ATM’S and Cooks


– Ayo Bankole

Good day friend. I’m excited to have you once again on the FamilyMatics Column. The purpose of this column is to share principle-based solutions that would help professionals reposition their families for greater exploits.

Few months back, two hashtags went viral on social media: #WifeNotCook (for the female folks), and #HusbandNotATM (for the male folks). While some were only trying to play catch up with the Joneses, some others were actually pouring out their hearts, probably out of bouts of unpleasant experiences.

I am aware that our cultures and traditions go a long way in conditioning our minds and determining our actions. However, they are supposed to guide us in becoming more effective and productive, not diminish us.

After working with some families over time, one common theme with troubled families is lack of vision. A guy sees a lady, they fall in love, he proposes, they get married, and live happily ever after. Alas, that happiness soon becomes short-lived. Why?  – Unrealistic and unmet expectations.

The lady may have been raised in a well-to-do home, where they could afford to hire a cook and other helps. More so, Dad was almost always available to pay the bills. In all of these, her mom would tell her, “If a man gives you one naira, you can be sure he has one thousand naira hid somewhere. Do not ever be ashamed or afraid of asking.”

But here she is, married to a man who is just starting out in life. If the pressure of asking becomes unbearable, he may begin to keep secrets about his financial status so that there could be some savings at the end of the day. Now this brings the wife to Self-fulfilling Prophecy – she behaves herself to experience what she has been conditioned to believe about men.

Let’s examine the man’s side too: Mom was a government staff who closes and returns early from work. She may have accepted her role as the cook of the family as she has been conditioned to, or simply have a hobby for cooking.  This husband may now begin to compare his wife with his Mom, expecting her to do all the cleaning, cooking, washing and other chores. Whereas mom was a government staff, wife is a top executive. She leaves home pretty early and returns late because of proximity and work demands.

As a couple, we must become flexible enough to understand our unique situations, which is different from our parents’.  The wife must understand that her Dad did not have all that financial capacity overnight, and the husband too must realize that the work conditions and aspirations of his mother are different from his wife’s. Whereas Mom’s dream may be just becoming the best housewife she could be, your wife’s dreams may be to become the CEO of a multinational corporation, or even a politician. But she may never be able to actualize all that if she becomes immersed in house chores.

Also, ask yourselves what exactly must your family be all about? The vision of your family will also impart greatly on the daily operations. If, for example, your vision is to have a multinational family business, there will be little distractions as to who does the cooking or who spends on who. That vision becomes such a magnetic force that all your energy and resources are channelled towards making it a reality.

In the end, there is neither cook nor ATM, but each contributes his/her own quota towards building the family economy and in actualizing the purposes the family has set to become and achieve.

Thanks once again for hanging out with me. I love to hear from you.




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