Recently while talking to Mariam (not real name) who was delivered of her baby girl a few months ago, she revealed something that surprised me and I was touched. We were simply talking about certain cultural practices that are harmful to the wellbeing of our children. After she had her baby, a discussion between her mother-in-law and some older women took place. There was a plan to circumcise Mariam’s little girl but there was, however, a stumbling block. Mariam’s mother-in-law knew that she was stubborn and wondered what to do about ensuring that the old custom is upheld in the interest of her granddaughter or so it seems. One day this mother-in-law finally presented the matter to Mariam who stood her ground in refusing to have her daughter cut in the vagina. An argument ensued but Mariam prevailed. She points blank told her mother-in-law that she would not allow anyone to cut her little girl! And I must also commend Mariam’s husband here who supported the decision not to allow their daughter to be cut. I mean he could have sanctioned the plan to do this in the name of not wanting to offend his family.
I was surprised that this practice of mutilating girls in their vagina was still been practiced amongst the educated elites. Often we think that some harmful practices that we try to create awareness about with the intention of ending it, is simply a problem common among the uneducated rural. This is not the case many times.
So dear woman, do not sit on the fence thinking that there is nothing you can do about ending any form of abuse or practice that can be harmful to your child. Yes, a lot of times, particularly in our strong African cultural heritage men, decide something’s but this is not to say you should not speak up when it is a matter of what could harm you or your child.
Speaking up and saying NO, is the first step in protecting our girls from child marriage, female genital mutilation and cutting(FGMC) and other forms of harmful practices.
This post was inspired by discussions from a workshop on Advocacy & behavior Change Messages Development to abandonment of FGMC that I am participating in. It is put together by Civil Source Development & Documentation Cenre(CIRDDOC) Nigeria in partnership with UNFPA
Adebisi Adetunji (c)
I was listening to a newspaper review a few days ago and one of the stories prompted this post.
The gist was that a woman angry with her husband’s lover decided to teach her a lifetime’s lesson: By pouring hot water on the said lady!! 😱 Now she has been arrested by the police to face the wrath of the law for physically assaulting someone.
Now tell me… What did she actually stand to gain by her actions… Self inflicted punishment. Now she will really loose her man, her freedom and her hard earned resources depending on what type of punishment will be meted out to her.
The above story is a familiar one. Often we hear of partners who express their anger towards a cheating partner by attacking his new lover/woman sharing him with you. Most times I am flabbergasted and somewhat concerned when women fight over a man. I guess such a lady /woman is trying to protect her territory.
Of course you feel betrayed, hurt and some anger too when you find out that your man is cheating on you and that’s normal!
But how do you channel this emotions right such that you don’t give in to that momentary madness to harm your man or the “other woman”?
- Understand that knowing about” the other woman” gives you an opportunity to protect yourself. Now you know that your partner or spouse is cheating on you. What if you never found out? So knowing is an information to arm yourself. This knowledge helps you to discover that there is a problem.
- Are you really sure that he is cheating on you? I hope it is not a figment of your imaginations fired by unhealthy jealousy or possessive attitude. You stand the risk of loosing him if you go attacking an innocent “other woman”.
- Fight your battle with love wisely. Do not act on the information while your emotions are boiling hot. Allow yourself time to let the issue sink in and achieve at least some form of calm. Cry if you have to, it is therapeutic.
- Go for couples counsel or seek counsel from older couples whom you can trust. They should be people of experience who can counsel you right about what to do. Do not take the advice of anyone who encourages you to go fighting!! When the trouble comes rolling in, your adviser will leave you to face the music alone.
- Confront your man and ask him directly about whether he is cheating on you. 😎 I know a good number of men will deny this and probably speak “sweet empty words” you cover up. Some even express anger pretending to be a wrongfully accused victim. If that happens and you are sure about your facts of his cheating on you, present your prove… Now watch his reaction. NOTE: If you are still too angry wait until you can have a calm conversation.
- If you are still only dating him walk away now from that relationship. He is not going to be committed to you in marriage simply because you are the one he ends up giving a wedding ring to.
- If you are married, it is not easy to walk away. You need counseling.
- Find out the problem: Why did he cheat on you? Is it a one off thing or has this been the practice with your man. It is a heart searching issue – Is there any role you played that led to this? Are there serious unresolved issues? Have you both been off sex for months unending?. You really must talk about this with your man. Counseling is key here.
- Pray about this and just ask for guidance.
- Do not report him to your family. They will be very emotional about the whole thing but if you do have a family member who can handle the matter with wisdom, go ahead. And just incase you do settle things between you and your partner/forgive him, your family will never forget.
- Do not go telling everyone and particularly those friends whom you don’t even know if they were secretly wishing that you would lose your marriage.
