After reading Does Mom=Superwoman, I started thinking about my husband. Usually when I sit down to tell him how I feel so overwhelmed with the kids and the house, how no one appreciates me, and how being a mom is hard work, he responds with, “Being a husband and father is hard work too.”
“But that’s different,” I want to say. He’s supposed to be the strong one. But I realized, he’s also human. He gets less sleep than I do, but he keeps going. Our husbands make mistakes, get cranky, and sometimes they get overwhelmed too. Just like we do.
And they like to feel appreciated, just like we do. I may not get a “thank you” for every little thing I do for my children, but I can’t even remember the last time the kids did something special for him. We say we don’t feel appreciated, but has your husband ever come home from work and everyone was too busy to greet him? Imagine how that feels for him.
Because our husbands don’t complain, we take that as confirmation that they can handle it all and we may not think twice before giving more demands. It doesn’t matter if your boss gave you a hard time at work, we may be saying to our husbands, don’t come home and take it out on us! It doesn’t matter if he’s tired—because we need to go grocery shopping, the kids need to get out of the house, the baby needs diapers… We need, need, and need…
But maybe he is suffering silently because he wants to be that superman for his family. We say we need a break, but when was the last time our husbands got a break? I jokingly tell my husband that he gets his alone time every day (twice!) on his way to work and when he’s on his way home! But ask any man who deals with the traffic here in Saudi Arabia and I don’t think they will qualify that as “me-time”.
Just as we would want our husbands to support us when we are sick or tired or just plain overwhelmed, we should do the same for them insha’Allah. And although we can’t always physically do things to help them (like go to work for them), we can definitely lessen their burden by easing up on our demands and expectations.
So many sisters nod in agreement when we talk about how tired our husbands are and how they are so busy working during the week that when the weekend comes all they want to do is stay home. “But that’s the weekend!” we all say. That’s the time to run errands, go out to the park, visit friends, and just get out of the house! Most husbands look forward to sleeping in on the weekends, but for some of them, sleeping in means being able to go back to sleep after Fajr to wake up just a couple of hours later!
For those of us who were independent before marriage, we can remember what is was like to handle the finances, the appointments, and the home maintenance. Maybe you still take care of some of those things, but more than likely, your husband took some responsibility off of your hands. And now that some of those things are not included on our never ending to-do list, maybe we have forgotten about them and we haven’t noticed that those things are still being taken care of – by our husbands.
Taking care of a family is hard work and it’s a heavy responsibility. Allah says in the Qur’an (its meaning in English):
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means” (Al-Nisaa, 4:34)
We are a huge source of reward for our husbands. Al-Miqdad Ibn Ma`d Yakrib narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “When you feed yourself, it is a charity. When you feed your children, it is a charity. When you feed your wife, it is a charity. When you feed your servant, it is a charity.” (Al-Bukhari)
But we can also be a huge source of punishment if not taken seriously. “It is enough sin for a man to forsake those who are under his care.” (Muslim).
We often quote the hadith where we are told to serve our mothers: “You should serve your mother, then your mother, then your mother, and then your father.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud). But it is also important to remember the fathers.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah is happy with the one whose father is happy with him. Allah is unhappy with the one whose father is unhappy with him.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Hakim)
Challenge: Try to put yourself in your husband’s shoes. Talk to the kids about all the hard work Daddy does for the family and teach them to show him empathy, patience, and appreciation.
Just like you aren’t superwoman and need some appreciation and patience now and then, your husband isn’t superman.
But when you really think about it, sometimes it seems like we expect him to be.
Source: Andrea Umm Abdullah, http://www.saudilife.net/marriage/22377-does-husband-father-superman