As an only child who happens to be female, all sorts of feminine quality were expected from me. Ever since I was little, my grandmother has always emphasized on how important it is for a woman to be loyal and devoted to her husband. To her, although it is mandatory that a woman educates herself as high as possible, she should never neglect her main role as a housewife who faithfully serves her husband and children.
Because of this, a woman must be equipped with domestic skills, especially cooking.
Unfortunately, my mom, her own daughter, cannot cook, and that is why at the age of 22, I am constantly being told to learn how to cook by my grandmother. She also often expresses her distress because she feels that she has failed to train my mom to become a true woman and a good wife.
I used to share her point of view, condemning my mom because she cannot cook like other moms. I could never brag about my mom’s cooking back in elementary school because she never even made me a sandwich! But as I grew up, I learned that being a good mother does not correlate with cooking.
My mom is a career woman and she takes it seriously. In my childhood we did not spend time together that often, but every night before we went to bed, she always took time to teach me reading. This was the reason I could read a book since I was three. My mom never makes things easy for me. If you want it then you should earn it, and growing up with this principal has turned me into a hardworking adult.
When my father was unemployed and now that he is retired, she automatically became the backbone of the family, taking care of all the household’s expenses, from my education bills to car maintenance, to providing my grandmother monthly allowance for food.
Yes, she never cooks by herself, but she is the one who makes it possible for us to eat. More importantly, my mother is the only person I seek for any kind of advices, whether life or love advice, you name it She is the only person whom I can count on and the only person I can trust not to judge me. She has a very open mind, which is kind of rare in this society, and that makes her the best mother in the world for me.
What I am trying to say is that, we no longer need the stereotype that a woman should be able to cook to survive. Furthermore it saddens me that sometimes it is women (especially from the older generation) who degrade other women for not having this skill.
Today women have a say in how they want to live their lives and it is not always by being a housewife even when they choose to start a family. A woman can be a career woman and still be an awesome mother to a child who looks up to her, although she never once tries her cooking. On the other hand, a woman can also choose to stay at home, devote herself to her family, and be an amazing mother, like my grandmother, who never gets tired of taking care of her husband, two children, a son-in-law and a granddaughter.
Women’s ability to cook, or do any house chores, does not strictly correlate to their quality as a mother.
Just recently, my grandmother talked to me about this again, seeing that I am now 22 and may get married shortly. I then dared speaking up that, firstly, I was not looking forward to getting married any time soon. I still want to enjoy myself and pursue my career before tying the knot . And, secondly, although I admire how she manages to take care of the family up to this point, I told her that she should be proud of my mother for the way she has raised me. For the way she has been a good mom and wife, helping my father out in taking care of the family’s financial situations.
If I ever become a mother, I will be a strong and financially independent one like my mom, even if that means I may not cook or do house chores on a daily basis. Because more than their mothers’ cooking, children need somone who can inspire them and whom they can look up to.
Pritania Astari is currently doing her co-assistant duty in the Medical Faculty of Universitas Gadjah Mada. She despises any kind of stereotypes especially when it comes to women. She has a special interest in feminism issues, and is a yoga enthusiast and a husky lover (though she sadly does not own one).