I had gone to the christening ceremony of a friend over the weekend. He and his wife just had their second baby, a boy, which just affirms my personal belief that this was the year to have a boy, if you are interested in the gender of your baby. He was the fourth boy, that family and friends close to me had had this year.
In the midst of the jollification, I asked him how much vigil, he had been doing since his son was born and he shamefacedly confessed that, he hadn’t done any. In fact, he said, he now sleeps in a separate bedroom, in order to avoid disturbing mama and son, (read that to mean, he didn’t want to be disturbed by the night time feeding routines). And his life is as hectic as ever, even though, he has a loose resumption time, he has to be put in work 24/7. For him to sleep 5 hours, he needed to have set up stuffs to cover those times.
One thing, he said that struck me was that, “I don’t think any man can tolerate what I expect from my wife. I’m barely here, even if I’m in the house, I’m not present; she has to do so many things on her own. I would love to be more present but unfortunately, that is a tall order now, with my work commitments. The truth is, she sometimes say, it just feels as though, she was a single mom and she should know, as her mother was one.”
I was touched. It’s not every man that can make such admission, especially, as this same guy grew up in a patriarchal society, that stipulates that what he’s doing is the status quo; he’s the bread winner and she is in charge of parenting. However, here’s a man, who wants to do more than win bread. Come to think of it, his wife too works and still has a larger share of the household and parenting chores.
That was another reminder for me that our mamas didn’t fail to raise men, who were empathetic to the struggles of their wives. The new crop of fathers is making me so happy. I love them already, but the baton has been passed on to us to raise men, who would be worth their weight in gold. Men, who were not emotionally detached, but are in touch with their core and recognize their God-given role in the life of a woman.
But I digress. The point is, my friend’s testament made me realise that there are lots of women in that position. Women are married, yet for all purposes and considerations, they might as well be single moms, if you consider the fact that, they do most things by themselves or with their children.
Even I have felt that way before, and what was the cause? My husband’s work, which meant, he was out of the house very early to beat Lagos traffic and reach his office as at when due and he would not be home, until later in the night, when the kids had slept. That was when, we had four children and I also had my work commitments, it wasn’t funny but thank God, we moved passed that stage and when someone starts telling me about how much, they are doing, I don’t hesitate to remind them of the labour of our heroes past.
Some women are still current heroes, league champions sef in this regard. Some years back, I had bumped into a woman and her two children, who I was meeting for the first time. Before then, I had met her and her husband, at an event, which I later learnt, her husband had put together for her sake, partly because of the event’s programme had a bold picture of her on the cover and other details I found out later.
On the look out for a couple to interview, I had been asking literally, everyone at the event, if they were married and how long, they had been. If you tell me, yes and then 10 years, then I was asking about your partner, if both are present, then I’m doing the an interview or scheduling one.
I will call her Yemisi. As the face of the event, I gravitated towards her. She and her husband obliged me an interview that day, as she said, there was no other time, I would find her husband. That day, they both talked about the dynamics of their relationship, how they had gotten married as young love, even without their parents’ knowledge, pretended for the next five years with their family, before the secret came out and all. Their story still stayed with me because of that extra bit.
Of course, during that interview, she stated the fact that she hated the way he worked so hard. He was hardly available and sometimes, she takes revenge by spending his money. Before nko? The day, I met Yemisi and her children at the mall, they were doing just that and an eye roll was my answer to “So, how’s your husband?” Of course, I got it. That meant, “He’s busy as usual.”
This couple are young with young children but Yemisi gets to deal with a large chunk of the parenting work and she found it irritating, that she can’t spend as much time as she would like with the husband of her youth, thanks to a job that they all need.
“Is Daddy coming over tonight?” was the jolting statement out of Dunni’s daughter’s mouth.
“Kilowe? What do mean by that? Where is he coming over to, he lives here or you have forgotten your father so soon?” Dunni bluffed her way through but her daughter’s statement hurt her a bit.
This was coming after six month, that he started a new business, which demanded an early morning resumption time and saw him home, past midnight. And he had no weekends off. He was building a business and giving it his life and blood.
Before, he started, they had sat down to talk about it and had agreed on how to go about it but when it came to reality, Dunni found herself minus a husband and some new acquaintances, thought she was a single mom, so she tells them about her husband, who works a lot, not wanting them to think he was dead, in jail, or living a double life.
Dunni also became more exhausted and resentful by the day of her husband but they have overcome that stage, as her husband now feels, he can take a break now and then, from work to spend with his family, to spend some hours with his wife.
Even though, Dunni’s husband has returned to his role as a supportive husband and the good books of his wife, there are still so many women, going through that phase and it is so easy to get resentful but resentment does no one any good and it is especially bad for marriages.
Rather than get resentful of your partner’s parenting –free time, engage with other adults outside of your children, make new friends, volunteer and see how much, that changes your perspective.
And remember, it is just a phase, it will not last but you will.
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