Housewifery is mostly by circumstance these days and not by choice. For some women, it is because they did not go further with school, for some it is because they are still studying while others are house wives on health grounds or because they cannot find a trustworthy nanny, among others. But this status is not a license to being idle. Paida Mpaso writes.
Maria Kafanthenga, a mother of three who stays in Machinjiri, Blantyre, quit her job to be a house wife. She says while there were moments she was enjoying her time at home, it was not without regrets at times.
“It’s fun to take care of your children full time, but in this economy; it’s embarrassing to keep asking for money from your husband. I mean we all need to be independent. But where you keep asking for money every day, you begin to lose your independence,” she says.
Kafanthenga further recalls moments when her husband would become frustrated.
“There were times my husband would become frustrated over small issues. In the long run, I just realised that it became too much for him. Although he was excited in the first days, as time went on, he could not shoulder everything and so I just had to start looking for a job again.
“As a woman, I feel women should find ways of helping themselves. Staying at home 24/7 does not pay the bills,” she says.
But who is a house wife?
Marriage Counsellor, Regina Phanga, says a housewife is a married woman who is not employed outside the home.
“ Most often, the husband works during the day and earns income to support the family, while the wife takes on most of the non-financial responsibilities, such as maintaining the home and, if applicable, caring for children. It is up to the couple whether this arrangement works for them. Sometimes it’s a temporary situation, especially if the children are too young to go to school,” she says.
Phanga says while being a house wife is one of the dottiest jobs a woman can ever dream of, housewives should stop taking this as their sole responsibility. She encourages housewives to be innovative and creative.
“Being a housewife is a good thing, because you are able to monitor your children closely. But in this economy, I think women should try as much as possible to find something to do. It’s not wise to keep asking money from your husband day in day out,” she says.
Monica Unyoro, an entrepreneur says, women need to find ways and means of generating income and not solely rely on their husbands.
“Those days when women would just stay at home are gone. If there are issues of money, let us ask our husbands or relatives for a small capital. What I am trying to say is that let’s avoid being idle, lest we become redundant,” she says.