I met E a few days ago. She is half the woman she used to be. She shrunk from a size 16 to a size 10. But I don’t envy her diet plan. A huge dose of heartbreak and a side of pain. She was selling off some of her treasured fabrics. She has decided to suspend quilting for now. Got herself a new job teaching English and taking computer lessons at night. She is starting to plan for a new future, a future she didn’t anticipate or plan for.
“You know my sister asked me how come I didn’t put some money aside for myself. But I told her I didn’t know this was going to happen to me. I didn’t plan for this. So now I will send all that I make back to the States.”
What she said just set my mind racing. Do we or should we plan for these sort of things? Some women do keep a separate account from their husbands and keep their own income for themselves. What about the housewives? Some ladies I know draw an allowance from their husband and they can choose to spend that allowance in whatever way they choose.
I once heard a couple bickering, “You nak TV in the bedroom ke? Nak TV from the bedroom beli la from your allowance. Or I potong je from next month’s allowance.”
“Potong dari allowance? Tak nak la. Dah lah allowance kita sikit.” (In a high pitched voice.)
Errkk not the sort of conversation you want to hear.
I do admit that I started our partnership that way. Part of our prenuptial agreement was that I will have some money set aside every month in my own account in my own name. In my case, I had put it in a fixed deposit account that was automatically renewed.
Then came a point when we needed to pool our funds together to buy our dream house. He told me that I didn’t have to put in that money I had put aside for myself. But I insisted. Because it was a dream we shared and I wanted to contribute as much as I could.
Now, after that conversation with E, I had to think again, was it a wise choice I made?
Things are always OK when the relationship is nice and rosy. But what if something that you don’t plan for happens?
Another lady I know who lives in the compound, is given a fixed amount by the husband as an allowance for her to spend on the household. Apparently she has been siphoning some of that money for herself. Spent a little less on the household so she could save some for her to send back to her family.
Surely what she does is her own business. But children will notice these things and may act out accordingly. Apparently her children are always hungry and often goes to the neighbours for food and snacks.
Back to E. I asked her what her plans are for now. At first she said she just wanted to pack her bags to leave. She told her husband that she wanted to return to the States, after devoting 22 years to him and the children.
“What was most hurtful to me was that he didn’t even try to ask me to stay. He just said, well if you want to go, just go. I just realised there and then that the door for reconciliation was shut firm, tight. And I was devastated.”
“But for now I have to decide how I want to lead my life in the future. I can just stay here for my children, so I can be here with them around them. Because if I pack my bags to leave, I may only see them once a year, if that. And that’s too much for me to bear.”
“Of course if I stay here and devote myself to my children, I will not have the opportunity to find love for myself. So I have to weigh my love for my children and my need to find love for myself, because their love fulfil only a certain part of me.”
“So right now I just have to improve myself and start planning for the future. I will need to support myself so I am taking steps to enable to do so if or when I return to the States.”
I am sure the women with their own careers think that these women, who left their careers to devote themselves to their husband and their children bring this sort of issues onto themselves.
Are we wrong to choose our family over our career?
Frankly, I don’t know the answer. We all make our own decisions based on what we think is best for ourselves.
Of course some people will say, “Why do you think of such things? Why do you bother yourself with these things? Its someone else going through a separation, not you. Your husband loves you and is devoted to you, so why worry about these things?”
Why? Because I believe in learning from what happens to the people around me. Because I do not want the rug to be pulled from under me.
And of course you hear and read stories all the time, of husbands who abandon their wives in search for someone new. Husbands who confess that they are in love with another woman. Husbands who think that its their god given right to subject their wives to the misery of sharing.
But through the blog world, I have read the stories of women who managed to rebuild their lives after a broken relationship, and that is inspiration to me. One of them in MakAndeh. But she had kept her job all along.
What about the rest of us who are or has become housewives? Should we all start opening a separate account?
I do hope that the husbands realize the sort of sacrifices we had to make to become housewives, and not just discard us or take up a new bride whenever they just feel like it.
Of course I do accept that sometimes, some of these things are fated and predestined. And Allah will test us in ways which we think we can handle. Its through our tests and experiences that we grow as a person.
For E, I wish her good luck and I hope she will remain strong.
If my postings sound somewhat neurotic these days, I do apologize. Just that I have been around friends who had bad luck recently.