Russian Women in the Home
It has traditionally been the role of RW to carry out duties in the home. And herein may lie a potential problem for the expectation between the RW and western husband may differ. Foreign men may read all the different marriage sites, which proclaim a RW will make a wonderful wife and stay at home all day cleaning and cooking.
However we always advise a client to keep in mind why a RW is leaving Russia. She just wants to live a normal life. For some women this may mean staying at home and being the perfect housewife while her husband works. Other leave Russia because they want opportunities to work and do more than being a housewife. Men need to consider this men they marry a RW. All the documents you read will never tell you what to expect. You need to spend much time talking to your prospective partner and planning for your life ahead.
Another thing to consider is that there is now a growing group of women who never even have thoughts of being an housewife. They are not looking for a normal life. They are looking for a better life.
It is an ancient custom for a woman to run the house: cleaning, cooking, looking after the children, washing and mending the linen, making preserves. As a matter of fact, the ideas of the wife's duties have been adjusted in the long run but haven't essentially changed.
In Russia the responsibility for maintaining order in a home (daily and overall cleaning) lies upon the woman. Russian women are naturally very clean, therefore their home, either a town apartment or a country cottage, is shining as a rule. There are several ways to attain the goal.
In high-income families the work is done by a daily help or people from special agencies hired by the hostess on purpose. The hostess is to control their work.
Most Russian families cannot afford a hired cleaner, so the task is carried out by the feminine part of the family: grandmother, mother and grown-up children. In united, loving families men can also participate actively in maintaining order.
Modern city-dwellers very often do not distinguish between wife's and husband's house duties: they prefer to carry them out together, or a spouse having spare time and a desire to do it at the moment, dies the work. In the country they stick to the traditional division of labor. The living conditions can easily account for the fact. In the country men retain the duties connected with hard physical work in running the family farm and garden. That's why women shoulder all concerns for the home.
Clean linen and clothes are the second concern of Russian women. Neatly dressed children and husband wearing a clean well ironed shirt add to her reputation of a good wife.
Kitchen. It has always been the working place of the Russian woman in the house. Deprived of electric kitchen appliances aid, the Russian woman is engaged in a non-stop cycle of cutting, boiling and frying something. One of the characteristic features of the Russian cuisine is a great number of ingredients, and it's very time and effort consuming. Russian women treat with distrust the semi-finished products and prefer to do everything with their own hands. In summer and autumn the usual continuing cycle of cooking breakfast, dinner and supper is accompanied by making preserves for winter: juices, jams, pickles, salads.
Children. Theoretically, a three-year long leave to look after a new-born can be granted on either a father or a mother, but in reality fathers exercise this right only in exceptional cases. That means that looking after the children is exclusively mother's duty.
Dacha (garden plot). In the 1990s dachas turned from a place for rest into a major means of surviving - people then were more like farmers than amateur gardeners. A dacha is a place to grow vegetables, fruit, berries, to breed poultry, cows, pigs. Under economic crisis and unemployment conditions, in circumstances when wages are not at paid or detained, when food prices grow steadily up, a dacha provides food thus avoiding death. And again the major part of the dacha burden falls to the woman's lot: she tends seedlings in spring, she plants, weeds waters, gathers the harvest, makes preserves in summer and in autumn. Of course there are fanatics for whom working in the garden is a hobby. Most people, however, refrain from having rest on weekends and work themselves into fainting out of ruthless necessity, because the Russian woman doesn't see any other ways to provide her family with fresh vegetables and fruit.
So we won't be mistaken if we claim that the Russian woman doesn't imagine herself apart from her house. Traditionally she runs the house, not considering the task an unbearable burden. Still any Russian woman will dream of having less house work waiting to be done.
Russian Women and Domestic Finance
In Russia up to nowadays the most common family type is the one in which wife is the family Treasurer; husband will give her the money her earns and... this is the limit to his authority over money matters. It is not vital in a Russian family, who cooks, cleans and does the washing and who earns the money. Each tries to meet the requirements of a specific situation. Spouses make roughly equal contribution to the family budget. The attitudes of modern Russian women towards money vary. Some follow the principle 'don't put off till tomorrow what you can spend today', others plan, how much and for what purpose to spend in minute details. The disconcerting Russian life makes the woman plan thoroughly the family budget: the wages day used to be fixed and this allowed it to plan 'from the one wage to the next one', so to say; nowadays nobody feels confident about the day to come, and Russian women have learnt to save for a rainy day.
And still is there a woman who hasn't ever been tempted to buy a thing that caught her eye and spent more than a half of the family budget? Russian women are also subject to such 'fits'. Though lately Russian women lose their head and spend money yielding to an occasional temptation considerably less often.
If the financial well-being of the Russian woman improves, she doesn't turn into a spendthrift. She will enjoy the feeling of confidence that money ensures, and may buy some trifle for herself to prove that she is free to spend. Though practical experience shows that the women having so called 'spare money' turn to be more economical and careful in their spending than their less wealthy female friends. If you marry a decent Russian woman, you won't have to beware the 'sudden' loss of your money She won't do any major purchases without consulting with you first: traditionally Russians discuss such matters at a 'family council'.
In essence wisdom and shrewdness which is so characteristic of the Russian woman allowed her to understand that chronic lack of money results in family crises and destruction of man's social status, but that huge income isn't a universal panacea either; on the contrary, in is accompanied by new troubles.
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