I watched the video of the nanny abusing the baby with so much pain in my heart, and all through the day that was all I could think of. Then the thoughts, and questions began to trickle in. It began with…this could be my child in the near future.
That thought jarred me so much and increased the pain I was feeling already. I asked myself; after the vows, what next? Just this past weekend, my mom and I had the ‘mother-daughter talk’(mostly, she talked, I pretended to listen) again on how; at my age she was married, I need to hurry encourage my man to the alter soon, bla bla bla. All these thoughts raced through my mind and I asked myself; after the vows, what next?
After our millions of Naira wedding, with the beautiful dresses and the sky-scraper cake (which no one gets to eat). After the beautiful but expensive aso-ebi (which majority of the people who bought it struggled to and did just to save face), and the mostly useless souvenirs, what next? Everybody leaves after the wedding reception and it’s me and dear husband left to begin our new lives and soon after, the children start coming, and this brings me to the crux of my thoughts; how would I manage?
How would I manage an eight-five, Monday to Friday job that needs me to wake-up by 4am everyday prepare and leave the house by 5:45, to begin the daily traffic commute in order to be at work before 8am, and spend another two to three hours (average) on the return journey. As a single lady, with no husband and kids to care for, I’m usually dead tired at the end of the day, so how would I manage a husband, children and a career I love, successfully, without one or more suffering.
So, while I had my thinking hat on, I examined my options. I haven’t ever been a fan of the live-in-help system, as I’ve seen the damage they can do. Also, I do not want my kids to have to begin crèche at 3 months; because, not just that it isn’t proper and healthy, the thought of dropping my kids off at 6am to pick them up by 8pm just leaves me cold and repulsed. This leaves me with the last idea I thought would work prior to my watching the video; my mom and a nanny.
My mom is a teacher; her work timing isn’t like mine. So I thought; she would help out in supervising the nanny so I don’t get to leave my children alone with caregivers for long hours while I’m working. But, seeing the brutality with which the nanny ‘cared’ for the child, I’m left with doubts and a conviction that my kids won’t go through this, even if it means me resigning to care for them.
I kept on thinking of all the possible ailments that could arise from such treatment; head-brain injury, internal bleeding, broken bones, collapsed lungs, even death. The parents of that child could have come home to a dead child (God forbid). I remembered a story I heard in secondary school of a maid that suffocated the baby in her care, cleaned up and lay the baby as though she were asleep. When the child’s mother returned home she said the child was asleep, the mother only looked in on her child to find a cold, dead baby and the maid claimed to know nothing about it. It was only discovered when the maid boasted to the hearing of their neighbor on how to get rid of troublesome children to make the ‘work’ in the home easier. The world truly is wicked.
So I’m left with questions. How does a career woman balance work and home? (All the women I’ve seen do it have external help; good or bad.) What options are available to the woman who doesn’t want to expose her children to the unknown?
This got me thinking further; if our roads and transportation system were in order, would I need to leave home that early? Would I have to spend an average of six hours every day commuting to and from work in order to make ends meet?
Maybe we need to ask our government to help us keep ideal homes, by providing an enabling environment that doesn’t see us spending half our lives in traffic. Maybe we should insist the recent law passed by the Lagos State government increasing maternity leave from three to six months (for the first two children) become a federal law, and be enforced even in the private sector. Also, all employers should be encouraged to have child care facilities in the building to help working mothers. Also, all this ‘concerned’ relatives that keep asking us to get married and have kids would they help me care for my kids?
Seriously; how do I achieve a healthy work-home relationship?
I have no answers to these questions, I shared these questions with a married colleague who laughingly told me; ‘when you get in, you’ll find a system that will work for you.’ But for me who by nature likes to have a solid plan in place before I embark on anything, I’m still asking; after the vows, what next?
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Sam74100