The 5 horrors of being a househusband
21 September 2016, 10:00
How does the notion of a househusband strike you? A stay-at-home man who cares for the children, cleans the house and jostles for space on the clothesline while swapping gossip with housewives and house girls, and has a hot meal ready for the lady when she comes home from winning the bread. How does that strike you?
Totally flips traditional gender roles on their back. In Africa, a man worth his salt can never be anything other than a bread winner. But that is changing fast, what with unemployment and wives whose high incomes make their husbands efforts to contribute to the domestic kitty something of a joke.
Psychologists say that being a househusband is great for the kids, but there is no denying that to a lot of men, it is a worse horror than having your tooth pulled out without anesthesia - and with good cause too.
A user at the urbandictionary.com defines a househusband as “King of the castle. Ruler of the roost…until his wife comes home from work.” He or she regards it as the lowest of titles a man can have, lower even than unemployment.
It is not entirely exaggerated. A man who swaps bread winning for homemaking forfeits the one thing that traditionally validates him- the ability to provide for his family. It is a swap men have not been socialized to make easily.
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Neither have women, it seems. Many admit to losing respect for their househusbands and to finding it hard being turned on by them.
2. Changes Power Dynamics
It’s no secret that he who pays the piper calls the tune, and that men feel bound to call it. But they have always paid for the privilege. The changing socioeconomic landscape means that sometimes they have to relinquish that right. And they don’t like it then. The woman sees the husband try to assert himself without a penny in his pocket and sees him for what he is; a pathetic king with nary a crown nor kingdom.
On both sides. The lady feels that the man is deadweight, not pulling his fair share. She may also resent all the time he gets to spend with the kids.
The man feels that his homemaking efforts are looked down on, that the wife gets to have a proper career while he wastes away at home, and that she does not give him as much attention as he would like. He starts suspecting all the time she spends away.
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4. Social Stigma
The society though evolved, is not yet fully accepting of househusbands. Fellow men look down on him as a failure who has eschewed his manhood, and deserving of either pity or contempt. Then there is the lurking suspicion that he is just as a lazy bum out to take advantage of a woman.
5. Relationship Breakdown
It requires a strong relationship to overcome these challenges. Over half such relationships do not. The couples find it difficult to cope with their circumstances. Instead they retreat into themselves, coming out only to trade blame and insult, or they seek fulfillment elsewhere. Soon the relationship loses meaning and crumbles.
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