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


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.