Have you ever experienced that frustrating feeling when you look at your wristwatch or office wall clock and it is almost closing time; then you suddenly remember you have no idea of what to cook for your family when you get home? Many times I listen to colleagues exclaim: “Oooooh what are we even going to eat this evening”. Then other female folks join in saying “That’s true, I don’t know what to cook for my family too”. And then we go on to console ourselves or should I say make ourselves feel even worse with words like: “Ah the life of a woman”.
I don’t know about you, cooking is a matter of necessity for me; I do my best to make good meals. But some women love to cook and you find them trying a variety of recipes. One of my sisters loves to experiment and so at family gatherings/event she often comes up with a new soup and would want us all to try it. I really do admire what she does but me…” long story”.
A dear friend and colleague, Stellamaris who by the way is packaging some Nigerian soup recipes for this blog love to cook…and men, she really can cook!! Ladies like her are ever in the market space shopping for ingredients. It is an almost every other daily activity, count me out. I mean I even plan the precise amount of time I want to spend in the market; I call it shopping sharply and smartly…hehehe. Please o, don’t blame me.
Shopping for ingredients and foodstuff to prepare meals is one thing and cooking is another part of the kitchen palava. Sometimes your food store is well stocked with a variety of food items you can prepare and yet you have headaches about what to cook. Yes, I do, I don’t know about you. The problem is not a want for food but about been skillful in preparing variety so that your menu is not monotonous
So how do we make things easier on ourselves when it comes to preparing meals?
• Good old fashion, food timetable works wonders. However, that would mean having all the variety in your timetable available in the house. Sometimes this is not workable. So you might need to also be flexible with your timetable.
• Learn a few new recipes from your family and friends who love to cook. This you can try out to give yourself and family a variety of meals.
• It is advisable to buy foodstuffs in bulk to save cost and to also refrigerate them appropriately.
• Have a day or days in the month when you prepare a variety of soups and stock in the freezer. This will help you prepare only what you need to accompany the soup such as rice or if you are very Nigerian, solid foods like Fufu, Eba, Amala, Akpu.
• Do not hesitate to ask for help from those who love to cook *wink. If they are willing to do it for free – good for you but if not be willing to pay for the services. They will help you to make various soups in large quantity and then you can preserve in your deep freezer!
• Sometimes offer to take your family out if you can afford it or get your man to take you all out. The trick to that…”Yawn and lament about how tired you really are if you are both riding in the same vehicle on your way home…hahaha….It is nice to have cooking free days.
• Plan, plan, plan your meals as best as you can.
Have a stress free cooking life woman!
Adebisi Adetunji (C)
Welcome to another woman to woman or should I say feminine tet- a-tet time. Hopefully, your week hasn’t been too stressful. Mine has been a mixed bag. In between carrying out my work assignments, family errands and chores; been called in the middle of the night that a dear friend and sister’s husband slummed in the bathroom(sadly he didn’t make it. A really emotional time for us all as we grieve with her and try to support as best as we can). Then we are in the middle of having this great fun time for senior citizens in the Southwest Nigeria. October 1, is International World Elders Day.
Why I’m I listing my activities for the week? Because like many other women out there we all juggle various aspects of life from career, business, family, spiritual, friends, family and more. If you are like me, it can really be overwhelming sometimes and stressful too.
So how does a woman find a balance?
Talk is easy but when it comes to application, it is another ball game altogether. So I can not pretend to know about all that goes on in your life dear woman but we can at least share ideas.
7 things to do to get a balance/Reduce Stress
- Prioritize and Identify what is most important in your life. Pay attention to what is important. E. God Your health and family are not worth sacrificing for a career.
- Buy food in bulk and refrigerate or preserve through natural means that you prefer. This will sort the problem of having to go shopping at the market or mall every now and then. I mean you don’t even have the time with your busy schedule.
- Clean systematically. Do not try to do all the chores in your house at once. Plan your chores, for example, you can decide to wash on your off days or the weekend.
- Sometimes leave all the mess and go and lie down. If you are stressed, you are stressed. Don’t keep pushing yourself trying to be miss/Mrs perfectly clean and then you break down. Please turn the other eye and have a 30minutes nap, the mess will still be waiting when you get up from the bed but you will have renewed energy to face it.
- Plan your work- office or business. Take care of assignments as soon as they come. Stop piling your work or before long you come under the pressure of meeting too many deadlines within a short time.
- Engage others, ask for help and keep asking.
- Create me a time when you just relax and away from all the stress. This can be simply having a drink all by yourself outside in the garden.
Share your ideas about how a woman can find a balance between work, family and personal life. Enjoy your weekend!!
Hello my feminine clan whether you prefer to be called a lady or woman, I missed you and this time we do share together. It has been twoq weeks now since we chatted on the “woman to woman talk” series. Please pardon me I have had to put a few things in place. But hey grab a chair and let’s talk.
