What does a housewife do?

A friend sent me this quote because she was pissed at her work. Housewife doesn’t bake. At least I don’t do that…

There has been a mixed perception of housewife. I have friends who are housewife. Their routine varies, depending on nationality & culture. I realised being a housewife requires dedication, perseverance, self-sacrificing and people need to give more credit to housewives. Housewives don’t bake shit. I don’t even know how to bake.

My mom’s profession is a housewife. She has been a housewife for most of her life. My elder sister is also a housewife. One of my Japanese friends is a housewife back in Japan too.

Through them, I realised how much work it takes to be a housewife . Housewife job-scope is not fixed and it can cover anything. In Indonesia, it is more relaxed as you can get domestic helpers. In Japan and Netherlands, housewives do not have extra help. The most challenging part is taking care of the kids even when you are sick.

Growing up, people would say “You hit like a boy”, “You are a man trap in a woman’s body”, “Try not to correct a man”, “You can never get married if you speak like that” etc. I never understood and guess I will never understand.

When I was young, I told myself I would like to continue to work even if I ever get married with kids. Firstly, I want to be financially independent. Secondly, I believe women can have both, a family and career.

It is the 21st century. Women should be celebrated for their graduation, promotion at work, not only getting married or having a baby.

I keep pushing myself to be better at work. I take courses on my own to improve my skills. Working for the past 12 years, I faced long working hours. When I just started working, I had to work till 4am Sunday as I was working on huge data. I was only 21, trying to see if programming was my path. I almost lost my health and my boss did not seem to care much. He made me stay in the office with him to complete some data till 2am in the office. He said, “Do you know how much I am paid an hour to do this with you?”.

I realised what a jerk he was. Despite me working over weekends for the past almost 1 year, it doesn’t mean anything. If a project is not on track, as a project leader, you need to check what is the real issue instead of blaming the youngest person in the team…

I was not allowed to go on holiday at all. He did not approve my leave request even it was applied 2 months ahead while others are able to leave to return back home for 2 weeks holiday.

Not only I did programming, I had to spell check Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and communicate to people in Taiwan even though both Singapore and Taiwan office staff are able to speak English.

We did 360 evaluation, to my surprise, other departments complimented my efficiency, good work and sense of responsibility while my own department had nothing nice to say about me.

In the end, I left because I knew I deserved better. Initially, they did not accept my resignation letter. I was 21 but I knew about my rights. I told him it is illegal to deny my resignation letter and if he does not comply, I will seek help from Ministry of Manpower (Singapore Government). I hate the fact I was exploited and still have to put up with his threats.

Guess what? After a month, ex-boss called me and asked me if I want to come back. Someone who had nothing nice to say about my work, wants me back?! I was being honest and asked “Why would you want someone whom you had nothing nice to say about the work performance, to return back to work? Besides, I am doing very well at my current job. Everyone has been nice, I get upgrading courses and 6 months of bonus for this year. If I work overtime, I get paid. The company doesn’t encourage overtime though.”.

Throughout my 12 working years, I still face discrimination, mistreatment, sexual harassment and having to deal with not so nice people. I guess, it happens to everyone who is working.

After becoming a housewife, I was able to relax and think about my life.

It is true I no longer hold fancy job title in a well known organisation. I felt “small” when I fill in my work as housewife. I feel a sense of guilt when I purchase something because it is my allowance not my salary. I travel for holiday, no longer for work. I work on data but it is household monthly expense, no longer monthly, quarterly and yearly sales report.

I missed those days where I put my skills to use, automate through programming which reduced work from 30 minutes to 5 minutes. Or help the organisation to save USD 0.5 million by using past data to better manage production and supply.

I can look for a job in Hong Kong but we are trying to have a family. No one told me how difficult it was to conceive. I wish to have time for my future kids. Hence, I am putting my career on hold.

Life in Hong Kong has been kind.

I spend my time learning languages (Japanese & French), cooking, gym, yoga, dance classes & loads of housework. Currently taking intensive Japanese class on weekdays (except Wednesday). Actually, I’m learning French on Wednesday. I spend a lot of time doing homework because that is how you improve a new language.

It has been a year as a housewife and I am enjoying it.

Goals for 2018:
1. Get my cooking license in April
2. Take JLPT N2 in July
3. Take JLPT N1 in December
4. Body with abs
5. Improve my French
6. Start a family

I am confidence I can do the first 5 items while the 6th would be in the hands of God… There is only so much I can do…

Till then…


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