"so what do you do when you are not like that but your husband demands it and expects it? he will not help, he will not pick up, he will complain about you not doing everything after all, he makes the money.... why arent you doing your job, when he is clearly doing his and bringing home the bacon??? what do you do if he will not watch the kids for 1 second?? you can either chase the kids all over the place, or you can ignore them like he does, while one puts his fingers in the electric socket, and the other tries to test how sharp the scissors are when he pokes them into his open eyes! and accidents have happened before, so you know he will realy not look at them , and they will get hurt!!! so do you keep on doing what you have to do? do you leave him??? is it worth leaving him?? what if he is nice and loving and supportive, but just useless around the house and with the kids?? what do you do when you are overwhelmed and feel like there is no way out?? do you destroy your family go home and sit next to your parents if you dont work? do you destroy your family and live alone with the exact same responsibilities and less money if you do work? how do you change an egyptian husband? how do you throw all the garbage he learned from his mother out the window, and help him learn to be an equal partner?? do you let your kids get hurt because he is careless? do you live in filth because he doesnt pick up after himself? do you go hungry because no one will help in the kitchen? what are you supposed to do?? Do you just put up with him, and work realy hard night and day to go to work, clean the house,make dinner, feed the kids, pay the bills, do the laundry, while he sits on the couch and watches TV, or goes out to hang with a friend, or invite a friend over to watch a soccer match?? what's a girl to do??? i know i will teach my sons to be supportive husbands... but what about me?? fighting doesnt work, yelling and screaming dont work, asking nicely doesnt work!how do you cure years of wrong upbringing without wrecking your life in the process??"
Wednesday, October 31
Egyptian Women Are Never Wives.. Only Mothers
A couple of day ago I received a comment on my post "Desperate Housewives" asking me for advice on a very common problems which all wives face nowadays: the pampered husband, who was spoiled by his mother beyond repair, and who wouldn't give a hand with the housework or the kids even when his wife is about to drop dead of fatigue.
Before I go any further, here's the message I received:
If this sounds familiar to you.. or if you know of someone who's facing the same problem.. or if you have fears about meeting the same fate.. then listen up.. that's something you also should know.
First of all you should never give up on yourself. If you do, then don't expect any better from anyone else. If you believe that you are not getting the treatment you deserve, don't swallow the disappointment in silence and just decide to give in. You must clearly define the line the seperates sacrifice from being taken advantage of. When you allow youself to be drained off by a selfish partner, you are not doing anybody any good, and I've explained that in the previously mentioned post. The burden will keep on piling up until it breaks your spine and your spirit as well. Your marriage will roll down hill so swiftly, that after years from now, you won't be able to figure out a meaning for your life. All the joys will lose their sweetness, cause bitterness has a much stronger taste that covers up anything else. So, don't give up trying to fix your family life. Several failed attempts are not the end of the world.
If you honestly believe that your kids are not safe with their father, then I'm sorry to tell you that you ain't safe either. A man who will harm his kids just because he can't take good care of them, or because he prefers to lie in his laziness, is not someone that you can feel safe with. He is clearly insane. But you say that he is kind and loving. If you trust that, then the kids will just be fine with him.
Now, here's the trick. Men like your husband will do their best to lower the expectations of their wives about what they can do around the house. Give them a simple thing to do and they will make a mess. Tell them to take care to the kids and they will make you regret it. They want to send the message "you cannot depend on me honey. I'll screw things up for you. I'm not good at those things. You are the expert. This family will be much better and safer if you take care of everything youself."
It is true that Egyptian mothers spoil their kids, especially the boys. Most men live with their parents until they get married. And as I said before, they marry another mother instead of a life partner. So, if you fit in this new role, he will be so comfortable and go on with his life in the same way without ever reaching maturity. His mother spoiled the kid and the young man, but you are spoiling the husband and the father. So, by allowing him to sit on the couch switching channels while you are head to toes into housework and taking care of the kids, you are committing a bigger crime. This man will never experience what it is to be a husband or a father. He will never mature, thanks to you. Now, don't get mad when you are rushing to get those kids ready for school while he comes up to you with a button in his hand saying, "this button came off while I was wearing my shirt. I need it done quickly. I can't think of something else to wear." He is another one of the kids. You need to dress him up for work too! He holds the button desperately in his hand, needing you to work your motherly magic to get it back into its place. He has no idea about how you perform this amazing art of sewing. And he certainly doesn't want to know anything about the process. He prefers to view it as a mysterious trick that only you, mama, can perform.
