A spinster’s view on marriage
‘Am I just a stroppy feminist?’ Tracy Engelbrecht looks at marriage with a sharp eye.
Now look, I’m not a married woman. I’ve never been married. I’ve been a single mother from the start. So probably, I don’t have the slightest clue what I’m talking about here. But there’s something I just don’t understand.

Please hear me out.

Exhibit A.

Married mom of 2, works fulltime and doesn’t have domestic help. She does all the childcare, cooking and housework herself. She irons hubby’s clothes and prepares his lunch. She does grocery shopping at the weekend and always takes the children along. She takes time off work when they’re sick or there’s a school function.  The whole caboodle.

In short, she does everything that a single mother does. Except she’s not single.

She’s tired, burnt out, and annoyed. She’s desperate for time to herself. Not necessarily a weekly facial or daily gym session. Maybe just, I don’t know, five minutes on the loo alone?

She moans about her husband to all the other tired wives. They nod sagely and curse the useless male she’s saddled with.

But here’s the thing. While they cluck along sympathetically and add their own tales of husbandly woe, nobody asks her the big obvious question.  Nobody asks “Why do you let it happen?”  

By the way, don’t EVER ask these ladies this question, not if you like your head where it is. I don’t think they appreciate cheeky spinsters questioning their life choices.

The way I see it, there are a few possible scenarios:
  • Husband tries to help but is shoo-ed away because “It’s just quicker to do it myself”. You’ll detect a faint whiff of smug martyrdom in their moaning. They LIKE it; they really do. They do sometimes praise their hubbies for “helping out” with the dishes once every 25 years, as if he’d found a cure for cancer. They might complain, but this is the way they think it’s meant to be. Their sons and daughters will grow up believing the same. Shudder. My sympathy for them is somewhat on the low side.
  • Husband doesn’t know what she wants him to do and so waits for her to ask. Which she doesn’t, because “Surely he can see what needs doing?” Yes, he should know, he does live in the same house after all. But how about broaching the subject anyway – see what happens? Give the guy a chance, maybe?
  • Husband doesn’t believe any of it is his problem and refuses to do his share when asked. Now this one is the bugger. She’s tried to ask for help and it hasn’t come. She realizes it’s not going to. So she spends the rest of her life resentful and dog-tired.  And yet, she accepts it.
Well. Call me a stroppy feminist bitch if you like, but I’d have a bit of a problem with this. When I see a man who refuses to do his share to make his family work, I see a man saying to his wife “I don’t care that you’re tired. I don’t care that you feel alone. I don’t really care about you.”

The message comes through loud and clear – your well-being doesn’t matter to me.

The thought of being stuck in a situation where I feel that my happiness doesn’t count is just terrifying to me.  

Maybe they don’t see it like that? Maybe I AM just a stroppy bitch, or as one suggested, I’m simply too lazy to be a good wife? Perhaps.

How wrong do I have this?

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