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Michael Afenfia: Celebrate Women For Their Ability to Fill Multiple Roles

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My family is away on vacation and I have the whole house to myself. The first three days were magical; I couldn’t believe the quietness and not having to bump into anyone in the hallway, the bathroom or the study. I can’t even describe the feeling of having absolute control over the remote control and not having to feel guilty about monopolising the living room or depriving the others from watching the programmes they like, or from using that space with me because I have guests.

The first night they left, I made white rice and chicken stew. The next night, it was spaghetti and fried fish; and the night after that, I made pepper soup and unripe plantain – the Niger Delta style. I guess I’m a foodie like that.

By the fourth night, I managed to boil yam and fry two eggs. I was making noodles by the fifth, and now it’s just cereal, because all I have to do is pour water into a bowl and add water, milk and honey, and then it’s off to bed. Ha, it’s not easy! Let me not come and kill myself because I want to form celebrity chef.

Did I mention the day I started boiling eggs so I could at least spice things by adding sandwich to my cereal? Well… I dozed off while watching Channels news at 10pm. Thank God it was only the kettle I burnt and not the whole kitchen. So I had no option but to interpret the burnt egg offering as a sign from above, warning me to stay off the kitchen if it’s not to get cornflakes or heat up my takeaway dinner from Kilimanjaro, the closet fast food restaurant to my house.

I’ve kept the fact about my steady decline from eating healthy self-cooked meals to buying suya from the aboki at the junction, which I wash down with a bottle of chilled CocaCola from the fridge away from my folks because they won’t let me hear the last of it. After all the bragging I did about my culinary skills, which I get to demonstrate in the house every now and then by the way, the joke would be that I didn’t have staying power when it came to the business of managing pots, pans, and cooking ingredients.

Clearly, my attempt at domestication isn’t working, and I can’t wait for the holidays to be over. It’s not just about the food and kitchen duties, it’s the whole silence that was cool the first few days after they left. Now, any other voice in the house that isn’t mine, even if it’s just Wolf Blitzer on CNN or Funke Akindele on Jenifa’s Diary or in a movie is welcome.

Sometimes, I turn on all the television sets in the house and increase the volume really high so it sounds like one set of people are having a conversation in one room and another set of people are in another room shouting back just like the kids would have been doing, arguing about whose turn it was on the video game console or whose turn it was to watch something on TV if they were home. I deliberately leave some of the doors in the house open, so it gives an impression there are other people in the house beside myself and I sleep in two rooms. I start out in one and end up in another.

I miss the noise from the other rooms in the house and even the dog, Legend, doesn’t bark as much. He must be missing being chased around the compound and all the attention he gets from his now-holidaying buddies.

But this piece isn’t about Legend and how much he misses the kids, it is actually about women, all the hardworking career women and working class ladies – single, married, or widowed who multi-task and do so much to keep their homes and families happy and intact. Women who work just as hard as their male counterparts, maybe even more and still rush home to make dinner, help the kids with homework and prepare them for school and are still the sounding boards and chief advisers to the men in their lives. I don’t need a special day or occasion to write about or celebrate them.

All the entertainers, singers and actresses, teachers, nurses, doctors, pilots, engineers, lawyers, bankers, fashion designers, politicians, TV and radio personalities, architects, pastors, traders, bloggers, they all deserve our respect and commendation.

Even though the world has told them and taught them repeatedly that they can only play one role, they have taught themselves that they could play several at once and still be good at most, if not all. I celebrate my wife, my mother and my sisters for being such women. And I know there are several more out there, some of whom you know.

I saw the story about Beyoncé Knowles and Serena Williams, and the hard time they hard with their pregnancies and deliveries. A good number of women have similar stories to tell and it’s something we, the men can never comprehend fully because our deed is done very early on in the process. But it’s not so for the women, some of whom are forced to make career-and-life-altering decisions, once the babies start coming.

Though it might be the way nature has designed it, but please let’s not take it for granted. Let’s always support them so they don’t get to give up their careers or even their lives just because nature have made them women.

