Being Women

My Mother – A Homemaker. But The Best Guide to Financial Independence

Preethi shares her mother's advice "Financial independence is a must for everyone, especially women. Lifespan and relationships do not come with a guarantee."

Financial Independence: The most significant of all kinds of freedom

My mother has always been a homemaker. And yet, she has been the greatest contributor to my career and my financial independence. She believes that’s the most significant of all kinds of freedom, and here’s how she has been my mentor. 

Learning to cook is not the way out

From the time I can remember, she has been slogging in the kitchen. Cooking multiple meals, packing endless tiffin boxes, and serving various palettes. But she seldom insisted on me learning to cook; for that matter, not once did she mention that I had to learn cooking because I would be married off one day. She didn’t train me to make my way to a man’s heart through his stomach.

Post my degree, when proposals started arriving, she was in no hurry to go groom-hunting for me.

All that she wanted was that I find a job. And it was she who had suggested the teaching profession would suit me best. After my final year, even before my results were declared, my mother and I would scan the vacancies column in newspapers and job websites. I remember she had accompanied me to a few distant venues for interviews as well. It was only when I landed a permanent teaching position that she talked of marriage. To someone who would always let me work.

I have often felt the urge to quit

I was working when I was married and when I was expecting my son. But every job has its own share of challenges, and my profession does too. Plus, with a home to tend to, a kid, his academics, and his extracurriculars, honestly, there have been many occurrences when I had felt the urge to quit my job. And I wanted to be home as a hands-on wife and mother, not work at all.

Being a working professional or a homemaker is entirely your choice, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with either. But my mother was adamant that I shouldn’t quit. That I had to go to work as long as I could. My husband was okay with me leaving my job for good, but not my mother. She just wouldn’t hear of it.

Financial independence is a must for everyone, especially women. Lifespan and relationships do not come with a guarantee. Moreover, if you wish to have a say in any of the important household decisions and if you desire to be taken seriously, you must earn it. Your financial dependency will push you down, and there will be no equal partnership in your marriage anymore.” Mother always reasoned.

I had lashed out plenty of times. I had, more than once, blatantly told her that, as a naïve housewife, she wouldn’t understand work pressure or stress. I had blamed her countless times for pushing me into a world of endless strife while she sat back and relaxed.

She wouldn’t relent. With a stoic expression, she had once stated, post my outburst, “This is precisely why. So they don’t say later that you enjoyed all your life for free.”

I hadn’t realised much of it back then, but I see it clearly now. A postgraduate in psychology, she had spent almost twenty-five years of her married life tending to her husband, children, and, in later stages, her incapacitated mother-in-law. My father, being the eldest son, took his parents’ responsibilities on himself and my mother for granted. Uncles washed their hands off; one of the aunts was very young, and the other aunt was working.

At times, I heard my mother weep all alone in the kitchen. My parents seldom quarrelled, but I’m sure it’s because my mother silently tolerated the injustice. And more than a decade has passed since my grandparents’ demise, and my father has been a good parent and perhaps a good husband. But I haven’t ever heard him appreciate my mother for all that she sacrificed.


I wasn’t always career-oriented, but my mother moulded me into one

So because she insisted, I completed post-graduation along with my job, strove for my promotions, and fought my way up the career ladder. I often consult her for my job-related problems, and believe me, she comes up with the most accurate advice. If it wasn’t for her, I would have given up long ago. I wasn’t always career-oriented, but my mother moulded me into one. She had her reasons; I wouldn’t judge her, but she always wanted me to have a job. She persuaded me; she didn’t go soft on me; she witnessed my period of struggle, but somewhere along the line, perhaps she knew it was for my well-being.

My mother, a seemingly meek housewife who is a force to reckon with.

I have emerged stronger, more independent, and more confident. We recently completed 20 years of marriage, and I don’t mean to boast, but as of now, I feel I’m in a safe financial position as a breadwinner and an equal partner. And it’s only thanks to my mother, a seemingly meek housewife who is a force to reckon with.

By Preethi Warrier

Preethi Warrier has completed her Masters in Electronics Engineering and is an Assistant Professor. She is one of the winners of the TOI Write India Campaign Season-1, for the famous author Anita Nair. She can be contacted at:

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