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Self-Esteem for Homemakers

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Self-Esteem for Homemakers

The happiness and the success of a home-maker lies not in getting appreciation and acknowledgement from the family members, but in her own self-esteem. If she is willing to reward herself and appreciate her own role, then she will not be dependent on others.

Let me give you another real life example:

A student of mine married a girl who was a brilliant engineer and MBA, who gave up a lucrative job to migrate to Bangalore with her husband. He invited me for dinner one day to his house. The girl said that she had spent the whole afternoon and evening preparing the meal, and indeed the food was sumptuous. Every item on the table was delicious and well-prepared. As I was finishing the meal, I heartily complimented the young housewife. She immediately retorted, "Oh, no Uncle, I can hardly cook well. You should taste my mother's cooking, she's fabulous. When my mother is visiting us, we will definitely invite you once more, and then you can eat a really good meal."

It may be a fact that her mother cooks much better than her, but then why compare? Why could she not gracefully accept a genuine compliment from me? By dismissing my praise, she created a situation wherein others (including her husband) would stop praising her, and then one fine day she would lament that no one gives her any significance!

Home-makers suffering from low self esteem tend to cling on – first to the husband, then perhaps to a son. They tend to:

  • Feel a sense of identity by “belonging” to husband
  • “If I am nice to him, he will appreciate me some time”
  • tolerate abuse/unreasonable behavior – and he gets used to it
  • when he comes close, they push him away (go into child state)
  • Get into emotional dependency (not interdependence)

Loss of self-esteem is a vicious cycle that takes a person further and further down as the years go past. Many of them hit a burnout when they realize that years and decades of hard and dedicated work, caring, and love for the entire family has left them with a lonely and empty nest. At that stage it is too late for them to rebuild their lives or to undo what has already happened. It is imperative that every housewife of today plans her life ahead, gives more importance to her individuality, and balances her needs with those of her loved ones.

For example, if you are a housewife, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What were my ambitions and aspirations that I have left behind?
  • What are my strengths and skills that can help me IF I decide to go out and work?
  • What can I do to upgrade myself periodically and improve my qualifications?
  • Do I take interest and keep abreast of the world outside my kitchen?
  • What are my plans when the children fly out of the nest?
  • What am I doing to make my family recognize and appreciate my role?
  • What are the activities that I take up periodically only for my own pleasure, and to give me a break from the monotony of domestic work?

“If I am so good, why am I not appreciated?”

Many exasperated housewives often ask this question. The answer lies within themselves. If you do not appreciate yourself, no one will. It is a sad but true aspect of human nature that you need to make others aware. I know of husbands who have been married for two decades or more, and are not even aware of the efforts that their wives put in to keep the household going smoothly. Husbands (or even sons, for that matter) are not mind readers. If you want people to appreciate you, you have to tell them to do it.

Can you, and have you, taken a holiday all by yourself any time in the recent past? If no, then plan one NOW! It will re-charge your batteries. You will be doing a favour to your family. When you come back, you will find a new YOU.

About the author


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