Fathers who live like kings
Sipho calls on dads to set a good example to their sons by not being lazy around the home.

‘I never do household chores,’ one father said to me recently. ‘That’s woman’s work. My duties are to wash the car and do other manly work.’

I like to call such men ‘kings’ because they treat their homes as their castles and their wives as servants.  They won’t lift a finger to help in the house except maybe when opening the fridge and taking a bottle of beer (if they do not ask their wives to bring the ice cold beer to them).

In my youth I recall a relative who was also a ‘king.’ He’d come back from shift work around 1am and the poor wife was supposed to wake up from her slumber, heat up the husband’s meal and chat him up while he ate. The ‘king’ expected his wife to do everything.

As young boys we look up to our fathers, uncles and grandfather to learn what it meant to be a men. These men who do zero household chores give a distorted view of manhood and fatherhood to their sons.

I’ve visited households where the boy child does not pick up his plate after a meal or even wash it. That is seen as a job for girls.

Living with lazy men

These sons of ‘kings’ are a difficult bunch to live with. After having moved out of home I had a stint staying with a couple of male cousins.

Even though we were all men I, being the tidy one, was expected to do the dishes and clean after my untidy peers. The young men lacked the basic skill to perform household chores.

Tempers flared because of the anomalies in distribution of duties. I’ve no doubt in my mind that when these young men get married they will not lift a finger to help in the house.

The way forward

We are living in a world that has changed from the world past. Both the boy child and the girl child should be trained the same way in doing household duties.

In a world where many are postponing marriage the skills learnt at home are invaluable when one is living alone. It is quite obvious that a man who helps at home is a better marriage partner than the man who expects everything to be done for him while he watches TV or reads the newspaper. With your help your son can turn into that helpful man.

So to all the fathers out there who live like ‘kings’ it’s time to change your ways and set commendable examples for your sons. Treat your partner like a friend, help out in the home. Take baby steps.

After a meal take your plate to the kitchen and wash it. Chances are if you have a son he’ll follow suit. As you continue to help in many chores, encourage your son to join in. Your son will grow up to be a well rounded young man.

Are men and women’s domestic responsibilities different?

Read more by Sipho Yanano

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