Growing up I heard things such as “men shouldn’t be in the kitchen”, except of course to pound yam or cocoyam for soup. Boys washed cars while girls cooked, washed and tidied the home. This was the norm, still is the norm in most families.
It was annoying being called to do almost everything at home, sometimes you even feel like a slave. And often ask yourself ” if your parents loved you”? Occasionally, it’s like they know what you are thinking and they would be like “we are grooming you to be a good woman”
In my head I’d roll my eyes and respond “Slave you mean”. You know I wouldn’t have said that out loud. The good woman obviously meant ” good wife”, but how does doing physical actions such as sweeping, cleaning and washing make you “good woman”?
What is that sef?
Why all the ‘pressure’?
It was tiring.
It was a burden you could complain about, but not refuse at the time. This has affected many women, they are always seen doing one thing or the other. They are tired but refuse to take care of themselves because they were never taught “how”, some feel they do not deserve rest. All they know is work, work and more work. No breathing space, no fun time, no relaxation.
They pass this down to their daughters, if their daughters have a contrary opinion they are termed stubborn and disobedient. What is stubborn about saying no, to so much work and no fun time? When they come back for holidays they hide in their rooms because they know if they come out to gist with you, it’d be work, work, work.
“You didn’t clean the room well, go and do it again”.
“Have you washed my clothes? Are they dried? Then iron them”.
“Why are you sitting and reading that novel when there is so much work to do”?
“But mum I have cooked and cleaned everywhere what more is there to do?”
There is always work to be done, keep that novel, I’ll show you what to do”.
Can’t you let her be, let her rest.
Her time at home with you shouldn’t be stressful, because one of these days she may give you one reasonable excuse why she couldn’t come back for holidays. Who knows she might be doing it already?
It was too much work, no breathing space to do things you love because you are at home catering to people’s needs. The times you go out, is to the market, church or when going back to school. You hear Moms saying ” ezibo nwa” meaning “good child”. That is, if you don’t do most of these, you are termed a bad and stubborn child.
Being a good person is a thing of the mind, I can do all the chores available in this world and still be a bad person. A dislike for chores such as those I listed above doesn’t make you bad. No two people are the same, I have never liked doing chores, don’t know if I ever will.
I prefer tasking someone I can pay to do all these, It does make things easier. I am not saying a child shouldn’t be taught to do basic chores.
By all means, teach…
But as you teach your girls, teach your boys as well, you cannot have one party doing almost everything and getting exhausted while the other party is almost doing nothing. Raise girls who know they were created for more, not girls who think they’re meant to cater to everyone’s needs apart from themselves. And at the same time, make your time with them fun, make out time for relaxation. They should be allowed to do what they love, make sure of it. It shouldn’t be “like work” just being around you. Normalize having fun and relaxation in your homes!
I hope you have learnt a thing or two?
Written by : Henrietta Nonye Odey who is a body safety expert, GBV awareness prevention educator, physiotherapist, child protection advocate and blogger at https://bodysafetyacademy.substack.com