Hmm, nawa oh, you mean your husband has to be buying food from the office café in the mornings. Personally, I don’t think that’s good enough. If single men do that, it understandable but a married man, nah. I think wives should take full responsibility. As a wife, you should emulate the King Lemuel’s mother who would wake up early to sort out the home. I don’t see the Proverbs 31 woman’s husband buying breakfast in the café. As for me, I shall wake up at 4:30am before he does, do a quick ‘me and God’ quiet time, cook his breakfast and prepare a packed lunch, wake him up with a kiss, we’ll pray together and then the day starts.
That was me 20 months ago before I met Tony. Tony and I got married 3 months ago and I am OVERWHELMED by it all. The breakfast and packed lunch plan lasted 2 weeks, okay 8 working days actually. After that, it became breakfast alone. Now, breakfast only happens twice a week. As in?!!!
Let me offer a bit of history: I have always been a hands on type of girl, typical Benin girl. It was all made ‘worse’ by the fact that my Grandma raised me. She basically taught me that no good woman should ever sit in the living room watching TV unless there is absolutely nothing to do. I mean this woman would slap me off the chair and ask me to go and dust the cupboards even after I had spent the past 3 hours cooking and cleaning. So after all these years, I am hardworking by default.
When I met Tony, I had to tone down my nature because I started looking like one of those hustler/desperado girls that would do anything to make a man see she would make a good wife. I would find my way to his house every Saturday, cook, clean and help with his washing (loading it into the washing machine o!).Then I noticed he started acting a bit funny. Omo, nobody taught me how to drop those extra duties, quickly! It took all the strength I could muster to close my eyes to the mess Tony would create. I mean I love the dude with my last breath but mehn, cleanliness and tidiness are not his strong suits AT ALL! As soon as I stopped he started complaining that I was acting like Queen Nefertiti. LOL! How come people don’t know your value until you stop doing something they usually took for granted? He would complain that I was becoming pepperless when I would sprinkle the scouring powder in the bath and hand him the brush. Hahaha! He was literally horrified. Well, truth is I know my man and I have accepted my fate that my grandma’s teachings were going to have to pay off in my home. I was doomed to the life of a super hardworking wife if I intended to have a clean home to my taste and standard.
We got married in August and things have gotten worse. Tony is so used to things being done for him, he literally cannot do anything for himself. I’m happy to work hard but it gets frustrating when I give the house a good clean only to go out with friends to be back at about 5pm and meet it in a post-war state. This is not a one-off. This is my reality. I had to sit him down and complain and I was prepared for him to start with the ‘this is how you met me’ speech. But to my shock and subsequent dismay, he said he’d add N50,000 to the monthly home running allowance so that we can hire a live-in help if I could not manage.
As a young lady, I would tell all who cared to listen that there was no way I’d get a house help so early into my marriage. In fact, I planned to get help only temporarily just for the first months of putting to bed. If I can’t run my own home now after just 3 months, how on earth would it be when the kids start coming in? Cooking, cleaning, ironing, going to the market, standing in the never ending queue at Shoprite, driving up and down, handing in proposals, preparing reports twice a week, attending meetings, travelling to Abuja, Church duties etc. It’s all too much and I am completely swamped. People glow in marriage but no! me, I’ve lost weight from a healthy 10 to an 8. Being a size 8 is good but not when you haven’t had time to shop and you’re still rocking your baggy clothes thereby making you look ill. I can’t believe I would ever say this, but if I get pregnant in the next one year, I’ll just faint!
I spoke to my aunt about it and she has devised a plan. She runs a Buka type of restaurant in Yaba and for a small fee/cost price type thing, she would supply me with Efo riro, Ofada stew, Ewedu, Bitter leaf soup, Banga, Fish stew basically, whatever I want every two weeks. I have thought and thought about this and it actually brought me to tears. After all my plans of being a proper home maker, praying in advance for the grace, I’d now have to be deceiving my husband that he’s eating home-cooked meals when I actually had it delivered! Does this not mean I can’t run my own home? Does this not mean I’m a girl and not a woman? I mean how do the other married women do it?
I am a 8-6 worker in a major hence extra busy Marketing firm. On a very great day, I get home at 6:45pm, on a typical day, I’m home by 7:30pm. On a very busy day, which we have been getting more of recently, I could be at the office till 8,9 or even 10pm! Tony is even busier as he is starting up a business with his partners. I am a neat freak and I like for people to be able to call me up and say ‘I’m 4 minutes’ away from yours’ without me having to go crazy, jumping about arranging the house’. Tony, on the other hand, can welcome anyone into his tornado-torn home and greet them with a big hug and a warm smile like his house is Buckingham Palace. He really doesn’t care and thinks I disturb myself too much. He thinks I should take it easy and that it’s okay if the plates are not washed overnight or that there is grime in the sink. I believe in hard work but it is draining me.
I thank God for my husband. He really doesn’t bother me at all and does not demand anything much from me. He is not a ‘you are a woman you must cook my meals every evening’ type of guy. In fact, he’ll happily order Yellow Chilli food for us as often as possible but I’m the one who believes this is not ideal. Tony and I were able to get a lovely 2 bedroom apartment in Oniru and I love it to be as neat and as clutter free as when we freshly moved in. I love when his friends and their wives come in and ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over how great a home maker I am. I’d hate for the standard to drop but I should be able to do it by myself because I’m a woman, I’m young (28) and I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. But it is driving me absolutely nuts!!!
I see my married friends looking happy, going to the movies together, holding hands, going for comedy shows etc. There’s even a couple that is always featured in magazines looking picture perfect going for events every other weekend. Ah mean, where do they find the time? What type of home do they go to when the evening is over? How do they juggle it all abi it’s all down to house help and Buka food?
Am I just being unrealistic by not wanting to take up Aunty and Tony’s offers? How do you married ladies do it and for the single ones, how do you plan to do it? Guys, how do you expect it done? Please, let me say this in advance, spare yourselves the ‘your husband should help you’ talk. I know my husband. He won’t physically help … much. He’ll start after much cajoling and then get carried away with football or tennis, a phone call or a work related email and I will end up doing it myself anyway. He will easily sit in a state of mess and not notice that it is messy. He thinks I go overboard by saying the room is messy when in his mind, it could not be any tidier. So my fellow MCLA readers, forget that side. The best help he can render is to empower me (by offering to pay for a help). Once upon a time, I would chide the woman who wouldn’t make hot meals for her husband each evening. I have changed my mind o! Now, I am that woman. Help!
Air your views guys. Muse with me!