MARCH is the National Month of Women, courtesy of the law authored and sponsored in their respective chambers by former Rep. Baby Puyat-Reyes, now Philippine ambassador to Chile, and former Sen. Leticia Ramos-Shahani. The other day, I read a post on FaceBook written by a certain Ryshell Castleberry about “mere housewives.” I decided to reprint it with some editing in keeping with the spirit of this month. Here it goes:
A husband (H) was getting frustrated with his wife who doesn’t help in the family’s finances by staying at home and not working. He consulted with a marriage counselor (MC) about his problem with his wife.
MC: What do you do for a living, Mr. Perez?
H: I work as an accountant in a bank.
MC: Your wife?
H: She doesn’t work. She’s a mere housewife.
MC: Who makes breakfast for your family?
H: My wife because she doesn’t work. She’s a mere housewife.
MC: What time does your wife wake up?
H: She wakes up early because she prepares the breakfast and baon of the children, ensures that they are well-dressed, if they had taken all their books and school supplies and breastfeeds and changes the diapers of our baby.
MC: How do your children get to school?
H: My wife takes them because she doesn’t work. She’s a mere housewife.
MC: After taking the children to school, what does she do?
H: Usually, she drops off bills or goes to the supermarket. Once back home, she has to breastfeed the baby and change his diapers, take care of laundry, clean the house and then take a nap. You know, she’s a mere housewife.
MC: After returning home from your work, what do you do?
H: Rest of course. I’m tired working all day in the bank.
MC: What does your wife do at night?
H: She makes dinner, serves our children and me, washes the dishes, and prepares the children to sleep after checking if they had brushed their teeth. Once in bed, she wakes frequently to breastfeed and change a diaper if needed while we rest.
MC: This is her daily routine. It starts early in the morning and continues until the wee hours of the night and you say “she doesn’t work; she’s a mere housewife?” A housewife needs no diploma or gainful employment outside the house but she plays a key role in family life.
Most housewives dedicate their lives for the welfare of their families. Although they have no salary, they’re on duty day and night with no vacation leave. Enjoy and appreciate your wife because her sacrifice is priceless.
(I must add, there are also a number of housewives who work in an office 40 hours a week and still have a well-managed household, with the help of their parents (usually) and kasambahay. They’re equally deserving of kudos although I must admit I admire stay-at-home moms more, like most traditional Filipino husbands.)
There’s little discrimination against women in Philippine politics as shown by the big number of them getting elected to the legislature starting with Bukidnon Rep. Remedios Fortich in a special election in 1947 following the death of her husband Carlos, and Geronima Pecson, the first lady senator. (The first congresswoman to serve a full term is Rep. Medina Lacson de Leon who represented Bataan in the Second Congress.)
At the Regular Batasan, the late former Supreme Court Associate Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma, former Sen. Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Inday Nita Daluz of Cebu and Amelia Gordon of Olongapo aired the opposition of the women sector to martial law. Ranged against them were intellectuals like Mercedes Cojuangco-Teodoro, a summa cum laude graduate and mother of another intellectual, bar toptnotcher Gibo Teodoro.
Malabon-Navotas Rep. Tessie Aquino–Oreta was the assistant majority leader in 1987, the first lady representative to hold the post. She later became a senator. She’s now running for Congress.
Quezon City Rep. Nikki Coseteng made a spirited bid to become the first lady Speaker Pro-tempore in the Eighth Congress, but lost to Rizal Rep. Francisco Sumulong. Coseteng, one of the most beautiful legislators before the entry of showbiz personalities, went on to become a senator.
Sen. Leticia Ramos-Shahani became the first lady Senate President Pro-tempore in 1993 and Sen. Loren Legarda, the first lady majority leader of the Senate in 2001. Legarda also topped the senatorial election twice, a distinction she shares with the late Sen. Jovito Salonga. (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is the first lady candidate for senator to become No. 1.)
Sen. Santanina Rasul is the first lady Muslim senator.