Conversations in a Beehive
- Who works more, me or your dad?
- Dad of course.
- How come?
- Because when you pick me up from school he’s still at work.
- But I also continue working at home.
- No you finish early and he finishes late.
- But when I go home I do other stuff, like make lunch or do laundry.
- Yeah but that is not real work.
- How come it is not real?
Saturday morning... Sitting with a group of mothers waiting for the practice to finish..
- Why did you not come last time?
- I was so tired, I couldn't leave bed.
- Your husband came, he was sitting alone. (laughter)
- Yes, he told me it was too “womanly”. He was embarrassed to be there. He told me he’ll bring his laptop next time. (All mothers laugh)
- The time before, (…)’s husband was here, he was also sitting alone.
- I had a fight with him this morning. I told him I drive them around and teach, give them a bath, do this and that… and what do you do?
- Then he said “Who funds this whole project? It’s me, isn’t it?”
- Honestly, I laughed. I really liked the question.
- Call the supermarket
- The kitchen
- Call the washing machine people
- Dr. Dina vaccination
- The grocer
- 1kg potatoes
- 1kg onions
- 1kg tomatoes
- ¼ kg cucumbers
- ¼ capsicums
- ¼ lemons
- 1kg bananas
- ½ kg strawberries
- ½ apples
- Rotating savings association fees
- Why are you late?
- I had a lot of chores to finish around the house.
- Hahaha. I assumed you would be swamped with housework.
- Mum, I’m not sure if I’m slow or if I’m doing too much.
- You have to get used to doing everything at the same time to get things done. Turn on the washing machine the same time you’re cleaning the kitchen, then you hang the laundry and so on love..
- And I have one daughter only, what would happen if I wanted to have more? Three like you for example.
- Imagine having three kids to wash, feed, teach, take to doctors and clean the house. And your dad was away, your grandma helped but still.
- Is that why you quit your job mum?
- Your dad was travelling, and I was going to school. Who was going to take care of you and everything else? It was a lot of effort, I was losing weight and I couldn't keep up, especially after having Reem. Don’t you remember?
- No I don’t remember.
- Just so you know, housework is more demanding than other work. You get exhausted… you run the house. It’s difficult and it takes energy and time.
- Mum, do you think it would have been easier for women if it was paid?
- Paid how? Who’s going to give you money? your husband? No, when a woman works and gets paid she gets her independence with her own money, not with her husband’s. And when a woman goes out to work, she lightens and hires someone to do the housekeeping. Silence...
- I swear... I would do it for free or get a five-figure sum if we’re really discussing money. I’d rather not get paid and get the blessings of God instead.
- ha ha ha..
Can you put a price tag on it?!
- Come on darling, let’s go to bed
- Tell me a story
- Alright, which one do you want?
- Here we go ...
- “Cinderella’s stepmom and stepsisters didn’t like her. They never helped her do anything. She used to mop, cook, and clean the house all by herself…”
- Like you mum?
- Hey(....) is housework considered work?
- What do you mean?
- Is it paid work or unpaid? Who would pay me? The state for example?
- You need to give a service to get paid. What service are you giving to the state?
- Why would they pay you then? When work is payment in exchange for time. Why do I get money from the company? Because of my time. Because I save them time. Because the owner won’t do everything by himself. How do I get the time?
- From your great wife! hahahah (laughter)
- This time would not have been free if there wasn’t someone taking care of the house; cooking, washing, and delivering… so the time I save for the owner of the company is time you helped provide, and therefore you get some of this money.
- Alright, but then I’ll be doing housework forever, and I won’t have time to do my own work.
- Well, but I’m not here to help you more with housework.
- What were you doing?
- I was preparing the water to boil the chicken.
- hahaha, as long as you keep talking to yourself this way, you’ll think housework is a tragedy.
- Preparing water to boil the chicken is not a step. You’re only boiling the chicken.
- Aha. Preparing the water takes time, I chop the onion, add spices and stuff.
- Alright, but it doesn't take that long.
- It’s all from my time
- Look Rania, where do you get time from? from your mum who helps you, and why does she have the time? Because a woman comes to help her and gets paid. Who pays this woman? Your dad who works and gets paid in exchange for his time.
- My problem is that my work doesn't pay me enough to hire someone to help me with daily house chores.
- You didn’t get my point.
- I was telling you the other day that capitalism doesn't acknowledge unprofitable work. If you can’t sell an image of your work, it won’t bring you money besides grants and stuff..
- Hahahaha... thanks...
- Call the supermarket: Bin liners
Oil - small
- Credit 70
- Kindergarten 60
- Babysitter (at night) 130
- Gas 260
- Toys 500
- Lunch 130
Seasoned chicken and beefsteak
Three days (in Alexandria):
- I need to put this kitchen on four wheels and give it a push!
- Ha ha ha.. Alright then, since you had a job and also did the housekeeping, do you think housework should be considered as work?
- Hahahah.. You know all my life I defined work as “some form of oppression”. Housework is definitely work.. is there anything more crushing? (Laughter)
- That’s also for free
- Why don’t you hire someone to help you?
- They will take money
- Of course they will take money (Who wants tea? Me, Me, Me)
- You know (...) for example wouldn't take criticism of her cooking, and (...) liked it when people finished all of her food. But I never cared about how my food tastes.
- They don’t like it when someone criticizes their work.
You do it and are blamed for it. They’ll tell you it’s not right, it's wrong, you’re late...
- But it’s possible for food to go off at any time... It doesn’t mean anything.
- You know when automatic washing machines came out. I couldn't believe that you could do laundry without wetting your hands. It was like artificial intelligence now. I’m sure they’ll find a solution to housework.
- A robot for example?
- Yes, why not? (laughter)
- You know, I and uncle (...) never split our money, it did not matter who paid who for what.
- What about the state?
- Woah, you’re too ambitious. the state cannot pay for everything
- You know in other countries, when a woman stays home to take care of the kids and stuff when she gets divorced, the couple split the money they made in half.
- That’s in the case of a divorce, what if it is not, where is the value of time then? And by the way, in other countries, they're still discussing housework.
- I have an exhibition in June.
- Are you travelling?
- No, I’m sending the work.
- That’s good, are you getting paid?
- No, they’re only paying production costs.
- What does that mean?
- They’re paying for the material and stuff, to produce the work mum..
- When are you getting paid then?
- I don't know, soon inshallah.
- hahaha.. hahahaha
- Good luck..