Using her money to run the family?
IDEALLY. That’s a word you read or hear and think uh-oh, shall we handle? For today, what is ideal? In a world of no more pure breeds – whether you talk about race or tribe – and gender roles that are intertwined, what is ideal? So when you judge men’s and women’s roles in the home, ideal becomes t
Men's aay with Bob G. Kisiki
IDEALLY. That’s a word you read or hear and think uh-oh, shall we handle? For today, what is ideal? In a world of no more pure breeds – whether you talk about race or tribe – and gender roles that are intertwined, what is ideal? So when you judge men’s and women’s roles in the home, ideal becomes the worst yardstick to use.
The man who says, ‘Me, in the kitchen? Doing what?’ is probably living in the ideal past; and a woman who says, ‘pay the children’s fees when he’s there? Who told him to make babies he can’t care for?’ is, sadly, also stuck in the ideal past. Yet you wonder, was such a past ideal?
This is not to say that the man owes the woman time and work in the kitchen, or that women are obliged to contribute money to running the family. No, I am saying the couple need to realise that recognising a need and ignoring it when you can step in, in the name of honouring the ideal, is just not ideal. This applies to both sides, but let me concentrate on the man whose wife spends her money on running family affairs.
As it is, the world has made it easier for the hard-working woman to study, get a better job and therefore, earn as much, if not more than her male counterpart.
So the wife gets her accumulated millions and hires tractors to work on the family farm; to buy floor tiles for their new house; to buy a 35-seater bus for their tours and travel business or to move their first daughter from Nakasejjere Community Sec. School to, say, Gayaza High School. This woman has trashed the ideals of ‘the man should cater for his family’ and decided, this family is mine as much as it is his.
He decides, she made the money, let her use it on the family. So he, for starters, does not appreciate her sacrifices, but lives on like next year, he’ll raise all that money and hand it back to her.
A worse category, however, is of those men who, when the woman invests her money into the family, grab the assets, sell them off and drink, pump children into other women or travel to fancy holiday resorts like they made that money.
Yes, she makes more money and she has the good heart to use it on the family, instead of what others do, spend it on themselves, sometimes even on secret investments. But in the past, when the word ideal had semantic purity, you should have been the one to build the family house, raise the farm and take the family on holiday. So why abuse her gesture?
I loved this story, when first I heard it. She had always told him; Sajjabbi, let’s stop renting and use the money to build a house. He ignored her. Being the bigger earner, she raised millions, bought a plot not far off and built a bungalow. When it was ready, she told him, “Sajjabbi, I know a friend with a spacious house where we can live for less than we spend on this one. Can we move there?”
Sajjabbi accepted and they moved. After she’d recouped her money, she declared it had been hers all along and now she can hand it over to the family. Ideally, she should have continued living off her investment, but well, what is ideal anymore?