This specie of womanhood is all around us; in our churches, mosques, neighbourhood. We see them every day, even sometimes discard them as lazy women, who prefer waiting on a man to feed them; nothing wrong with that by the way, if the man is your husband.
But the truth is, remove these women from the equation of their families and ask that the man pay for all the services which the woman has been providing in the house, and you will likely find a man, once buoyant, now struggling to pay bills. Not many men realize this but Patrick did.
He was on his annual leave from work, when his wife fell ill and had to be hospitalized for two days, leaving him to care for three children, one of whom was a 7 month old child. He had to do school runs, cook, bathe the kids and every other thing his wife used to do.
Needless to say, he got a powerful insight into the work schedule of his wife. He was baffled that she could do so much, and not be an angry bear when he got home in the evenings from work, demanding his meal. He decided to do some mathematics, attaching a monetary value to all his wife’s tasks and functions, and it was a stunning revelation.
Starting with the baby, for whom his wife was the sole caregiver. Yeah, they might be able to take her to a good day care centre that would probably cost them a pretty penny, given their location, per month. If she had been going since she was three months old, they would have racked up quite an amount in expenses.
Add to that the fact that she would not be the only child in the class, as there would definitely be other children for the teacher/nanny to attend to. Even if it’s two child per care giver, it would still not be comparable to that of the child’s own mother mom paying sole attention to her needs; feeding her, changing her diapers, playing with her, putting her down for a nap, and be almost everything to their child. Not forgetting that she still had to care for the older children, get breakfast, feed them, take them to school, and pick them up as well. It was a lot of work that Patrick had to do, those few days his wife was indisposed.
Although, his mother-in-law eventually relieved him, by taking the baby with her to the hospital during the day, Patrick still had to watch her at night. Thankfully, the baby slept through most of the night, but he still had to do his part before his wife’s mother came in the mornings.
As for cleaning the house, let’s just say Patrick’s wife came home to a house that was in total chaos and disarray. Imagine if he had to bring in a cleaning lady to take care of the house, and put in the spick and span condition his wife always kept it! He would have had to dole out some money.
Patrick wife’s illness came at the end of the month, when the food stuff in the house had grown lean, so he had to go to the market to get supplies to tide them over, until his wife got back on her feet. He got some things, and forgot so many other things. In the end, he had to go back to the market, now armed with a list of the things he had forgotten to buy earlier.
While Patrick got to find out the hard way that with all his resources, if he ever monetized what his wife did in the house, he would be struggling to pay her. And that is not in any way belittling the beautiful relationship that exists between a mother and child, or the selflessness with which moms take on these roles and actually enjoy it. Essentially, his perspective of a stay-at-home changed with that experience. She gave more than she ever got, and did not get paid for all the running around.
Nancy, on the other hand, had been a stay-at-home mom for the past two years. First of all, she had a hectic time making the decision to stay at home. Truthfully, she liked that she had quit the rat race but she was still running another race, this time with the people who mattered in her life – her family.
While she enjoys staying at home with her kids, she hates that at the end of the month, she does not get a credit alert…something that had been part of her life for an long time. That part grated on her nerves for a long time, until she talked to her husband. She hated having to rely on him for everything and could not decide to spend money on her kids or parents, because she had none of her own, only her investments…which were just that, investments…not spending money.
Nancy and her husband reached a compromise, and she got some stipend for herself, not housekeeping money. I’m going to paraphrase a message I got on Facebook, some time ago. It listed the different names of household expenses that a man gives his wife money for, but asked what name you would label the money that a man gives his wife just for herself.
I think that if we put a label on it, stay-at home moms might be able to get it, though nowhere near her real worth; (you just can’t quantify what moms do)…it will boost some morale.
So, what name do you think the money should be called?
Meanwhile, Patrick started doing something; he started asking his wife’s permission to spend money on new things for himself. This embarrasses her a lot as she constantly has to shoo him away, telling him to spend whatever he wants, especially as it is his money in the first place. That was the very notion Patrick wanted to change. His wife never felt his money was also her money, and never sought to get money out of him for herself; it was always only all for the children and the house.
Whether he will get the message across is left to be known.