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Proudly Supporting

Proudly Supporting

Are You Raising a Good Husband or Partner? I'm Trying.

By Annette Reuss - 4th May 2011

When my boys were little, I lived in an environment where the men went to work during the day, and came home at night to sit on the couch while the women waited on them.  True.  This happened regardless of whether the women worked outside the house all day too.  Needless to say it never bode well with me and I promised myself that my boys would never expect this of their wives.  One of the most important things I could teach them is how to be a good husband and partner.

I am not a hard core feminist and I do strongly believe that we are hardwired to nurture and look after our families.  However, I also know the role of the woman has evolved over the years and no longer are we solely the homemaker.  Many of us, along with raising children, cleaning, cooking, washing and shopping, also have full or part time jobs outside of the home.  This means our ability to nurture and 'keep house' is somewhat diluted.   

We no longer have the time to make sure our men folk are pampered and looked after when they arrive home after a long day’s work.   We are too busy fending off the 'mother guilt' we feel because the children have been in after school care until 6.00 pm, as well as working out what 'nutritious' something we can throw together in ten minutes so we can eventually sit down and enjoy a bit of 'wine' (me) time before 9.00 pm.  Nurturing the husband doesn’t factor into this equation at all.

Thankfully the number of men who still believe they don’t need to help out with domestic and kid wrangling duties after work has dwindled.  Earning money and providing for the family is now a joint effort.

Sadly, many women from my mother’s generation didn’t teach their sons self-sufficiency skills.  They pampered and looked after them as they did their husbands, knowing that one day these boys would have a good wife to look after them in the same manner.  I guess these mums never thought the world would change so much and women’s roles would be so different to their own.  

My boys are 17 and 19 and both have a wide array of domestic skills under their belt.  From around ten years of age they have been sweeping, vacuuming, scrubbing toilets, washing floors, hanging out washing, stacking and unstacking the dishwasher, folding, washing clothes, cooking, cleaning up the kitchen and any other jobs I could find for them.   I do need to say that whilst they do these chores, it is not without whinging and whining and millions of excuses as to why they shouldn’t help on any particular day.  They are after all, teenagers, who are born to whinge when the word “work” is mentioned.

The last year or so has seen their help around the house drop off, however this coincides with the fact they are never home.  My Mr 19 has a long-time girlfriend and I love watching them in the kitchen together.  He leads the way with preparing something to eat and provides her direction to clean up.  He often complains that she has no idea how to keep the place clean.  It makes me smile to see such a role reversal.  

These days I rarely cook for Mr 19 because he is in and out at strange hours.  He will come home, cook himself some dinner, clean up and go out again.  He doesn’t have any expectation that I will cook for him and he doesn’t seem to mind.  He also knows if his washing isn’t in the laundry on a Friday afternoon I won’t be washing his clothes.  It is no surprise that more often than not his clothes aren’t there and I regularly hear the washing machine going late at night when he realises he has no clean clothes for work.   My boys even know that you sort the whites from the coloureds if you want your whites to stay fresh-looking.

In some ways it makes me sad because they really don’t need me to look after them any more - I guess we never lose that urge to nurture.  However in other ways it is empowering.  I no longer feel guilty when I’m not mothering them and I know when they eventually move out on their own they'll know how to look after themselves.  They also know that it takes more than just a mum to run a home.  They totally get that it takes the whole family.  

Are you teaching your boys to be good husbands or partners?   Do you think this is important?

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