So, I’ve been trying to hold back on some comments but seeing as the year is gradually drawing to a close, I thought I should throw in one last rant before I get all sober and align myself to greater heights for 2019. Even as I am typing, my toddler is trying to type with me and can’t understand why I am busy with something else.
I have never desired to be a stay-at-home Wife/Mom. I have great respect for all who find themselves in this position, and even more for those who willingly choose this occupation, but I realised early in life that this is not my calling……
I started this article and had to come back a couple of days later to continue, and I honestly cannot remember what I was ready to rant about! I had to laugh a little because this is not a new situation to me. I’ve recently had a few friends get married and engaged and while it is beautiful and wonderful to see new love budding, I can’t help but wonder how prepared these lovely people are. Its not that I’m being cynical but the person who said experience is a great teacher was not kidding!
I look and the photos of ‘Just engaged’ couples and I see the relief and joy and having found someone to begin the next phase of life with; and I ask myself ‘Will he remember this moment when she says, “Darling please can you sort out dinner tonight, I’m a little tired”? And will she remember her vows when he says, “Sweetheart we can’t afford that Brazilian wig I promised to get for you anymore”? There are many reasons why we get married these days. God looked down from heaven after giving Adam a job and said “…I will give him a helper…” or Helpmeet as the Older translations say.
The dictionary describes the word Helpmeet (helpmate) as a helpful companion or partner. If you’ve ever had to partner a lazy person on a project you will probably understand this phrase in detail. One of the reasons for my earlier rant was a feeling of helplessness – if only I could get some help, if only I could find someone to share this work load with me…. These are not the kind of feelings I expected to have within a marriage.
In the western world where I reside, help is not always a good thing as it could be misinterpreted as a sign of weakness. One of the culture shocks I got when I first moved here was this issue of needing a little change. Has a colleague ever asked you for 50p and then returned it a week later saying thank you for your help? In my culture, that could be insulting as I could assume you doubt my capacity to release such a tiny amount of money; but in the British culture, it is respectful to pay back every loan no matter how small. No one wants to be seen as incapable of supporting themselves or to feel indebted to anyone else, especially not to a stranger.
I talk about culture shocks because when it comes to help around the home, Africans abroad have had to deal with this culture shock. This is a pretty big issue as some Pastors will tell you they have had to deal with this during counselling. There are some challenges you will rarely hear of in Africa. Housework is not an issue because most homes have hired helps or family members to relieve the load, and the help is given readily. Your husband does not need to come home from work and bath the children because someone has taken care of that. Your wife does not need to come in from work and cook the evening meal every day, and even if she does, it takes minimal time as ingredients would have been bought and prepared and the process is all together easy; At least that is how it was in my Father’s house. I never remember my Dad entering the kitchen in our family home, but when we went to visit (as he worked away from home), Daddy would cook so well that we children decided Daddy was the better cook!
Here I am, a wife in the 21st Century married to a man who grew up in a home surrounded by helpers. He didn’t have to do anything in the house whilst growing up, however the few years spent as a single man abroad (as well as his time in University) taught him some life skills. I saw those skills during our courtship and it gave me peace as I believed we would work together to build our home and future. Since marriage however, my husband who used to wash dishes immediately after his meals no longer sees the need. I end up washing up more than six times a day because as soon as the sink is empty, he remembers something else he wants to eat. It is almost a taboo to ask him to vacuum the house or wash the bathroom! I then start thinking “is this happening because I don’t have a paid job?” Children have come, and I handle school runs, GP appointments, homework, lunchboxes and laundry, in addition to all I was doing before. Of course, I still have to wear my church face and be in active service to God because the Lord is good, and my home must be seen to be perfect (I can feel the rant coming up again…)!
My initial rant stopped because my husband decided to go shopping. He said he wanted to make stew. I was looking at him hoping he was okay. He went out and allowed me to rest for a few hours. He came back with the shopping and while he tackled some issues in the garage, I put the stuff away and prepared his lunch. I was at peace. I felt we were working together. I tend to manage my time a bit better than he does so I ended up making the stew, while he watched football and kept the children busy. I felt like I had a helpful companion. The seemingly little act of shopping was such a big help to me. This kind of action should not be a one-off situation. Managing a home is not an easy task. I was ranting to a friend lately about how my husband takes the socks reserved for school and uses them on the children at home. She laughed and said if she didn’t have a child of her own, she really would not understand why that would be an issue; but if you’ve had to get school uniforms ready to make the mornings a little easier, then you would understand why one could lose it over such a small matter.
I don’t live in your home, but you know where the shoe hurts. As we work in oneness to build our homes and marriages, please be a helper to your husband or wife. You may need to hire help for peace to reign or get with the times and shop online. Do whatever it takes to keep your home. Soon the children will grow up and there will be new challenges, this too will pass. As we gradually begin to prepare for the coming year, decide to be a helpmeet to your spouse. It’s the way our Heavenly Father designed it to be.
To Happy Homes
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