She snoozed the alarm thrice before switching it off altogether. Her dreams were so much warmer than the marble floor. She was walking up the stage to receive her first Oscar for Best Actress. She was dressed in a gorgeous sequin piece that slung off her slender shoulders, wait, she didn’t have slender shoulders! This was not really happening! Without warning, the dream crashed and she woke up with a start. Ah, yes! She wasn’t winning an award. She picked up her phone and to her horror, realized that she might just have a shot at winning one for the WORST WIFE. The husband was still snoring away in glory, oblivious to the fact that the alarm had ever gone off.
Thankfully, the husband made it to the airport in time. She heaved a sigh of relief and climbed back in the once warm sheets. She took pride in the fact that his life would be a total chaos without her handling the reigns. Like today, when she had woken up at 3:13 am, packed his bag, made him tea, scolded him for depending so much on her while secretly gloating at the same dependency.
Wives are like that. Some husbands are like that too. They like taking care of their spouses and feeling in-control at all times. These wives make great mothers. Especially, when their children are young and actually, genuinely want to be controlled. But children grow up, husbands grow old, and control starts slipping away through the holes of time. That’s when reality comes crashing down, and once again, she dreams of stepping on that glorious red carpet. But now she’s accompanying her son, the Best Actor.
For ages, women have given their dreams a backseat. Words like responsibility, accountability and duty, are thrown their way more often than needed. The sad part is that the people armed with these words are none other than women themselves. The older, wiser, mightier ones who believe that women should work but only till they can manage to be ideal home-makers as well. These women aren’t opposed to women with careers, but they do believe that managing the house and raising a family is a woman’s first, primal, most important duty.
Yes, a woman, biologically, is supposed to birth a child, raise it and she is emotionally obliged to provide it a healthy, happy life. But stripping her of her own personal ambitions just because she is also a mother is not justifiable. Women are made to feel guilty about leaving young children at home, husbands at the mercy of a cook while they themselves are working in offices instead. They are made to feel incompetent if they prioritize leading a business deal over hosting a family dinner. Not only does this result in lack of confidence and low self-esteem, but the results of these actions can be clearly measured if we take a look at the number of women who hold positions of power.
The fact that every year, we celebrate International Women’s Day but manage to come up with just a handful of women who are making a difference in the world, speaks volumes about the opportunities we allow our women to overtake. The fact that every year, millions of young girls are taught to limit their dreams, to let their husband dream big, to support him in all his endeavors, to stand by him, be his strength and revel in his glory, is sending a very strong message to the future generations. And that message is – YOU don’t matter, your ROLE in the society does.
Today, I raise this question to every woman reading this article – Has any woman, ever, tried to limit your ambitions? Have you ever felt misunderstood by your own kind? Have you ever been embarrassed by these women who place themselves on the pedestals of moral stance and pass judgments on your choices?
Because if you have, I sincerely hope you won’t turn into them. Don’t raise daughters to be great wives. Raise them to be great human beings, with great visions and great opportunities. Don’t raise boys burdened with responsibilities. Raise them to be intelligent, with a sense of equality and not a sense of false pride. Because women don’t make children all by themselves, they aren’t the only ones raising a family and building a home. Give the men a chance to be the fathers, the husbands and home-makers they might really want to be.
Stand by the women around you. Support their dreams and ambitions. To be an ideal woman, first be a sensible considerate and accepting human being. Because when women stand by women, they can shift the tides.
Happy Women’s Day!