Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dear Myne - My Dad is not helpful to my Mother?

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I'm 23. Finished NYSC last month. I'm not working yet. My sisters and I are hardly at home, because of school. My parents are by themselves much of the time. Mum's 53, Dad is 60. They can't do everything by themselves; each time any of returns, there's a backlog of chores to do.

My parents have been married over 23 years. I'd call it a typical Nigerian/African marriage; never saw them do anything romantic. My parents belong to the old order; Dad does not touch housework. Dad and mum are lecturers, yet my mum doubles as housewife.

We discussed the matter, mum and I, at length. I encouraged her to talk to my father. She did. He helped her heft water buckets into the house, fill the water filter for one week and that was all! When he saw that water-fetching was hardwork, he made arrangements to have water run in the house. There hasn't been any improvement since then months ago.

Dad is addicted to TV. He's a nice man but flawed too. He gets irritated when something has to be discussed; he doesn't compliment easily but blames fast (really fast!). He has also shown me that he can shirk responsibility. I once had a developmental issue as a teen. My mum was the one who handled it. Dad never uttered a word about it! Like it never happened. Yet we are both men, and it was in HIS place to talk about it.

Five years ago, he blamed my mum for something that was clearly not her fault. I watched as they quarrelled.
Till today, he hasn't apologised. (He will, when I face him!) My mum wept when we talked about it. Early this week, she didn't even realize when she let it slip that she was suffering emotionally.

I told her I'll talk to Dad. She said no, leave it to God. Later, we reached a compromise: We'd wait till my sisters return from school, then both of us will talk tö our father (lest it seems that the Oedipus complex was ganging me up against Dad).

Meanwhile, I'm bitter. Even I, young as I am, need time to do other stuff - write, read, etc. The family has changed, no helps or extended family living with us; all of us should put hand to do everything together. Ironically, when I suggested getting a help to both of them, guess what Dad said: "We don't need it."

I'm home now but could leave anytime to work. I wish I could talk to Dad NOW. My tone will be hard; there's so much bottled up in me. But I don't want to disrespect him, I just want to be sure that they will be okay by themselves. How do I go about this? Thank you.


  1. pray about it first. Tell the Holyspirit to give u the right words to say.. then talk to your dad.. really politely.

  2. Try writing him a letter, U shd b able to think clearly when writing. He will read it n probably call U to talk.

  3. I support ur writn him first but if he pretend about readn it den seek his audience and talk it man to man.U are not a baby anymore.Be prayerful and i thank God for ur life that u are not likely to behave like dat wen u eventually get married.He is a typical nija man Very selfish.

  4. Unfortunately most African parents pay more attention to you when you give them money; scary though because I often wonder if they meant to torture all this while or they truly mean to be that way. Because if it is what they truly mean then it shhouldn't matter if I have money or not. Now I have also met some that still don't give a crap they just fill threatened that acknowledging that you know more in a certain issue takes away their fatherly role. Everyday my daughter gets more independent though I am proud I still have a sad moment it has helped me comprehend a lot of my parents characters though I am not in support. but yes send him a letter expressing ur feelings, he may take it as an insult (my dad used to) but at least u tried

  5. It sounds like your Mother could use a very long and luxurious vacation.

    Tread carefully. Do not stir up anything that will make things worse for your mother when you are gone. Plus, you are still under their roof, so speak your peace onjectivley and rationally. When you are on a good footing, and on your own, then you can go in deeper, but always from a place of love. In truth, people like your father are to be pitied more than anything else. The best thing you can do to help your parents is to resolve to be a better husband and father when your time comes. You mother seeing you as a great husband and father will give her peace of mind knowing that she did something right.

  6. You are very angry and that is my main reason for advising that you take your time with this matter. Your father is just like my father and you know what, while you are still under his roof, he won't really get it. It isn't until much later that he will get it. When you children are established and have your own money, then he will wake up to the smell of the coffee.
    What can you do to help your mum? Can someone come to the house while your dad is at work to help with chores, as in during the day so the person does not have to live with you? Are there gadgets that you can buy to make it easier for her?

  7. Boy do I know what you are going through! I have never commented on this blog, but I can relate to your case in many ways than one. In my cause the help only does "eye service" for my father. A lot of nigerian homes are filled with fathers who drain their wives emotionally and I don't get it. MYNE I think we should talk about this issue in depth for me after physical abuse is EMOTIONAL abuse.

  8. This really struck a chord with me, it's like we are in the same family. I can't talk to my Dad anymore as whatever I say goes in one ear and out of the other. He then turns it into a huge fight! He cannot stand any form of criticism. All I can do is find a new job with more money and divert more funds to my Mum than I am already doing. What ever you do, don't let the anger swallow you. It was nearly my undoing.


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