The reality is that many women end up being unemployed either temporarily or permanently. If your husband is working in another city or country, women are often expected to leave their job and relocate after getting married, while men get to keep their old job and lifestyle. Some estimates suggest that out of women who migrate (within and outside Pakistan), 40-50 percent list marriage as their primary reason for moving.
While moving to a new city or country can be exciting, it comes with its own set of challenges. The worst of all – the sudden unemployment and faarigh time. And then let’s not forget the Whatsapp calls which are a constant reminder of our misery.
Here are all the things new wives abroad have to hear:
1. “Beta enjoy karo nayi nayi shaadi hai”
Enjoy – being alone? Soon after the wedding, after a few weeks or so, newly married men settle back into their routine work life, while us brides are left by ourselves for majority of the day. What is one supposed to do from 7am to 7pm?
2. “Duniya mein serious problems hain tumhein kiya nokri nokri ki parri hui hai”
I didn’t know there was a competition for what is more serious? This is serious to me! Many women, especially those who haven’t worked before, often think that you’re exaggerating the problem. They tell you to just be grateful that your husband and susraal is “normal” and loving (aren’t they supposed to be?).
3. “Kya banaya khana mai?”
The most dreaded question of all. This is usually not the conversation you want to get into especially when your life seems to revolve around buying groceries, unpacking groceries and preparing meals with those groceries! You don’t want to prepare meals, let alone talk about them.
4. “Tumhai paiso ki zaroorat toh nahi hai?”
Pakistanis often relate money as the main motivator behind a woman working. What many fail to understand is we’re educated and ambitious people that are looking to excel in our career (and becoming financially independent isn’t the worst thing!). We would much rather be employed than unemployed – even if our husbands were millionaires.
5. “Job to hai nahi to phir aur kya kar rahi ho aaj kal?”
Thanks for reminding us of our unemployment – again! Understandably, everyone wants to know what you’re up to. Family, friends, in-laws – everyone, everywhere asks the same thing every time. It would be nice to avoid thinking and talking about that question from time to time.
6. “Job mili koi?”
Hmmm wouldn’t I tell you if I did? People often ask this question assuming the answer would change. What they don’t realize is that it’s all we think about! We are constantly thinking of business ideas, freelancing, interning, and volunteering here and there. We are go-getters who are constantly trying to get around the system – doing more than you can ever imagine.
7. “Apnaye meeyan ka khiyaal rakti ho?”
Saas ko call kiya na? Usko kahna diya? For your family, making sure your husband (and their family) is well and good is the primary goal! They seem to forget that he lived a life before he was married. For many, not all, making a relationship work suddenly becomes the woman’s job.
8. “Bacha kar lo”
This is probably one of the worst things you could suggest! Isn’t relocating, leaving your job, managing a house, and becoming borderline depressed enough!? Now you want to add the responsibility of a little creature so I have no life of my own? To this, they will often say “yahi time hai” or “Allah ki naymat hoti hai“. To that I say – mind your own business.
9. “Usai kaho job dei dei”
Yes, because it is just that easy! Call a friend and get that job. They’ll call the government and ask them to change your work status.
10. “Tum akaili jati ho bahir?”
Getting married often means you become attached to the hip with your husband. When socializing and traveling alone, people think you’re handicapped in some way without your man by your side. They quickly forget the independent life you led before signing the Nikkah papers. So yes I can and will travel by myself and yes I can have male friends too.
11. “Allah kai uper chor do sab”
Having hope and faith is great! While we believe this, we also believe Allah gave us the ability to think for a reason. This is no excuse to stop trying and so instead – give them business ideas, suggest places for employment, connect them to the right people.
Cooking, cleaning, dusting, doing laundry, grocery-shopping – these are tasks that many women in Pakistan and abroad are increasingly avoiding. For many ambitious working women today, being a housewife is not an option.
To all newly unemployed women who want to work but can’t for any reason, you are not forgotten and your role in this world is crucial. Success is built on failure so take a risk, start a business, master a language, learn a software – invest in yourself, keep growing and keep trying.
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Cover image via: Hello! Pakistan / YouTube