Monday, January 30, 2006

The Life of a Woman

As I spend more time at home, I feel increasingly weighed down by thoughts of what lies ahead for me in life. Sure, I plan, hope and pray to have a fantastically-fulfilling career, with lots of opportunities to travel! A wonderful family life is also on my wish list and it is this that fills me with worry and (more than a little) dread.

All the women I know end up pulling double-duty i.e. working and taking care of their family and home. Even those married to the most progressive, new-age type of men! And as as much of a blessing as I know it is to have your own family, it always seems to be the same story:

I go to the office where I am on my feet/phone/desk all day long pushing along work that was due last week/fending off never-ending phone calls/putting out fires/firing back at the volley of emails being hurled at me (take your pick).

I leave the office when I can't take it anymore (typically anytime from 8pm). I battle through traffic to get home, where I work some more making dinner/checking homework/playing with the kids/giving baths/preparing clothes and lunch for the next day. By the time I am I ready to call it a night, I barely have enough energy to climb into bed.

And of course, this cycle repeats itself the very next day, and the next, and the next and the next.....

Being very used to mapping out my days solely according to my agenda, and even then, often not having enough hours in the day to accomplish most of what I need to get done, I feel that any chance of my succeeding at balancing a work and family life are totally doomed.

16 comments:

Everchange said...

That is sad. I've definitely noticed the "second shift" as well, and I finally just threw my hands up in the air and decided I won't do it. Maybe that's a little premature, I don't know, all I know is that it is bullshit for me to be working the same hours as my partner then coming home and cooking and cleaning (or organizing others to cook and clean) for him while he watches CNN and reads a book. That is why I believe in completely equal marriages. If I can't find someone that is committed to equality, then I won't marry. I'll just have tons of lovers! Okay seriously, I will marry, but I don't have to marry a nigerian. It's as simple as that. All men everywhere are patriachal, but a few are feminist. I shall find them.

Also, I'm thinking now that when I do 'settle' down, build (buy) a house, etc, I'll get one small enough for two adults to clean. And I will only marry someone that knows how to cook and happens to enjoy it.

Everchange said...

Also about children, I'm thinking that even if I don't marry (which is not my ideal life, but if it doesn't happen, you get on with your life), there are plenty of motherless children in Nigeria. I'll adopt a child and we'll have our own little family.

Pilgrimage to Self said...

Oh Ore, this topic requires a whole blog entry! You've set me off on one now.:-)

Ore said...

LMAO! Gracie Lou, I know exactly what you mean. I have also promised myself that my future partner has to be able to help me around the house. And just knowing how to do things is not enough! He MUST pitch in. I'm sure (I hope) there are some men out there who are aware that this sexist distribution of work that prevails in most Nigerian homes is NOT working for most women.

@Pilgrimage: Yes! :-) This is what our blogs are for.

yetunde said...

I could not help but reply to a line, "succeed at balancing a work & family life".....
I am a working wife and mother and boy, do i work long hours!!! The truth of it is, there really is no true balance....just managing! We working mothers are generally the world's greatest managers...we manage both worlds the very best way we can.
So,have no fear,if you are a woman, you most probably are a great Manager!!!

Ore said...

Thanks for the encouraging words, Yetunde! I sincerely hope that's true, but I think about how stretched you are and I wonder if I have the same dedication that you do. I think that I might be tempted to say "Oh, screw it!!" and just leave my husband to clean the house and feed the kids.

JJ said...

interesting read.

TRAE said...

i tilt my hat to the ladies. una dey try true true. hope you guys get your dream men. peace!

Anonymous said...

Ore, you can do it...just make sure you do a lot of family planning (i.e spacing yr kids 3-4yrs) and praying and involve as much help as you can i.e get a househelp if you are in Nigeria or if in the US like myself employ people to come in and help with cleaning, babysitting etc

you also have to make sure that you and your spouse talk and make decisions about these things before you start a family. it's doable with a lot of praying and planning.

uknaija said...

I appreciate your frankness...like Trae, I salute your strength

ngozi said...

nigerian men, stop saluting, and start helping and pitching in in the home.

Everchange said...

Ha ha ha! Took the words right out of my mouth. That's so true, though it's nice of the guys to acknowledge our frustration. But African men have made a profession (and tons of money) of hailing the po long-suffering african woman. It would be nice to see some action.

adefunke said...

Maybe its only me, I keep getting the impression that the average Nigerian man of marriagable age just wants to do it i.e. get married cos its expected of him to acquire job, car, house, wife in that order! Increasingly although they go about mouthing the required sentiments ( i am looking for a mature woman to share the rest of my life with) they really are not! They are actually looking for some creature who will pay atleast half of the bills, cook, clean, bring up children, look the other way when they stray (which they intend to do) and smile graciously at all the family events/office functions where he needs to put up a good front of a happy home!!! Hang on, what am I saying, going by what I keep hearing from women who have believed the hype and find themselves in a relationship such as I have described above, these are the characteristics of a mature African (not necessarily Nigerian) woman! did I mention I am seriously considering relocating to the US?

Everchange said...

Adefunke, is your blog up? because the link doesn't work.

Ore said...

I think that more people than we realise get married or want to get married because it is what is expected of them. Nigerian society just has this expectation that every woman of a certain age has marriage as her primary goal (and this is not necessarily the case).

I find that these narrow expectations of what women want and what marriage is all about carry into the marriage itself. And because Nigeria is such a patriarchal society, you have women being expected to act out the stereotypical roles of a wife, mother and general putter-up of bullshit from their men.

I think if a woman makes a truly informed choice that this is what she wants (I frankly don’t see how she can, unless she has been socialized beyond belief to accept this as her lot in life), no one has anything to say. But it should be up to each couple to talk about their roles and voice what they are comfortable with and what they aren’t.

adefunke said...

Yes my blog is up now, there was a problem with the link earlier :)