Domestic work typically is expected to be a woman’s turf. Once you are born a girl you have to learn…to master the art of a homemaker. Meaning performing various household tasks such as cleaning, cooking,washing, gardening, caring for children or elderly people and caring for “The Husband” ….and so on and so forth. When it comes to house chores and performing the task of keeping a home running one would find out that it is a herculean fit. Women usually are saddled with the job of running a home and trust me, it is a crazy and sapping job. Most times working women think that they are the most hit but trust me it doesn’t get easier because you are a stay home mum. From my experience on days i am at home or on working leave, i find myself cleaning, cooking and washing from dawn to dusk. You suddenly remember the wardrobe or store/basement you have been planning/ wanting/meaning to clean. Right in the middle of all the stuff and dust that you are covered with, you look up at the clock and remember that your kids will soon be home and lunch or dinner(depending on what time they usually come back home) needs to be ready. Off you go to the kitchen to take the heat of cutting, washing,frying, baking and staring just in case it is Amala, Semo, Eba (solid food/ Yam, corn or cassava flour paste in Nigeria), and if it is pounded yam…you pound. When the cooking is done you rush to take a shower in order to smell fresh and look happy to receive everyone when they come home(An ever smiling super mum)…i don’t know about you, that seldom happens for me. Most times i am still neck deep setting things up with strands of my hair hanging and I’m sweating seriously too. Once they (my family) storm in through the door…my job moves to another round shouting… guys put your school bags in place; don’t leave your socks on the couch/floor; take off your uniform…get your towels so you can take a shower…any home work? On and on the chain of command goes. Something i am glad about is that my husband lends a “big helping hand” most of the time but he is what i call an “arranger” (organized and a perfectionist). In between all the noise to get everyone organized he would sometimes say, “honey this place is so disorganized and scattered”, meaning that he would like it to be arranged, sparkling and clean. My already exhausted mind and body would respond inwards saying, “Mi o le wa ku o!” ( I can’t come and kill myself (pidgin) or I can’t take anymore, don’t even think about it! (proper English way of saying it). Thankfully most times, he would just start setting the place in order himself.
Society generally feels that domestic chores is a woman’s business and therefore a no go area for a man. Biologically women can multi task while men can most times handle one task at a time, so I’d say the task of home management is a gift to women and a blessing. I am delighted to be rewarded with hugs and kisses from my kids and husband with words like, “this food is delicious, thanks mummy”, “you are a good mummy”, “thanks honey”….. However, unless you want to have a worn out woman/wife, it is important to do your share of domestic chores. Don’t expect her to give you a great sex after she must have been worn out by putting everything and everyone in order until about 12midnight everyday! And seriously i don’t want to age faster than my husband as we grow older. It’s important to age gracefully looking sweet and healthy. A number of women when their kids are out of the nest suffer from an ailment or disease as a result of accumulated years of exhaustion/fatigue from the hard work of domestic chores. Sometime ago I heard of a woman who could barely walk as a result somethings she had to do in order to keep her family going while the kids were growing up. Some other women with prolonged fatigue have to live with diabetes, hypertension, Arthritis and so on as they age.
I hope that my son would be like his dad when he grows up, to be a helpful man to his wife one day. Right now he doesn’t like to help with chores like sweeping,washing plates and so on, but since i have a lot to say about that, he is learning to do them. My girl on the other hand naturally likes doing house chores and sometimes i have to literally pull her away from doing some stuff because i feel the task might be beyond her capability. The idea is this, train both your girls and boys to manage a home. There is no law against boys knowing how to clean, wash and cook. Some girl, some day would be lucky being married to him. And seriously because i have help with chores at home, at 40years i look younger than my age and “The husband is enjoying and loving it”.
By Adebisi Adetunji