If you are a housewife, then you already understand the title of this article. Growing up in a crowded neighbourhood , I’ve seen housewives go about their daily duties from taking care of the kids to cleaning to cooking to washing to tidying to shopping for the family’s needs, and so on but still have people asking them what job they do. I remember someone asking my best friend’s mum what she gained from being a housewife. It caused a big quarrel back then because my best friend’s mum did not find it funny that someone didn’t see any importance to her job. Fast-forward to a few months back, someone asked me what I bring to my family’s table apart from being a housewife and I was like “really? “ being a housewife is “not bringing anything to the table? “ it made me really sad to think that in Nigeria, being a housewife is seen as being idle and lazy.
Who is a housewife?
A housewife is a married woman whose only occupation is to take care of her home. Now, when I say take care of the home, it is not as easy as you think. The home and everything about it is more than just cleaning and doing laundry. Let me enlighten you on the duties of a housewife. I am going to try and break it down as much as possible so everyone understands.
A housewife never allows the toilet and bathroom to be dirty. She sweeps, makes the bed, mops the floors, cleans the windows, removes cobwebs. She keeps the kitchen and the rooms clean , let’s say, they live in a 3 bedroom apartment, she does all these to all the rooms including the living room .
Note that cleaning and tidying are two different things. If you are in doubt, call a cleaning company and ask them to clean your house, they will surely ask if it involves tidying, once you answer in the affirmative, trust me, they will charge you more. Now a housewife makes sure everywhere is tidy by picking objects or things lying around and putting them in their place, washed clothes lying around are hung or folded and put in their place. Toys that have been used by the kids are put away, sometimes as she is trying to tidy, the baby will be making messes all over again from behind.
This includes plates, clothes, bed sheets, towels, baby clothes (these are done separately), then curtains. Some women are opportune to have washing machines but majority of Nigerian housewives wash with their hands. If she lives on the fourth floor of the building she will have to go downstairs to spread the washed clothes.
A housewife shops for the family, sometimes with the baby tied firmly on her back, she would carry ; carton of Indomie noodles on her head, food stuff on her right hand and provisions on the left.
Of course the housewife makes breakfast, lunch and dinner for the family. She comes up with ideas of what to cook for the family every single day which can be really difficult I remember how my used to call a house meeting just to tell us to contribute and give her ideas of what to cook because she is tired.
This may sound strange but the housewife economises and makes sure that things are not wasted in the house, from money to food to everything. She uses her scale of preference to make sure that the family’s pressing needs are met first before frivolities.
When a housewife is also a nursing mother, things could get really challenging as she might end up not having a good nights sleep because the baby keeps waking up in the night to feed. When I had my baby, she would wake up 2 to 3 times every night to feed. Sometimes she just starts crying for no reason and won’t stop. Then all of a sudden she is quiet and I’m like, “okay, time to sleep” and poof! I check the time and it’s 6am. I end up not sleeping at all. Apart from nursing a baby, the housewife takes care of the members of the family When they are sick. She tries her best to nurse them back to health.
Bathing the kids and feeding them; feeding a toddler can drive you crazy especially if they are fussy or picky eaters. You might spend over one hour trying to get them to eat. Taking the kids to school, going back again to pick them up from school, assisting with homework, getting the kids to stay quiet , separating fights Waking up as early as 5am to get the kids ready for school…and the list goes on and on and she still manages to look good.
A housewife does all these without; any break time, starting or closing time, salary. Sometimes, no simple thank you. Despite all these, she is not expected to say “I’m tired “ when her husband wants to get intimate in the night, else she will asked what she has been doing all day that will make her tired.
On a more serious note, housewives are underrated and undervalued in the society, maybe because of the term “housewife” how about we change this to HOME MAKER or HOME BUILDER after all, without them, we won’t have any reason to say “home, sweet home”.