Harnessing Our Strength As Women
In Africa, women are expected to play their roles behind the scene. Roles that include ensuring that the home is clean, meals are prepared, little ones are taken care of, laundry is sorted and so on.
These roles rarely vary among daughters and wives except for the marital duty the wife owes her husband and the daughter who has to attend to her education which some wives also do. Let's note that in the typical rural setting, the girl-child may not have the opportunity to attend school instead she probably goes to the farm or any other duty assigned by her parents.
To get all these done, the woman is usually first to wake up and last to go to bed. She works from dawn to dusk hoping to have some minutes to spare just to put her feet up. She shuffles to do the chores, take care of the children and attend to her husband. All of these she does while trying to maintain her sanity, sometimes forgetting to take care of herself.
If she has a husband who feels a woman's place is in the kitchen and the bedroom, then she is sure he will never raise a finger to help. Instead he puts his feet up reading a newspaper, watching the TV, browsing through his phone or even chatting with a friend or two while chilling with a cool drink.
When a child expresses himself or herself by crying due to a mischief from another child, hunger pangs or the need for an item that is beyond his reach or for some reason that one can't wrap his fingers around; some husbands rather than raise a helping hand, either ignores the cry until the woman hears and rushes to attend to the need of that child or simply calls for her to hasten up.
Though women are fashioned to be nurturers but should this be done at their detriment?
Kudos to the great brothers, husbands and fathers who are always there playing their roles in assisting women in their lives and ensuring that the duty of keeping the home front smooth does not become a back-breaking task for these women. You are the best. Please keep it up. And for those who do otherwise, it's not too late to start helping out. It will surely come as a surprise but on the positive side, a right-thinking woman will appreciate you more for these gestures.
How can women in whatever situation they find themselves improve their lifestyles? How can they harness their strength to better our lot?
First, time management. Truth be told, there is always something to be done in the home but there is the need to learn how to manage time. There is the need to set out time in between getting everything done for rest - a sort of me time.
Prioritize - know the time each duty takes to be done and work out a time to rest. This will definitely not be easy especially if the woman has to go to work or do school runs in between managing the home. If there is need to work a time-table, please do. This is for good at the long run.
Secondly, division of labour: If there are younger siblings or children in the home, they should be assigned to roles. This eases the stress. Children should learn to pick up after themselves. For example, when they play with toys, let them know that they have to return them to the toy box or toy corner or wherever it is the toys are kept when they are done. In doing this, you don't have to pick up after them and that is minus one job to be done.
As children grow, they need to learn simple tasks like cleaning up after themselves, laying the bed in the morning, flushing the toilet. This might seem like small tasks but imagine been stressed up already and still having a lot to be one then you have to leave whatever it is you are doing just to attend to that. They need to learn to set the table and cleanup when the meal is over. Overtime they need to learn to clean the home. Sometimes a measure of firmness is needed to get these done but it's all for good.
We can use this strength we have to achieve great things. Now, when time is being properly managed, one can get around to other things; not vain things but positive things like getting to read those books that have been on the bookshelf since they've being bought but have never being read, achieving that goal that has been set for a longtime, writing that proposal for the business idea you want to go into and so on.
All these can be achieved. Gone are the days when women were relegated to the background. Now, women are achieving feats that were previously thought impossible. Can you dare to be that woman? Can you dare to be a role model for your children and the upcoming generations? Can you dare to leave your footprint on the sands of time?
My answer is YES! I can be that woman.
Kudos to all women especially those who are saddled with so many responsibilities and are not appreciated enough, I salute you. You are awesome, you are great and you are beautiful inside out. Keep being the strong woman who you've always been.