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Becoming a homemaker was partly necessary, and partly by choice.
Having relocated multiple times in the span of 13 years, due to my spouse’s job, I have spent most of my time settling in new cities and countries.
Of course, I don’t want to sound ungrateful—it helped me expand my horizons and gave me an edge in life. Yet, that also came with the added responsibility of helping our child become comfortable in her new environment and culture each time she had to change schools and make new friends.
My career as a human resource professional was impacted as well due to always shifting base—I ended up in a foreign country without a work visa. Because of that, I sulked for a few months before choosing to look at the brighter side.
Taking a break from work meant that I would have more time for my family, more time to relax and enjoy the cozy comfort of my house, and the flexibility to do almost anything, anytime—right? Well, to some extent, yes, but what I failed to realize was that being a homemaker was also a full-time job, which demanded working overtime and weekends, and of course with zero remuneration.
Despite all this, homemakers are perhaps some of the most highly motivated individuals. Doing chores, running errands, cooking, cleaning, attending to children, helping them with their homework, bearing their tantrums, and handling their mood swings is easier said than done.
I don’t want to dramatize the situation, because I know that taking care of our loved ones is natural. But what I am trying to say is: there comes a saturation point in almost every homemaker’s life when they feel lost or directionless, regardless of all the effort they are putting in.
So, here I was, going through the burnout that comes with being a homemaker. That is when I decided to take things into my hands and find a solution.
The more I analyzed, the more I found that the real cause of my frustration was not just being an immigrant homemaker, although that did augment it. Rather, I was dealing with an adult identity crisis. I was failing to uphold my self-worth.
What is an identity crisis?
The term “identity crisis” was coined by German psychologist Erik Erikson. In simple words:
“Identity crisis is a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.”
After a good deal of introspection, I finally decided that it was time for some personal overhauling, and here is what I decided to do:
Meditation: I always knew of the benefits of meditation, but had never given it a try. I started meditating every day, for five to seven minutes, and it quickly became a part of my early morning routine. Meditation cannot solve all our problems, but it certainly helps us get a better perspective of ourselves and our life. It creates self-awareness and helps us become more focused, more accepting, and more peaceful.
Finding a hobby: We all have some inborn talents. If you haven’t figured out your hobby yet, it’s time to discover things to which you are naturally drawn. I’ve loved reading since my early childhood, and my academic and professional experiences contributed to developing a decent vocabulary. Therefore, it took me no time to find my passion for writing. We can have one or multiple talents, and we can enjoy many at the same time, but it’s advisable that we focus on the ones that help foster personal growth.
Think and act like a boss: I decided to take a professional approach toward homemaking, with the understanding that hustling is different than just running around in empty circles. I started planning my day ahead to spare time for my writing, and everything else that could contribute toward my growth and learning. Reading newspapers, journals, articles, and books expands our mind.
Declutter and simplify: Get rid of those old and useless items that demand your precious time and energy to clean and maintain. Learn to say “no” and get rid of the things that act as dead weight. Decluttering helped me simplify my life and started adding to more positivity and happiness.
Productive, not busy: We often fool ourselves while bragging about how “crazy busy” we always are. I understand it may happen sometimes, but it shouldn’t be always. If that is the case, it’s time to examine and start prioritizing things. I started giving importance to quality over quantity.
Exercise: A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. All those negative thoughts slowly fade away when we sweat on that treadmill, on a brisk walk, or during that high-intensity workout. Mindful breathing with those stretches on your yoga mat will increase oxygen supply to your blood and will reduce stress and anxiety. I picked up some of my favorite workouts, and have remained committed to doing them.
Volunteer work: It becomes quite easy to lose our self-worth when we are not associated with a profession. I chose to become a parent volunteer at my daughter’s school and started volunteering at the library, book exhibitions, and fundraising events. Associating ourselves with volunteer work contributes to building self-esteem. It also gives us an opportunity to interact with other adult people and provides a sense of purpose and achievement.
Socialize: Humans are social, and we need to socialize in order to retain our well-being and overall quality of life. For me, it was hard, as I was constantly relocating. Fortunately I met some fabulous people wherever I went, and most of them are still my friends. Taking time out to catch up with our friends gives us a break from the mundane life, and it brings us back to our family rejuvenated and radiating.
Find your purpose: For me, writing was a welcome change, and in due course, I realized the impact it could have upon society. Identifying your higher purpose can be a complete game-changer. Envision how you want this world to be, and how can you contribute toward it. Similarly, with some introspection, meditation, and by paying attention to the things we are naturally drawn toward, we can find our life’s purpose.
Self-care: Last but not least, I always made sure to take good care of myself. Some traditional homemakers are so dedicated, they totally neglect themselves and their needs. Sit and eat well, exercise, meditate, listen to music, occasionally binge-watch TV or eat that chocolate guilt-free, take that power nap—indulge in things that make you happy and healthy, physically and mentally.
Don’t stop living for yourself.
They say that “habits make a man.” If we choose to look at the positive side, we may see a lot of beautiful things waiting to happen in our lives. With the help of the above-mentioned practices and rituals, I found my identity as a hobby writer, and have created my own blog, as well as contributed my self-care articles to various websites.
I have come to terms with homemaking, and enjoy it with utmost joy and pride. My home and family are thriving in a deep-rooted, strong foundation and I’ve made a truce with my identity and my life.
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