Posted on

He Lives in This House Too

This post is inspired by a current (and ongoing) thread on feminism, where members battle out the pros and cons of pre and post modern era and its effect on women. Read more here, it is called “The War on Men“.

It used to be that upon getting married, a girl would put her years of practice in her mother’s home to good use in her own. From the moment that the glass breaks under the chuppah, the (usually) young lad becomes the man of the house. What he said was what went down. The wife had to clean, cook, scrub and serve without so much of a break… Well, perhaps a break to give birth and then before a blink of an eye, she gets right back into it all. If the husband wanted chicken, he got the whole chunk of it and if he wanted fish, he got it plated up by the time he came home from work. The working or learning man would come home in the evening to fresh supper, a clean house, warmed up slippers, and a quiet room to relax.

Fast forward to my home in 2012. I roll out of bed at 8 am, when my husband wakes me up to tell me that he is leaving for work after making my son a bottle and putting him to play  and often, changing his pamper too. I shower, dress myself and my son, and then we eat breakfast. After a morning rush of supper preparations and a quick wipe down, we rush off to babysitter/work. At 6 pm, we run home to be greeted by my just-arrived-home husband. He takes the baby while I hastily finish the supper that was supposed to be done in the morning. If I am lucky, it is in the crock pot, and if I am lazy I just make pasta and cheese. Then, together we eat, feed the baby, bathe him and put him to sleep. At this point, we are supposed to clean up, wash up and do any folding/washing that is waiting for us. More often than not, we chill out until late at night and then hurriedly, we do a quick clean up and head to bed – to repeat the whole cycle again the next day.

So it is no wonder I dream for a cleaner to do the ‘nitty gritty’ things for me, as my stove and my oven need more tender loving care than I have to give them. After all, I have a husband and a son, don’t they deserve the love more?

I ask my husband, my brother in law, my father and my cousin, do they really wish it was like the good ole’ days? When all they had to do was sit, work, sleep and be waited on hand and foot at all times?

Of course there was the joking, “yes if only I could relax” remarks. However, ironically, they all agreed that they would be bored. Yes. Bored. Sometimes I guilt myself for making him work too hard, at other times, I think I am not working him hard enough. It is then that I say that we are a couple and we are in this together, so let him get down and join me in scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees – yeah as if ;).

Posted on

Post Wedding Bliss

Two nights ago I had my brother in law’s wedding.  It was beautiful, emotional (he is the youngest) and as usual, long.

We came home at 4am and we did not head to bed but rather, we sat at the kitchen table to nosh…and talk. I always get jealous of newly married couples. The newness, the shyness, the freshness, and the excitement of everything and of course, all the attention – I miss it. I also cannot stop noticing what they have or do and what we did not have or do as newly weds.

Now let me tell you, my newlywed stage was bliss. We got married in my small hometown; the wedding was gorgeous and fun and did not end in the early morning hours, rather at an hour in the evening when we could all still get some sleep.

We spent hours talking in bed that night as did we the next night and the next and the next. We looked at each other sweetly, went on long walks together and visited family like a real good couple. We did not eat at Sheva Brachot but instead, ate cookies late at night when we got home. Yet there is still something that I am jealous of. I have not forgotten and I never will, those first few months. But I do not have the new fresh feeling anymore and I miss that… I want that.

Thank G-D, my married life is amazing. We know each other, we have a baby, we have fun, we argue and we go on trips. We are a family now. But I still miss that first stage.

It is funny though, seeing how happy my brother in-law is, smiling at his new wife, whispering to her and winking at her. I suddenly forget that we still do that now, forget how when I saw my husband walking into the dinner at the wedding, I still felt that way! Reminiscing that amongst all the fun, all the happiness and excitement, I was still feeling miserable.

As a newly wed, I missed being with my family all day. They were having fun and I was stuck, alone with my husband. I was nervous and shy. I had talked to him for four months and suddenly, he was using my bathroom, we were sharing closets, and he was eating breakfast with me. I was constantly worried that there would be awkward silences, and being nervous that married life would be too hard for me to deal with.

When my husband got sick three weeks after we got married, a minor upset stomach, it sent me into huge bouts of tears while sitting in my parent’s house. As I cried for 45 minutes, he sat in the other room feeling sick and worried what was wrong with his new wife.

When we moved to America, I called my father and said that I want to consider leaving him because I cannot deal with all the new things, the new house, a new city, a whole new family and a new best friend.

I was always embarrassed to tell him things, ask him stuff and suggest things. I worried myself sick if my food was good; if I looked okay for him and if he loved me, even though I was making him crazy. Over time of course, life got easier, I settled and marriage showed me its good sides (as I did to my husband!).

So I tell myself when I see a couple, be jealous, be wishful, be angry that you no longer have all that. BUT be happy, be thankful and be grateful that you are over that stage too.  You got through the phase and you came out on the other side, a better couple, a happier couple and an in-love couple. Marriage has its ups and its downs, its hard stages and its easy stages, its highs and its lows, its happiness and its sadness. So when we are down, we remember it all, and I tell my husband that as much as we are jealous, they just may be jealous of us too.


Photograph by Rivka Bauman Photography