankies and fish out his favourite T‑shirt when he needs it.
These are simple hardships one has to put up with to make the marriage run smoothly. Otherwise he is sure to remember how things were when his mother took care of such mundane tasks without complaining and now his wife is too busy to wait on him.
Mothers tend to spoil their sons and the wife has to take care of the spoilt boys (brats). It’s sad but true. And when the working wife of such a pampered son tries to straighten things up, very soon he may just tell her to hand in the resignation as she has better things to do at home — taking care of him and the house. No amount of reasoning about the rising inflation and the advantages of a double income will deter him.
He is, after all the man of the house, and he can well make sure that the bread is well-buttered.
This article was originally published in Woman’s Own magazine.