This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in April 2014 issue.
When I was young, I didn’t realised that my mum is a super women. But I know now that my mum is my hero and my treasure, she is like a prize I won the day that I was born.
My mum had a normal upbringing but she started working at a very young age. She worked as a teacher and continued working for most of her life.
When she got married to my dad, as in most of the household in Nepal, being a daughter in law, she had to cook, clean and look after the family and at the same time went to her 9-5 job six days a week.
After doing her daily chores, making sure we had breakfast, our lunch packed and everyone else is fed, she would to the school to teach. She usually arrived home late in the afternoon or before dawn and would prepare our food and take care of our needs.
I can’t remember her complaining about anything but remember her willingness and perseverance to help our family and trying to give me and my brother a better life. I really didn’t understand her sacrifices and to make it worst I used to complain about the food we ate, clothes we wore, toys I owned and other things.
It all seemed normal to me as a kid because most of the women around me were doing the same thing while most of the men were working in a job or business and were served hot meal 3 times a day without needing to lift a finger in the kitchen.
As I became more aware of the society in Nepal, I became aware of gender biases as well. I always asked questions if someone treated me different from my brother and I used to hate the answer when they say, “It is because you are a girl”
“Girls should not be saying this.”
“Girls should not be doing this.”
“Girls should be learning how to cook.”
The amazing thing is, most of the times, these words were from the mouth of women like grand ma or aunties than men. As a child, it never understood why I have to be different from my brother. I am the same in every way I can think of to my brother so why I can’t do certain things or why I have to do certain things.
Watching Hollywood movies, I was happy to know that at least in some part of the world, women are treated better and equal and this made me dream of running away from Nepal and finding a future in a country where men and women are equal and gender bias didn’t exist.
When my destiny took me to Australia for further study, in my mind I knew that I was going to a developed country. I was sure my future was going to be much better than in Nepal. I had big dreams and was happy that I was taking the first step towards my dream.
Out of many things, I left behind in Nepal; I thought one of them would be gender bias. Living in Sydney for a while made me realise I was wrong. Like my mum, most of the women here were doing their duty at home as well as at work. Only few lucky ones had husbands who would help a lot in the kitchen and with kids but most women were doing 80% of the house chores while their partners were resting, as they were tired from a hard day’s at work.
Even though western society looks like they have no gender biases in movies I soon realised that the wives and mothers in Australia were going through the same story that my mum was going through in Kathmandu. Only a few lucky enough were telling me a different story but most of them had to look after both house and work. Therefore, my dream of living in a gender equal society was scattering into a million pieces.
I realised only when I started working and studying at the same time, how hard life can be. The hardships I went through as a student in Sydney made me think how great my mum is and how she is a super woman, able to do all that for us.
My mum deserves to be cherished because she taught us the values in life that inspired us to live wisely. She showed us how to be strong in times of weaknesses. She took care of us, fed us and did everything for us without complaining whether she was tired or sick. I feel bad that I used to complain about her food and the things she did or did not do.
Now I am a wife I understand her situation much better. I feel blessed to have an understanding husband but still feel a need to take care of many things in our house. Call it a women’s instinct but there are many things I feel I need to do to make sure our house runs smoothly and it is not an easy job. Right now, we are only two adults in the house and I can’t imagine how life going to be when we will have a couple of kids running around.
After a hard day at work, some days I feel exhausted and tired and remember maybe that’s how my mother felt as well when she was raising us. There are days I don’t want to go to the kitchen and then I remember my mum and how she handled two hungry screaming kids when she got back from work. It wasn’t easy for her and I can feel in my heart what she must have felt then. I know now that I should have appreciated all her efforts and all the sacrifices she made. She deserves to be loved and treated special. She is a superwoman.
One day when I am going to be a mum and I hope to come into my own as a strong woman like my mum. I salute women like my mother who have paved the way for me as not only a woman and wife but someday as a mother and super woman to love and give with a big smile.
Please pick up a phone and call your mum and tell her how much you love her because you may not be this lucky one day.
Take care everyone,
M from nepaliaustralian