Turkish Housewife Failure

I had nothing but good intentions when we first moved here.  I was going to amaze with my cracking culinary skills, real food too not all this Turkish stuff day in and day out.  I was going to make lemon meringue pies, electrify the family tastebuds with my beef wellington and delight them with my knockout gnocchi.  I brought at least 10 cook books with me including a Turkish cookbook – how could I go wrong?  I also intended to keep the house spick and span.  I was going to iron my sheets (my mum used to do that).  I was going to dust away the dust bunnies and my home was going to look like it had come out of a Better Homes and Gardens catalogue – after all I did have a lot of free time.

 Housewife 1

Good intentions mean shit when you realise that you can’t cook and you hate cleaning.  I was not designed to be a housewife but even more troubling is I was definitely not designed to be a Turkish Housewife!  They put the super size into every meal and super freak into their cleaning.  Who needs to be like that anyway?

The other morning my teyzer (aunt) arrived as I was making breakfast and she gave me a lesson in boiling eggs.  Truly.  It’s a feking egg for Christ’s sake, “how hard can it be?”  Well it seems I have been doing it wrong for all these years so I sat back and let her boil my eggs (that sounds a lot dirtier than it should).  “Ello darlin’, come here and I’ll boil ya eggs for ya!”  After she boiled my eggs she showed me how to cut up a cucumber.  Yes really.

And it is not just my cooking skill that requires lessons on how to be a better Turkish housewife.  More than once I have had my sister in law turns up uninvited to clean my windows because she could see the hand prints from her home.  Really?  I have also had my neighbour come knocking on my door to show me how to do my laundry as my washing drying in the sunshine did not look clean enough from her garden.  Um, thanks.

Well it seems that I will never make any of the ladies in the village happy with my housewife skills.  Frankly I am surprised that they haven’t taken The Turk aside and given him a speech about how bad of a wife I really am. 

“Maybe they have?” questions my inner demons.

Well maybe I don’t care!


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29 thoughts on “Turkish Housewife Failure

  1. Ah, don’t despair Janey, the world is full of good intentions.
    In a past relationship, my Sundays were the pitz:
    get up, bake apple (or other fruit) pies, prepare sunday roast, cook full english breakfast for 3, wash up, clean bathroom and bedrooms as man disappears to pub.
    Serve dinner 1pm, man not around to eat it, gets put in oven (turned off as I got sick of it drying out by the time he arrived at 3), wash up. Bake cake. Clean downstairs. Wash up after man finally arrives to have dinner. Get tea for kids (not mine), get tea for man, wash up. Bath kids, make sandwiches for school and work next day. Finally sit down around 8pm only to be asked for a cup of tea and piece of that cake.
    Good intentions……….. 2nd word ‘off’.


  2. Haha, I made lemon meringue pie once, the Turks hated it! Nice to know you have such helpful neighbours, must be village life that has certainly never happened to me in all my years here. One week left before I fly back home out of this cursed solitude


  3. This sounds just like me, I came here thinking exactly the same thing! I too had my sister-in-law teach me how to boil an egg – I smiled politely whilst thinking what am I friggin idiot!!! After a few weeks in the heat – sod off came my reply to most things. I can’t be arsed to be in the kitchen the whole time cooking, or cleaning the rest of the time, there are more important things in life, I have 4 kids that need entertaining!! It does eventually stop – or maybe they just gave up with me as a lost cause…not sure!!


  4. Made me smile 🙂 I spend so much time in the village, they never get a chance to miss me and come visit! The only person that points to the dust in our house is Murat and to that I give him a finger gesture of my own 😉


  5. Just out of interest….. How did she show you to boil the eggs? Was it any different to the normal put in a pan of water for 10 mins…. or something drastically different.

    A tip i use from my sister in law to stop them from cracking is to put them in cold water NOT boiling and add a little salt or a matchstick broken in half with the pink tip taken off, (10 mins from boiling). It works every time!

    However life is too short to “stuff a Mushroom”….. My Motto is ” If you don’t let anyone know that you can put a plug on….. you will never have too”

    Very Entertaining as usual, made me smile.

    I once attempted to make a simple omelet for a turkish man, i placed what i thought was a very good omelet on the table and called him, he sat down, took one glance at it, and immediately left the table with a grimmace on his face. nothing like his mother makes apparently. Ahh well, more for me, to add to my spare tyre.


  6. Are you a Turkish housewife or an Aussie housewife living in Turkey? One is not better than the other, mind you, but perhaps some well-meaning people should be taught the difference.


  7. Being a GOOD housewife is very important in Turkey, which is why you get things like this.
    In 2012, the employment rate of women in Turkey was only 29.5 percent, the lowest rate of 34 countries, according to 2014 Economic Survey of Turkey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
    “The first reason for women not being in the labor force is our rooted social belief that they should stay at home and care for their family,” said Gulden Turktan, president of KAGIDER Women Entrepreneurs’ Association in Turkey.
    Good luck being an nontraditional housewife!


  8. I feel your pain! My in-laws are coming over for the first time tomorrow night. They are super sweet and gracious, setting their expectations of the yabancı gelin pretty low. My mother-in-law has already informed Canım of the menu she has planned, which embarrassed and pleased me at the same time. She’s keeping it real. She knows she probably won’t like the food I’d have to offer anyway. Still, I’m so nervous but also really glad my housekeeper came by on Friday! Eek!


  9. How’ve I JUST discovered you? My favorite rigid food culture moment in Turkey- I took to cooking the köfte bulgur like couscous and making myself salads of it for lunch with leftover veggies and cheese and a splash of olive oil. My co-worker, an excellent Turkish housewife, asked me what I was eating one day and I explained- bulgur, parmesan, herbs, olive oil- and she physically RECOILED. And then looked at me like a poor lost lamb and explained, as one would to a particularly dense six-year old, that one does not eat bulgur with cheese. One eats it with YOĞURT. Oh.


  10. I can totally relate to you. I tried to be a Greek housewife and I’ve found myself in similar situations. I decided it’s not for me, so back to square one in Holland. But I think you’re very brave and hope you can find a good flow to handle all of it and that you can truly enjoy the beauty of your adventure.


  11. Lol, it’s the same for me in Egypt! Except I don’t learn the language so nobody can explain to me anything, thank God! (it’s such a successful strategy!) My husband is a darling and never bothers me about anything, but I’m very thankful I’m not a ‘real’ egyptian wife, it sounds like they have a lot in common with ‘real’ turkish housewives! ♥♥♥ ;^)


  12. Pingback: So what’s my peeve today? | janeyinmersin

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  14. Hi Jane. I came across your blog whilst googling to see if mine would come up (I have yet to make it past the porn 🙂 ) So much for me having a unique angle.. I can see that the post is quite old, how are you getting on with being a Turkish housewife now? Have you succeeded or given up with trying to reach unobtainable standards? I am still trying, and I am a Turkish Housewife so I have no excuses!!

    Anyway I am glad that I am not the only one.

    Ela (Turkishhousewife.com)


  15. That’s because I have no idea what I am doing yet 🙂 I have gone into this bindly to be honest. Thanks anyway. Could you publish on kindle/Amazon? I did recently and it’s not too difficult, if you do you can always e mail me for help (mind you I only know the very basics.) Good luck with the novel!


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