Photo Credit: Fotos.com.ng

A proud son of the Ijaw nation and lover of Nigeria, Michael Afenfia associates with everything good and exciting about Nigeria. His ongoing work, the Mechanics of Yenagoa, is published on his blog every fortnight. So far, he has authored three critically acclaimed novels and a number of nonfiction writing, including a biography. He is @MichaelAfenfia on social media and can be reached via [email protected]

25 Comments

  1. Dust

    August 24, 2018 at 11:02 am

    “Even though THE WORLD has told them and taught them repeatedly that they can only play one role”..

    Its Europe and not the world… African women have been Queens and Goddesses and have been multi-tasking long before europeans decided to change the role of the African woman.

    If its stressful for you ( a man naturally has more stamina and energy than a woman ) to handle house chores then your task management skills are bad…

    you should reduce the work load (house chores e.t.c) on your wife instead of writing an article…

    Action speaks louder than words or in this case text/essay/article e.t.c….

    • mua

      August 24, 2018 at 11:18 am

      You’re just daft, plain daft

    • mua

      August 24, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      @dust or whatever you call yourself you are inexplicably daft.

    • Engoz

      August 24, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      Hey mua,

      What part of dust’s comment was daft? Even though I don’t fancy the queens ati goddess terms, African women were encouraged to work and take care of the home. It was foreign religions/culture that prioritized this staying at home thing for women.

    • Senior Advocate

      August 24, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      Hello Dust, I don’t get what you’re on about, though. From all he has written you should have deduced he thinks of women as being nothing but special and thus draws attention to those who are such jewels.

      And the bit about being a man and not being able to multitask? I’m a guy; I suck at multitasking. So do most men I know – that’s not to say there are men who are great at it.

      But it is a crime to publicly write an article to publicly appreciate such women he refers to? Has he told you he is not helping his spouse? Or you didn’t read where he said he helps with cooking? You people sha!

  2. Wendy

    August 24, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Okay so I have questions….Please tell me why is your family on vacation without you? Why do Nigerian men do this? Would you ever be able to take the kids away for over a week by yourself? Just another way to shirk your responsibilities and have the woman carry the burden of caring for the kids all by herself… even on a supposed vacation. Physiologically, women are not even as strong as men, yet they pile on so much.
    So yeah like @Dust said, keep your accolades and just DO better. Why be a half decent man who acknowledges the plight of his wife but does nothing about it?
    p.s. While I may be in troll mode, I’m not actually castigating you or being harsh. It’s just an inconvenient truth.

    • Mrs chidukane

      August 24, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      I went away on vacation with my kids without my husband. He couldn’t get away because of work and I needed a break from the dreary weather and couldn’t wait abeg. We had fun and it wasn’t stressful like that. You don’t know why he couldn’t go , its unfair really to just jump to such conclusions.

    • Californiabawlar

      August 24, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      I understand you, and trust me it crossed my man. But I know several men who do this regularly. They’re NEVER able to get time off work. But somehow the woman who also has a career manages to put the children’s welfare first and arrange a getaway. To add insult upon injury they’ll be planning to largesse at home cos their (oh so burdensome) family has gone away… only to find out they miss their wives wiping their bum.

    • Mrs chidukane

      August 24, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      Hahahahahaha @ wife wiping bum. I really pity such wives. There’s nothing as good as a supportive spouse. As for the men,they’re the ones missing memories that money can’t buy. Its their funeral.

    • OBEKE

      August 24, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      @Mrs Chidukane………This your every comment husband must be ALIKO DANGOTE….

    • Loool

      August 24, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      Hahaha! Let me perch here and wait for the clapback.

  3. Joy E. Ojo

    August 24, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Nice write up. Thanks for acknowledging women and their various activities. Its good for men to experience theses things once a while, so they know its not that easy. My husband recently bought me a fitness band, he set my target to 8000 daily, but found out that I normally exceed 10,000. I do not need a gym to keep fit, the house is just enough for me. God bless women.

  4. Aybee

    August 24, 2018 at 11:57 am

    The role of women cannot be overemphasized. I noticed the decline following your days of being alone. Women should learn to not downplay themselves irrespective of what our African Society thinks.

  5. Dazel”s mum

    August 24, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    It is only career women that multitask?
    You did not have to qualify your accolades or restrict it to just career women. Even stay at home mums, home makers or housewives as we say in Nigerian parlance equally multitask all day.

    • Voiceful

      August 24, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      The writer has chosen who he wants to give his accolades, and you are angry? Haba! Write your own article too na and give accolades to everyone you want. Dazzall. Cut the guy some slack.

