Over the years, I have come across plenty of women, and their diverse circumstances. And me being me, I have always observed and tried to analyze every situation until I understood the root cause of it. Once I am done, I am ready to support whoever asks for my help, though I am not the one to give them step-by-step instructions on how to live their lives. I only empathize and try my level best to advise them on the right path, to the best of my knowledge.
Here are my observations of some chronic circumstances and my very own reasoning of why some of us get into unnecessary stressful scenarios in life and/or how we could perhaps avoid them.
Let me give you a few examples so you understand it better.
• Living with abusers: This may include husbands, in laws, parents or siblings who try to dominate or abuse us until we start to lose all hope to live a happy life. This would also include philandering husbands who mentally abuse their wives for many years. In such situations, we women tend to be bound to the ‘family’ because we know our kids need to be nurtured well. We are also aware that we can very well bring up happier individuals ourselves, but we still suffer in silence and do not leave. Wouldn’t our mind-set change, if we were financially independent? Wouldn’t it give us more courage to take that extra step and move on, to better our lives and keep our children from living around such toxic people?
• Supporting husband’s passion: Many of us want our husbands to follow their passions or continue to exhibit their talents like they used to back in the day. We coax our husbands to lead their lives the way they would like to, as we understand that responsibilities have taken precedence over passion. We, supporting wives, always welcome the idea of letting our husbands explore their passions full time but deep down we are worried about how we would manage our monthly expenses if they do not have full-time paying jobs. Wouldn’t we be less concerned if we were financially independent with a few payments at least?
• Passing away of loved ones: When you lose a loved one, it can cripple you emotionally, especially if he/she is the sole bread winner of the family. Many of us leave our lucrative jobs to don the role of full time mothers or homemakers, despite having all the educational degrees possible. And when tragedy strikes, we are disoriented because we have to suddenly look at getting back into the market by either starting a business or getting a job after a career break of a decade or sometimes even more! If we had been financially independent all the while, wouldn’t that be a blessing in such an unsettling time?
Besides being resilient and handling situations like the ones mentioned above, there are other benefits of not being financially dependent.
• Your relationship, with your husband and kids, is different. They will express respect in other ways than if you were dependent. Consequently, your children will start to get responsible at a much younger age and will learn to take care of themselves. This is of course only possible if we are able to create the right work and family life balance.
• Asking for money (unless you are getting a fixed amount every month) becomes less painful because none of us enjoy asking for money regularly, now do we?
• If you’re lucky to reach a ripe old age, you can live independently instead of depending on your children, siblings or in-laws to take care of you. They have their own lives to live and experience, don’t they? I would hate to be reliant on anyone at that age. Keeping my fingers crossed!
• The overall quality of your life improves when you are financially independent. Having financial freedom means you are working which in turn means you are interacting with different people every day. I say this from experience that this is vital for your sanity! Sitting at home without having constructive conversations, gradually affects your brain. After 7 years of being a home-maker, I already feel like my vocabulary is depleting.
With our lifestyles today, do you think it is fair that the men do all the earning while we enjoy the fruits of their labour? Yes, the house also needs to be taken care of but wouldn’t it be nice if both parties could share both responsibilities? Like we could share in the financial load while our husbands could spend quality time with the kids, perhaps more than usual? I know some men who barely get a glimpse of their children all year round, let alone spending time with them.
I’m not suggesting that we get egoistic and immediately feel the need to search for high paying jobs or move out and try to live independently after every tiff. I’m only highlighting that we need to expose ourselves to the professional arena; perhaps just a little bit at least to be prepared for ‘that’ rainy day instead of completely depending on our men. Also, any earning, that takes care of mobile bills, personal shopping or grocery at the very least, will surely impact the way we think, feel and function.
On India’s 71st Republic Year, let us all strive to be independent in togetherness, just like our country officially decided to on 26th January 1950.
It is imperative to reiterate that the key to it all is effectively balancing your work, home and personal life. If you can handle it well, while being financially independent, you have cracked the code! Not forgetting the age old saying, ‘a happy wife makes a happy home’. True! Isn’t it?
Do you agree with me or do you have another view I’m unaware of? Let me know in the comments below. Happy to debate your ideas!