I have been married for 4 years, with 2 children. The first one to two years seemed like playing a game of ‘catch up’. It seemed like ‘boom’ before we could enjoy each other’s company, the first baby came. Trying to catch up with Motherhood, struggling with being a wife and in-law, all so tiring! Again, before I could cough, the second baby landed and I had more to deal with. I have always wondered how women juggle it all together without being exasperated! For me I’m guessing that I must have been a man in my past life! I just couldn’t fit into things. Henry, my Husband complained all the time that my work took me away too much from the family. The kids were too skinny, the nanny was too dirty, I was too fat, too short, the food was sweet but too small, the food was enough but not tasty! My head is nearing explosion! Somewhere in all of this Henry, his highness lost his job and the complaining moved from a “C” to a “B”. All the family needs are on me. I’ve done the carrying of school fees and bills for one year now! And the 2 shall be 1 flesh I thought to myself
I remembered our courting days, how he used to dote on me and not allow me to do any chores at his flat when I came to visit him. We had so many dreams. We didn’t want the usual Naija marriage where we would smile fake smiles and share “May the peace of the Lord be with you” in Church, and then continue the silent treatment fight, outside of Church. We both wanted a real friendship in our marriage. I stared at the back of his head as I make my way from the bedroom to the kitchen and see how comfortable he is being at home, watching TV and reading newspapers (which I continuously have to pay for to avoid Wahala) He insisted we fire the Nanny that was looking after the children. His reason was that the woman was not respectful because she feels that I bring home all the bacon, and he didn’t want his children exposed to such a person. In short I’ve been left to all the chores.
I have made a number of attempts to get him job interviews and referrals. He would pick and choose and he never seemed to do well at the interviews, because he was never called back for further interviews. I guess he has given up and seems to be quite comfortable with his wife paying all the bills. I remember how my Mother used to drum it into my ears that God made early man a wanderer and hunter in search of food for himself and his family and that the only drop of sweat that should be on a woman’s forehead was the heat from an oven or Gas Cooker. It was men’s responsibility to do whatever is needed to be done to feed his family. I again look at him and then look away. I know what some of you will say “support your husband now, Shebi he took care of you when he had the funds? Or is marriage all about money? I am also asking myself the same question. It would be nice if apart from doing school runs for him to also do the dishes. How can I come home from work and wash dishes that were used for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Not to even mention the endless laundry. I am nearing breaking point. Hilda, please help before I kill somebody!
Hello Tired Wife, I can feel your pain!
Anyone in your shoes would feel overburdened. Marriage is tough, but it requires a lot of sacrifice and give and take. Unfortunately as much as I hate to say this, money plays a big role in easing stress of relationships. For now your husband cannot help the situation. You need to calm down. Try a few tweaks in the organisation of the chores in your home.
If you don’t have a washing machine, save up and get one. Try to wash almost everyday to avoid a pile or if you talk sweetly to your hubby I’m sure he won’t be against having a washaman come and do the laundry every week or for you to take the washing to a launderette. This way all you wash during the week are the kids clothes and your underwear. You know your hubby more than most; you should know how to talk to him, as your partner and friend so that you get to know exactly what kind of work or business he has in mind to do.
He may not be as comfortable as you think with the idea of being at home. He may just have decided that he would make the best of It, by not carrying it on his face. He may feel less than a man when you’re not there. You don’t know this! If your marriage is important to you, you need to help him to help you. Try to involve him as much as possible in the spending so he has an idea of your contribution to the house. It’s like you do all the spending in secret and expect an applause in public. If you are a Christian, this is the time to ask God to come and inhabit your home. Find at least 5 reasons to re-energise yourself and your marriage. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. Hilda