      It would shock people to realize that it actually takes a lot for a man to write this about his woman and others. The average Nigerian man (to whom many ladies are married or dating) would not!

  6. Californiabawlar

    August 24, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Hmm! I was already miffed at your family being away without you and just damn well stopped reading at pots and pans management! I’m actually surprised other readers also saw through the fluff. I for no comment before I get tagged angry bitter feminist (per usual) but sometimes I just wonder if it’s too much to ask for people to actually start putting in the work instead of making superheroes out of women?
    Anywhoozies, I think I have a personal vendetta here… my mums brother has this mentality and I’m always going at him for it. Even when he begrudgingly goes on vacation he’ll come back squeezing face… after hanging out with your own pikins dem? Hian!

  7. Engoz

    August 24, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Abeg o jare. I know all these kind praise go sweet una belle, lmao. Oga Afenfia, I don graduate te te from all this sweet mother I no go forget you for this suffer, bla bla. Who that one help? Make una join in the domestic workforce, abeg. Me I did not come to this world to be praised on suffering. The one my husband or I don’t wanna do, I outsource straight! Someone once mentioned men have outsourced stuff like literally building a house for their wives before marriage . Na me go come carry last doing minor stuff that I can pay someone to do? Because you want them to sing sweet mother for you? lmao Oga afenfia, sorry o. I like your articles though. Keep up the good work.

  8. Tayo

    August 24, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    My sincere intention is not to hurt anyone but encourage. I have a special gift focusing on improving self esteem and image. Home makers, house wives etc. I see all you do and God bless you. Been in your position so I get it. My unsolicited advice is this, make sure you are doing something else career or business wise. No matter how great, gentle, kind, smart you are, you will never be appreciated. I spoke to a lady the other day, her son was looking impeccable and she told me all she does with him; she trains him as though he is in daycare. But M ba her husband feels she does nothing after all it’s no big deal. My dear sisters, before you turn 50 and discover you are not appreciated, better shine your eye. I know a medical doctor whose house looked unkempt most of the time yet her husband adores her( not encouraging house looking unkempt) yet if a stay at home mum does the same, she will be crucified. Not being a stay at home mum helps you balance. Like I said, show people you can do more enough of being looked down upon. Abi do you need an extra pair of eyes to understand the fact that this article did not include your own appreciation. Don’t sit don o. Show them, you can be great and it is not too late for you before they stress you out.

  9. John

    August 24, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    See them , na marriage and man talk u go see them meanwhile the thread about the owerri women arrested is begging for comments.

    • akama

      August 24, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      You that came here to comment, what are you doing here?

  10. Tayo

    August 24, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Bella Niger. Publish my comment o. It’s the one about stay at home moms working or going into business. I have been in their position. No one thinks they are doing anything. They never get appreciated. Although they do lots. Therefore, it is better to work plus be a mom so you don’t run mad. Why should you do all that and not get appreciated.

  11. Babym

    August 24, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    Na waya o. How do u ppl know he does not help his wife with chores and what not?? Abi Una dey live with them for house?

    I have left the hubby and kids at home on some occasions for trips with just my girls. Hubby has also gone on holiday with the kids without me not because I was busy with work or anything I just wanted to be left alone and just chill out and nobody came to flog me for not traveling with the fam o. Na waya.

    • Wyatt

      August 25, 2018 at 6:54 am

      The angry feminist have hijacked the write up with assumptions, bias and accusations. It is fascinating to read some of the comments above.

  12. John

    August 25, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Lol when a beta male wants to simp to women aka male feminist.. not knowing in their bitter, frustrated souls that can never be satisfied, you are still scum regardless ???.

    The only thing that can satisfy those femtards (temporarily) is hearing the news that your marriage crashed from your wife version

  13. Uzee

    August 25, 2018 at 9:49 am

    I can see how an honest attempt to appreciate women for the many things they do that get taken for granted got stuck in ‘no man’s land’ between masculinity/hypermasculinity and feminism.

    But I think if we strip away all the grammar and over thinking here, a simple truth will appear: women are awesome! I would have called them ‘superheroes’ but someone already took that accolade to task so I will just repeat, women (working class or stay at home) are awesome.

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