by Jayshree Sita, a mom who traded the life of a chartered accountant to become a teacher and now devotes her time to her  family. She’s also an aspiring writer and artist who is passionate about self-development.

I read an article in the Feb issue of Woman and Home entitled, “Don’t call me a housewife, I’m a CHO(Chief Household Officer).”

I am currently a stay-at-home mom of two gorgeous kids aged 9 and 6, and interestingly my husband is the CEO of a very prestigious company. I would love to add a ‘C’ to my title.

A key message in the article indicated that “the role of housewife is not going to go away, but it’s about empowerment, and bringing challenge, enjoyment and status back to a role in decline.”  This line touched a chord with me as I believe that I have experienced this very phenomenon and would like to share my story.

I have experienced a glamorous corporate career as a chartered accountant, and a second very rewarding, yet challenging career as a teacher.

As a teacher I had the opportunity to inspire young people, and contribute meaningfully to their growth and learning. I taught business studies at matric level and could use my CA experience to make lessons ‘real world’ and interesting. However, the teaching workload was immense. I also found that a lot of teaching time was lost in playing policeman in the classroom. I realised how important my role is as a parent in raising my kids to have good manners and to instill a learning culture in them from a young age.

In 2008, we had begun to build a new home, and I found myself becoming the unofficial building project manager looking after builders, plumbers, etc., an unpaid, unglamorous, super stressful role.  Eventually, I let go my teaching job to focus on getting the house built.  Thankfully,that experience is behind me and we now live in a beautiful home.

I chose not to return to formal teaching,being fully aware that the demands were too high on my  family time.

Nevertheless, at home I sometimes felt lonely and unfulfilled. Being “just a mommy” is not very intellectually stimulating and carries no status in society. Added to this, my husband’s promotion to CEO triggered a few self-esteem issues. I asked myself, “Am I okay being just a supporting actress in the Sita Family Show?”

Anyway, I turned 40 last year and began to explore things that I find uplifting – art, writing ,reading, volunteering at schools and studying Vedanta philosophy. I also found like-minded people to team up with in these endeavours.

My Vedanta studies led me to formulating an ideal for myself. It is “To build a community of caring, creative, thinking children who will contribute to the world in a positive way  with a strong self-belief as well as sound values and judgement. I have begun to work on this ideal at home, and within my community and neighbouring schools. In pursuit of this ideal, I see my own fulfillment arising whether in a formal or informal job.

Hence, I now feel at peace as I am able to fulfill that vital role of CHO (I love the term), while still following my personal aspirations and giving myself the respect I believe I am due.

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