The question of the day is, should you have to pay your spouse or partner for providing you or your extended family with a professional service?
Before we delve in, let me just share with you my conspiracy theories on Nigerian influenced Marriages.
First of all, Marriage is not for the faint of heart. I never understand why men make jokes about the ball and chain and all that nonsense because marriage for many women is definitely a journey of long suffering. In fact society celebrates you based on how hard and traumatic your experiences in Marriage are.
Now Nigerians hate feminism but in a Pharisee-like hypocritical way, society encourages women to have jobs and earn an income so as to contribute to the management of the home but work without fulfilment is critical to the success of this arrangement. Earn as much as you can without finding fulfilment or purpose outside your husband or the home. The instruction was earn money not build a career.
Despite bringing home some of the bacon, the woman must always remember that she is not the husband and that no matter how “big” she is at work, she can never be too tired to cook, clean and care for the children. Sex for me is not on the list of chores because it is something I really enjoy, so I can’t list it with things like laundry, that would be sacrilege. However, if you have a selfish partner, take it right to the top of the list because that is human wickedness.
We forget that in the times when women stayed home and exclusively managed the affairs of the house, men were the only ones who contributed financially. Also in those dark ages, a sign of wealth was when a woman was able to manage the house without doing the chores in the house because there were servants and slaves. Now with education, technological advancement and all round progress, society wants women to regress to a warped variation of gender roles where women contribute more and get even less.
I understand why some women are afraid of marriage and I keep screaming from the rafters, don’t rush in. Don’t do it. Do not get me wrong. I am not saying a women shouldn’t do all the things I’ve just disdained, I’m trying to say if she doesn’t want to there should be nothing wrong with hiring a cook, a cleaner and a nanny. If the couple can’t afford these services, and the man is unable to share the chores, then it means the couple cannot afford marriage. I cannot imagine being given a beautiful ring and thrown a lavish wedding reception just so I could become a cleaning lady.
I came across a post from a man, we’ll call him Jim, who is complaining that his wife, we’ll call her Jane, who happens to be a professional nurse is demanding payment for caring for his invalid mother. Although Jim was resistant, after his sisters negotiated with his wife, the sisters eventually agreed to pay Jane a sum that Jim seemed to feel was too large.
Of course I had to read the comments. Now I liken Social Media to walking around naked in the dark. No matter what you look like, there is a freedom and boldness that comes from one’s ability to be completely honest while remaining completely hidden. It is in the darkness that one’s true nature is exposed. If in daylight you’re a nice person in the dark you’re a real one. In the light you’re just impatient and have no filter but turn the lights off and you’re simply mean.
Many on social media asked what Jim had done to make her demand payment. Many assumed Jane acted like she did because Jim and his family must have been mean to her. Others felt that regardless, Jane had a duty to provide care to her ailing mother-in-law point blank period. Some wondered why Jim’s sisters could not care for their mother by themselves.
Aside from the blatant sexism and misogyny perpetrated by what seemed to be largely a female audience, it seemed at the core, most people felt as if Jane should care for her mother-in-law without payment.
With no back story or context other than the information presented. I feel Jane had no desire to care for her Mother-in-law and Jim was aware of this. Why didn’t Jim and his sisters simply hire a carer since they evidently could afford one. Why did it have to become a family issue, where his sisters are haggling with his wife over taking care of their mother?
We all understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch. For everything there is a cost, even if you’re not the one paying. The time, the energy, the professional knowledge required to provide adequate care are all costs. I doubt Jim and his sisters would have made such a fuss about Jane providing the care if she was not trustworthy. Why would Jim feel so strongly that someone who can provide a service at professional standards is not worthy of being compensated just because that person is their spouse?
I personally think in this situation, from the onset, Jim, trying his luck, should have made the care request in form of a paid job offer. I also think that with or without the paid offer, Jane should have politely declined. In a bid to show concern, Jane could recommend a suitable professional who could provide the service. I think if Jim and Jane proceed with their current arrangement, there will be resentment on both sides regardless. Jane has also left herself open to accusation of maltreatment of her mother-in-law if the old lady should so much as sneeze.
Moral of the story and My Public Service Announcement for today is:
For those looking for cook, cleaner and retirement live-in care of aged parents, save your ring and reception money and instead hire professionals that can provide those services without giving you any stress.
For those who have innocently already entered that one chance vehicle called marriage, you remain in my Sunday morning prayers when the vicar is praying for the nation.