Date Published: 10/25/09
EQUALITY COMES WITH A DUTY TO PROVIDE FOR HUSBAND AND CHILDREN By Farouk Martins Aresa
The days of your money is ours and my money is mine popular amongst women may be fast coming to an end. Indeed, many successful women are surprised by the court orders that had favored them in the past as the less income earning spouse. A new reality has set in, so it is not unusual for very successful women to be demanding prenuptial agreement before stepping into marriage. How fast time has changed?
Nevertheless, you will be well advised to stand away comfortably from a striking distance before you demand from a woman, her duty to pay the husband in particular and the children. Most ladies may politely tell you that they do not pray for such a man in their lives. Since most of us are brought up to look up to a responsible man who can take care of his family, any man that falls short is invariable a failure or unworthy.
Fortunately, many women are growing up these days hoping to provide for themselves that car and house usually associated with manna from men. The buying power of ladies has increase faster than that of average men. There are many factors responsible for this but it suffices to say women are catching up everywhere and affirmative action in many countries has helped. Women have always worked hard and many were well qualified but had been relegated.
So Baby, women have come a long way. We should all celebrate the success of women at every level in life. It took a long time and there is much more to do to get women on equal footing as men. They now make up about fifty percent of most professional schools. In general, there are more women in the universities than men but for various reasons, men still dominate most of the professional fields.
Once woman starts making money for the household, it is completely different from when a man is making money for the household. It is uncomfortable for men to get used to and harder for most women to surrender their pay checks to their husbands. We have to understand that when the average men are working, they either spend most of their pay to take care of the house and children or completely surrender the checks to their wives. Hardly do African men surrender their pay to their wives!
The reluctance of African men to surrender their pay is common in working wives everywhere. It is universally accepted that it is the duty of a man to care for his family. For working women, most still see it that way. By the time a man start demanding money from his wife as a woman would from a husband, they are cruising to the verge of disaster. Women believe there is no duty on their part to pay a man, even when they offer to pay for dinner. Otherwise he will be characterized with labels. That duty is what a woman has to get used to as the household head.
Women have always prospered in trade and some businesses and are penetrating those areas not traditionally conspicuous. Indeed, some universities in the western world, including the most prestigious, are scrabbling for men by selective action to balance the number of women and men entering and graduating. Dropping out to marry, having and taking care of children still weigh disproportionately in the sphere of women. Going back to work or staying at home completely is the choice women fought for and must be respected.
Unfortunately for working women, traditional roles have not faded. Catering and caring for children have been perfected by women over many generations. As a learned behavior, men have to catch up more quickly than generations. It is so easy to tell the difference between children cared for by women compare to those cared for by men. The worst complainers are also women – hair not well done, socks and clothes unmatched etc.
And the children? They claim that is not the way mommy does it. May tell daddy they are not hungry, only to welcome back mommy with – I am staving. But the best chefs are men! We must credit those women who try to do it all especially if they do not want others to know that their man has lost his job. They have always been there regardless of the new economic situation families now encounter. Men are not lazy; we may actually be the weaker sex. Since women live longer, we may depend on them for the remaining of our lives.
There is no doubt that some men are envious. Once upon a time, a woman would turn down a pay raise because she did not want to make more than the husband. Well, that was then. The economic situation these days dictates that the more money a family makes the better. There used to be a time when a man’s salary would cover most of the needs of the family. Since then we have become more accumulating in terms of needs and wants. There are so many consumer items and more incentive to buy with all the advertisements tempting.
More so, when a man’s salary is not what it used to be unless you are at the top earning class. Even then, most educated women and not so educated leave home to earn for self satisfaction or for other interests. As for those who do not have that luxury, they have to support their husband income. Sometimes, they want to live like the rich also but at a greater opportunity cost. The bigger house, stylish or luxurious car, vacations in exotic places and shoes of course.
The opportunity cost is so important especially when the kids are still young. Babysitting is not as cheap as it used to be. In Africa most of those house helps now want education like everyone else. In the more developed countries of Europe and Americas, nannies have to be paid with benefits and freedom from their initial immigration status after some years depending on the country. Even illegal immigrants move away for better job opportunity as they regularize their status in some of the countries.
Consequently, some families designate one parent to stay home to save on the cost of au pair sitters. We must realize that some of the parents prefer to enjoy bonding relationship with their loved ones. In most of the cases it is the women, but Mr. Mom is also common these days. Each of the parents may do it for a while and exchange places. Indeed, some men stay home not only because their wives make more money, other do it to allow their wives to get a better education. That way, she can go back out and make more for the whole family.
Free choice is whether a woman decides to stay home and care for her family or be a Mr. Mom.