Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What A Woman Can Do , A Man Can Do Too

I saw a post on one of the popular blogs today and it brought back some memories. 
My mum runs a restaurant and people attest to how much of a great cook she is. I didn’t even know her cooking was that good till I left home for boarding school. It felt like a huge conspiracy having to settle for the food served in the dining hall, you know like someone was trying to teach me to be grateful in a really tough way. I am not even going to get started on how stony the rice could be or how watery the beans and stew was. Visiting days meant seeing my mum and more importantly I get to redeem my taste bud from all the other torturous food I had had to endure.
I toyed with the idea I was probably a good cook too by mixing sardines/geisha with ground pepper to be taken with half boiled water garri. Those days were the real test I tell you.

My siblings and I are quite close in age so it meant chores were apportioned equally whenever we were at home. Washing plates was my least favourite thing and I guess my siblings’ too. I laugh now whenever I remember how much of a big deal we made over washing plates when I was much younger. One of us washed the plates, another rinsed while another drained the plates. You needed to have seen how everyone involved was expected to take each of those aspects really seriously. In fact we had a roster for it and it was strictly adhered too.

There were really no gender based chores as my younger brothers took equal parts in all we did. Preparation of food was however left to my mum and at very rare times, my sister. Nobody had any culinary expectation from me and I never tried. I guess I made up for that by being the best toilet cleaner in the house. My abhorrence for kitchen work trailed me into my university days and it took me getting broke over bland meals to retrace my steps.

Looking back now, I am sure I must have been an inferior wife ‘material’ if I were to be judged.

See, the average man just assumes his wife has to be ‘fertile’ (excuse my French), be a super cook, a great cleaner and definitely not a club hopper. Some women wouldn’t agree but most women get groomed to step into these shoes of societal expectation and no one wants to fall short.

These expectations were treated like that was the whole essence of a woman. I recall a male colleague of mine saying he doesn’t like staying on his own because there is no one to wait on him like his sisters did. He lamented about having to mop the floor of his own house and having to fix his ‘own’ meals.

I try not to be sucked into the gender bashing debate but hearing him talk struck a nerve.

Household chores need not be gender based. Couples are just supposed to enjoy peaceful co-dependence and existence. If I am shopping, my husband shouldn’t mind babysitting. I had a neighbor that backed his babies whenever they cried to pacify them while his wife cooked. Some very cultural people might have found it weird but there is nothing wrong with a man helping out too.

My cousin’s dad is always in charge of cooking whenever I visited. I change the light bulbs if I have to, I even wash my car if I have to.

Women are great jugglers but they get tired too. Let the ones in your lives know you appreciate them by doing your bit around the house.

However, let wisdom be your guide in all things. It makes no sense concentrating on your partner’s weak areas while ignoring all the other things they do right. If you feel your spouse needs to step up in some areas, communicate it nicely.

Have a great day.

Photo Credit: business.time.com

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