Today’s gist centers around something I observe and find annoying while driving around town.
Is it just me or have you ever noticed it too. Why is it that when we, women want to buy something by the road side we don’t park properly? I am talking about my fellow Nigerian women oooo! Often a woman just steps on her car break as soon as she sees something she wants to buy, parking almost in the middle of the road. Soon other car owners will begin to honk behind her; it is simply not a pleasant sight. Please dear fellow woman/ Lady Park well when you need to buy something beside the road.
In other countries you will end up paying a fine for obstructing traffic. So please be civilized and considerate of others while driving on the road. I mean follow the rules of driving girl….
Are you guilty of not parking properly and stopping to buy something by the road side? What’s your view about this? Share your thoughts… 😀😀
Catch you soon
Adebisi Adetunji (C)
We hear a lot about monster mother in-laws. And if you come from some of our tribes it is a never ending war between mother-in-laws and their daughter-in-laws. It is like we are practically fighting for the attention of the poor man who is not sure of his role as a son or spouse anymore.
Indeed there some very incorrigible mother-in-laws; nothing their daughter in-law ever does is right but paying bad deeds with good is the key here. This can be tough, but being good to your mother-in-law pays in the end. Call her on her birthdays, buy her gifts, encourage your husband, her son to do something nice for his mother. After all you would want your daughter – in-law to do the same for you.
Some single ladies are so terrified of what their mother-in-law could do to make life unbearable for them in their matrimonial home that they wish her dead! Yes, I hear of ladies praying that their mother-in-law would die before they tie the knot with the love of their life. Hmmmn…how would you like your future daughter –in-law to wish you dead too?😱
You don’t have to be terrified of having a mother-in-law. Remember that she had to give birth to her son which gave you an opportunity to meet him in the first place. So be grateful for that. Put yourself in her shoes; she has her fears too about totally losing her son’s attention to you. And seriously the mother-son loving relationship is punctured when the boy falls in love with a girl.
So recognize why there might be an issue:
• You are coming from a different background and generation from your mother-in-law.
• Her view of life is some worth different from yours.
• Just because your mother or friend had a turbulent relationship with her in-laws doesn’t mean you will also experience the same thing.
It is possible to have a good, cordial and loving relationship with your mother-in-law.
How to have a better relationship with your mother-in-law?
• First, see her as your own mother for indeed she became your second mum. Surely you do have a misunderstanding with your mum but you usually find a way around it. So find a way around that misunderstanding between you and your mother-in-law.
• Study your mother-in-law, find out what she likes and dislikes.
• Just because you are now married to her son shouldn’t mean that she is banished for life in her son’s life and your family. Allow your mother-in-law to be a part of your lives. I mean she deserves a right to be a part of her grandchildren’s lives. And it is a relief to you too on days when you simply need a break from the stress of caring for your family.
• Make up your mind to be your mother-in-law’s friend as much as possible.
• You will not always see eye to eye on a lot of issues but gently and wisely make her see reason. Sometimes let her son, your husband explain things to her. Some things might be better received when it is coming from her son.
When it is really difficult to deal with your mother-in-law, pray for her and yourself. Do your best and keep loving no matter what.
Remember, your mother-in-law is a fellow woman – support each other.
I think we should talk about how to be your daughter- in-law’s Friend in my next woman to Woman Talk post. 😀😀
Adebisi Adetunji (C)
There are dresses for the different occasion. Sometimes while driving around or taking a stroll I come upon a lady wearing what I call, “an evening gown” in broad daylight!! This kind of dress will make even fellow women who have a dress sense to turn and say haha…ki leleyi? (What is this?).
The most interesting part of it all is that the lady/woman in question will be feeling like on-top of the world. Haba! This scenario also shows up in the office space sometimes. How do you react to a colleague who shows up at work in a nice evening dress on Monday morning o?! Please, ladies, there are appropriate dresses meant for a different occasion.
Just because you saw your favorite actress on a television set wearing a particular kind of dress that you fell in love with doesn’t mean when you do get it, then you show up at work with it. Are you trying to make a statement? Well, you did but in a way, you didn’t intend.
I am not perfect in this dress sense thing but I do try my best to look good for an occasion appropriately. Ask if you don’t know.
So what I’m I saying here? Wear appropriate clothes to appropriate places o before you start to look like a clown. Ask and keep asking if you don’t know. Google has made it easy just type in, “clothes for the office”; “clothes for when going to the market”; “clothes for exercising”, “clothes for a Gala night” etc.
Cheers enjoy your weekend!!
Photo Credit : Pink Queen – In case you are looking for lovely evening gowns.
Adebisi Adetunji (C)