When you think of people who have to wake up early, and work flat out through the day and sleep late at night, with people who absolutely depend on them to do so, you’re probably thinking of business heads, CEOs or celebrities. And while all of those are right, you’re probably not thinking of a homemaker.
If you think about it, a stay at home husband/wife is working every day of the year, with no remuneration, no sick leaves and more often than not, no appreciation. To many Indian women, being a homemaker is a thankless job and it is expected of them to carry out their duties to the best of their abilities, without any expectations in return.
This has been a recipe for disaster. With more understanding of depression and the breakdown of the family system in urban India, we’re finding out more stay at home mothers and homemakers are depressed, as opposed to their working counterparts.
There are many reasons behind this and we will try and explain some of them here –
In a family with children, the workload on the stay at home mom is gruelling. Cooking, laundry, drops to school, house maintenance, shopping, more cooking, homework, helping with accounting, financial management at home and other things can take up more hours than what’s available in a day.
Apart from a lack of much needed “me-time”, they are just too busy to meet anyone outside this gruelling schedule. As the kids grow up, some of this workload decreases, but that takes several years. This is several years of self-neglect and social isolation – both textbook causes of depression.
Comparison with working women
While the homemaker is stuck in this never ending daily routine, they’re also constantly made aware of other women in their age group who are climbing the professional ladder. The job of the homemaker, while of great and irreplaceable value, doesn’t remunerate with money.
This fact is often pointed out to the homemaker, sometimes by the ones closest to them. And this makes them look at themselves in a negative light. And years of being told that, again and again, can cause severe bouts of self-loathing, which leads to depression.
Lack of appreciation
It’s basic human tendency to expect some kind of gratitude when you do something for someone. A homemaker’s work is such that you’re always doing something for someone else. Children, husband, in-laws, relatives – there’s hardly a time when some part of homemaking is for themselves.
When everything works right, it’s easy to take the person making all this possible. In this case, it’s the homemaker. Most families are guilty of taking the homemaker for granted. This lack of appreciation, even though it’s not expected, for the most part, chips away at a homemaker’s self-esteem. And a damaged self-esteem, coupled with the reasons mentioned above, can cause depression.
Homemakers have it tough, but you can make things better. Simple words of appreciation and respect towards what they do will go a long way in making them feel great about themselves. Plus, they totally deserve all that and more.
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