Long ago, I met a well-educated young man who wanted a partner who would be a house maker, i.e. would not work outside the home. His reason for that requirement was so that his wife could take care of his unwell mum. According to him, his mum had a tough life after his father’s death, and it took a toll on her health. Now that he was a working professional, he wanted a wife who could be his life partner and took care of his mum who needed the well-deserved rest.
I disagreed with his reasoning, but it was not my place to preach, so I let go of what I felt. But boy! did I feel strongly about that on so many levels?
Let us get down to my reason why women should be financially independent:
- The most obvious one is that working life bring us moolah, builds our sense of self, makes us confident, helps us network and learn new skills. I also believe, while money may be the root cause of evil, it also does its fair share of good.
- I also being that life is precarious and uncertain. Anything can tip a correctly set life. It could either be the death of a primary breadwinner or their loss of job, confidence/ sense of self/ injury. So, in an uncertain world, it is better to be prepared and practical about it.
- I also think everyone should share in the responsibility of bringing money to the table. Why shouldn’t that be the case? If not, it puts undue pressure on one person to keep the money wheels churning.
- I also don’t believe it has to be a ‘man’s job to be responsible for the finances. Why can’t a woman contribute? She is a full functioning adult. We talk about equal rights; some men may prefer being househusbands, why can’t we be open to that without being judgemental or discriminatory.
- Anything done free of charge, however valuable is not valued. A homemaker is responsible for multiple things in the house from kids, grocery, bills, cooking cleaning all which are many jobs summed as one job. They are always left feeling that they are ‘ not enough’ because they do not bring the money to the table. Since they do it for free, it is not valued.
- It puts women who are not ready, because of a sudden change in family dynamics, either health deterioration of primary earner or death, in a vulnerable position. Besides having to deal with the emotional upheaval that life has thrown on her, she must get the ball rolling on earning money, keeping the house functional and learn all the new skills required for that. Instead of being unprepared, it is more practical to prepare yourself to be independent.
That saying, it is not easy being part of a household where two people work. Such a situation demands that the man must step up to other roles besides work. If women are contributing financially, however small, they should step in to share the rest of the load as well. How trained and educated are we to have the mindset that home and children are also part of the man’s responsibility. While we may all say yes, how often do we see men doing it proactively without being spoon-fed about duties or given step by step instructions.
Let this serve as a gentle reminder that we are all equal and are a part of a team. So, both parties take equal responsibility and have mutual respect and love for another. Are you ready to be that mature?
Going back to that gentleman I spoke about, the well-educated one, he married a village girl who met his requirements, a sweet little lovely lady who did not mind what he wanted. Probably she had no aspirations of her own or was quite content with the role. But just as life turns out to be the most significant teacher of all times, he succumbed to cancer and was in dire straits. It is situations like these that make us question our choices. Lucky for him, he got medical insurance during his ailments and was able to go back to work with full recovery. His wife also took up a part-time job near home, so she could be independent and support herself. When such life-altering situations occur, it makes us question our decisions and take the right step. But if something went wrong, his poor little wife would have to take the plunge in the worst scenarios, take up employment and be at the helm of the finances at home. She would have picked up the pieces and turn her life around.
Is that the way we want to live our lives, let fate determine it for us and call the shorts? Or do we want to be armed? For everything we are opposed to, life has an uncanny way of forcing us to accept it and look at it with fresh eyes.
What are you resisting today? Maybe it is time, you look at it with an open mind, introspect and change. If you do not, life has a strange way of teaching it to you.