You will be amazed when you learn that this same man can take very good care of himself. If he happened to live alone, even for a short period, ask him about how he managed his life then. He cooked, cleaned, did the laundry, paid the bills, ... and everything just went fine. Or.. He can tell you about his memories back in college when he and a group of male friends spent the summer together. They all worked in harmony to keep the place they rented clean. They prepared delicious snacks. They went to buy grocery. They had to wash their clothes manually, cause they couldn't afford to get a place with a washing machine. And to drive you crazy, he will laugh and say how much they enjoyed doing these thing. He wishes those old days would be back.
So, what has happened? Heaven sent him a second mother. You. He must make use of that. But wait.. it's not because he is evil. He simply can't get himself to do women's work when there is a woman in the house. Men make fun of husbands who help their wives with the housework. They tell jokes about men who love cooking (although cooking is an art). They consider male hairdressers, fashion designers, make-up artists, (in short any man who is in a business serving women) to be gays! That's the whole male-culture. They consider those who do women's work as not masculine, that is to say, they are less-men. How can a manly man wear a kitchen apron and stand in the kitchen peeling onions? The media had also played a role in stressing this false belief. Basic survival skills like preparing your food, cleaning your place, washing your clothes, are considered by men to be low jobs. Something for maids and women. This was the classic belief in times when women were thought to have lower IQs than men. But it continued to survive even after this was proven to be totally false, and even in the 21st century. This male-culture has to keep reproducing the same false ideas in order to keep male advantages secure. So, your husband can't make fun of someone and then go back home to do exactly what the victim of his redicule was doing.
Does that mean that there is nothing to be done to fix that? Of course not. There are two ways to solve this problem:
1. Forcing him to help, which you already tried with no avail. Some men will only feel forced to do things when their wives are not around. Like if you had to travel, for example.
2. Bringing him up. He is still a dependent child, and the only way to fix his mother's mistake is to continue the process where she abandoned it. It becomes your duty to lead him into real manhood and maturity. Talk to him and educate him (of course without making him feel that he is immature). Most wives think that husbands already know how they feel, and so they don't talk about it to avoid being pitiful. Yet, he truely has no exact idea about the pain and the frustration that you are suffering from. He isn't totally innocent, but he is not the grown up man that you thought him to be before marriage. Talk to him about the dream you had of the perfect family, and how you imagined your relationship to be like. Tell him that you fear that you are drifting away from that beautiful image, but that you are not willing to give it up. You (both) want and you deserve a perfect family. The happiness of this family depends on you both. Tell him about how you feel when you watch him being idle while you are exhausted and stressed with overwork. Ask him to put himself in your shoes. Ask him about how he would feel and what he would think. Ask him to predict how this will affect your relationship as time goes by. Is it bringing you any closer? Is it making him any happier? Would he really be happy if for the sake of enjoying his full spare time now, he is risking the future of his marriage? Does this hour in front of TV deserve having a silent marriage for a lifetime.. where each one of you dwells in his own world? Be sure to tell him that you know what men think about housework, that you understand the psychological barrier that is preventing him from helping you. Let him say that his love to you and his family is stronger than any false conceptions that might prevent you from reaching happiness and intimacy. Let him suggest a list of things that he thinks he can do around the house. Ask him if it is too difficut for him to collect the laundry, seperate the light and dark colors, put each group in the machine with soap and press a button. Make it sound easy and fun.. Just as if you are teaching a kid. If he screws up once, be patient. Gently tell him what was wrong and make sure you encourage him to try again. Praise everything he does, but without exaggeration. Encourage him to spend some quality time with the kids, not just watch over them. Kids who have early memories which involve both parents are always happier and smarter.
Marriage is a lifelong investment. If you never receive any profits, you will go bankrupt at any moment. Let your investment grow by seeking profit for all members of the family.. you included.