Mohamed A Khalfan
(Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
When questioned by the wife, the husband apologetically admits to her upon his return from the work-place that he entirely forgot to send someone on an errand, which she had requested him to do.
He would not however point out in defence that he was more pressed with the amount of work that day. He knew the wife would argue by reminding him that she too remained under the pressure of the house chores and children-care – everyday, including Sundays!
He would not also point out that the work assigned by her was not that important that could not wait for the next day. If he did, he would lose the argument in the debate as to whose work was more
important – hers or his! Could he go on working with the empty stomach – just to face only one example in her argument!
Such scenarios and the pattern of dialogue are not uncommon where the wife is a housewife who is only focused on the housewifery. Her home is her small but important world and she perceives the house-chores as the real challenge in life and aims at perfection.
A great majority of the families in our community have housewives. They are wrapped up in their own small world, otherwise called “home” which is her domain while unaware of the challenges and problems faced by the head of the family in the daily occupation of making out a living for the family. They are not aware that the pressure of work at the work-place descends in waves with unpredictable quantum and with it, there is the mental stress which has its toll.
The faint idea, which a housewife has about the pressure of work a male member in the family bears, is what she perceives on the surface when she visits shops. What she finds there is an easy occupation for men, leisurely selling items and collecting money. She takes that as a normal example of occupation believing that it prevails everywhere including the offices.
A housewife while quite experienced in her rounds of shopping
would not be aware that even behind the shop there is an office frantically busy with a catalogue of office work like compliance of trade regulations and taxation, assessing fluctuating financial liquidity position, banking work, ordering of goods to replenish the stock, queries from the accountant, auditors or tax departments, disputes over deliveries or quality of goods, etc.
A housewife is not aware that in commercial and industrial offices, the “normal” pressure of work is even greater, especially where the place of work is short of staff.
It is therefore the duty of the husband or the head of the family to acquaint the housewife in the family with the normalcy of the nature and pressure of work at the work place.
This information will enable the housewife to establish priorities. She would know when it is not necessary to get what household errand to be handled by the husband. She will learn to manage most of the errands and work on her own without adding pressure on the husband at his work-place.
The improvement will be remarkable. The wife will prove herself more dependable and therefore seen more lovable. The daughters in the family will copy the example of the mother in their married life and assume the household responsibility with fair degrees of self-reliance. Let us remember that wife is what the husband makes her. The exercise has however to begin much early after the marriage.
The alternative for the husband is to pretend that he is tired – dead tired – when he comes back home from the work place. This deception does not work for long and it is, anyway, not healthy for a married life.