Society keeps evolving and along with it, the dynamics of the man-woman relationship – or perhaps, the dynamics of relationships evolve, and with it, society. In times past in our patriarchal African society, performing all the domestic chores alone used to be a thing of pride for women; it showed their strength. It was the true show of dignity and the hallmark of a good wife; but the scales are definitely shifting now.
Don’t get me wrong, although a few men are quite domesticated and pitch in considerably on the home front, most men still don’t lift a finger. The scales are shifting for the women folk. While they still do most of the chores around the home, it is no longer a question of pride to do it all alone. What has pride to do with slaving away all day, every day?
A lot of time and energy goes into getting chores done in the typical Africa household, especially since most are conducted without the aid of equipment. In an economy that now requires women to financially contribute their quota to the running of the home, doing all the chores alone takes a considerable chunk of the productive time she needs to run her business. Ultimately, her consistent productive time loss affects her income. Take a minute to imagine the possible ripple effect.
To this kind of modern woman, there is nothing more appealing than a man who can offer a helping hand in his home, without feeling his manliness or ego is being challenged. I think something so inconsequential as chores should have no bearing on who a man is or how he feels.
I get stunned when women who are supposed to be well-rested over the weekend complain of exhaustion. They then go on to list the endless chores they did that consumed all their weekend. After empathizing, I always had to ask: Was your husband not home? If no, then do what you can. If yes, what was he doing while you were doing all those chores?
Then follows a tirade of infuriating answers: he was watching football, he was sleeping, he was playing games or watching movies. At that point, I’m usually unable to support these women because, for the life of me, I can’t understand why someone would have a husband and not be able to ask him to help. No, I’m not in over my head. Yes, this is Nigeria, a country with interesting cultures; that does not mean hubby should not help.
For instance, after you have both slept in on Saturday morning, why not ask him to help get rid of the cobwebs while you get breakfast started. After he is done and you have swept, why can’t you then ask that he helps dust furniture and arrange items in the living room while you finish up cooking.
After you have served, eaten, and cleaned the dishes, why not ask hubby to help load the washing machine while you mop the floors and wash the bathrooms? Those little chores I have highlighted in this instance don’t require female touch for execution, do they?
A reasonable man will realize that you still end up doing the heavy lifting when compared to those you asked his help with; so why not ask? At the end of the day, it is more of a question of approach.