Why Are Kids Solely the Mother’s Responsibility in Egypt?

Nada Kabil

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Who wakes up with the baby in the middle of the night? Mama.

Who prepares the lunch boxes for school at 5 am? Mama.

Who forces the kids out of bed, makes sure they go to the bathroom, get dressed and prepares breakfast for them? Mama.

Who takes them to the bus and drives them to nursery or school? Mama.

Who picks them up? Mama.

Who prepares their lunch? Mama.

Who changes the baby’s diapers? Mama.

Who takes the kids to workout practices? Mama.

Who takes them out to play dates and birthday parties? Mama.

Who has the agonizing responsibility of standing over their kids’ heads to ensure they do their homework? Mama.

Who takes them to the doctor when they’re sick? Mama.

Who tends to them all night when they have a fever? Mama.

Who changes the sheets when they’ve wet their bed? Mama.

Who cleans up the mess kids make? Mama.

Who nags endlessly that it is bedtime? Mama.

Who prepares the kids for bed? Mama.

Who puts the kids to sleep? Mama.

Who stays home because the kids are asleep? Mama.

Do you see a pattern? The question is why does the responsibility lie solely on the mother? Isn’t it enough that a mama shared her body with her baby for 9 months giving them comfort, nutrition and a warm place to grow, literally feeding off of her nutrients? Isn’t it enough that a mama goes through the pain and exhaustion of labor, breastfeeding and sacrificing her body for the sake of her little one? Why does a mother still have to endure the burden of being held accountable for not only raising the child properly but also having to do every little thing herself without any help from the husband, who is also the father!

When will many Egyptian men understand that a child is a shared responsibility amongst parents and shouldn’t just fall under the mother’s responsibility? When will many Egyptian men understand that just like they go to work all day, a mother has an even more tedious task at home taking care of a baby, making sure the house is clean and sorted out, preparing healthy meals and snacks for the little ones, doing the laundry and being a full-time entertainer?

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In most cases, a mother has so much more work to do during the day, that the least a father SHOULD do is help her out and give her a break when he gets back from work. But no, would he actually be an Egyptian man if he didn’t come home, complain about what a difficult day at work he had, expect his wife to make him food and get frustrated when she asks for help when it comes to the baby? The thing that baffles me the most is why on earth do husbands want babies in the first place if they’re not willing to help out, are too tired to spend time with them after a long day at work and feel too disgusted to change diapers? Not all husbands, but almost everyone I met.

Do men realize that it isn’t a walk in the park for mothers, either? That of course, they’d rather sleep through the night than cater to a screaming baby? They’d rather go to the ahwa every night instead of having to babysit? They’d rather take a break from the kids because they’re exhausted instead of hearing them scream while they play? Do men realize that women are just as disgusted at the sight and smell of poop as they are?

It is so unfair that a father can plan a trip away for the weekend or work without disrupting his life or having to make a million other plans that concern the kids because he knows that he will just leave them at home with the mother. It is so unfair that men feel that providing for their family gives them the entitlement to throw the burden of raising the kids on their mothers. It is so unfair that men do not understand or appreciate how difficult, draining and exhausting it is to be a mother.

At the end of the day, all a mother really needs is a one-hour nap to keep her from going crazy. Or to go to the bathroom without being disturbed. Or simply just a helping hand or a little appreciation for everything she’s been doing. Is that too much to ask?

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