I was going through my Facebook timeline and stumbled upon a post advising men to participate in house chores and not leaving them for their wives in 2020. And as usual, the comment section was on fire with heated arguments.
But one comment from a particular guy struck me. He said once he gets married, he’s going to stop doing all house chores and leave them for his wife. In his own words he stated, “That’s her role as a wife”.
But I wasn’t surprised or shocked, in fact it was expected. That’s just one guy but most of us are culprits of this. When we see a young man living life alone and unkempt, we ask them to quickly get married because once a woman comes into their lives, she will take over the cleaning and make them look smarter.
Recently when I was reading “A man of the people” by Chinua Achebe, one character, Chief Nanga’s wife had traveled to the village and he was looking for a cook to take care of the household in her absence. Then he got a male cook who came for the interview and said he didn’t know how to cook local dishes but he knew how to cook a range of foreign dishes which he mentioned. When chief asked if he didn’t eat local dishes at home, he said that he eats all of that and that was a woman’s job so his wife provides him with all the local dishes while he goes out to cook the exotic dishes for his bosses. He said: “How man wey get family begin enter kitchen make bitterleaf and egusi? Unless if the man no get shame”. He didn’t get the job but that part of the book stuck with me. When I saw the comment of the young man insisting that a man’s place wasn’t in the kitchen, I was a little worried that, with all the talking of learning and unlearning some of our ways and looking at moving our society forward. And especially in this day and age where people are paid for cooking different African cuisines and doing other house work, any parent that refuses to teach sons how to cook and clean because they are men have done them a great disservice. Ultimately, teaching them how to cook and do house chores is important for them to survive on their own no matter where they find themselves.
Cooking and cleaning is an essential life skill that every tom, dick and harry must learn.
The kitchen is the place for anyone who wants to eat food. And everyone must learn this life skill and other skills that make life easy and comfortable.
The Akan proverb that says it is cheaper to get a wife than to own a slave proves true day after day. Our men have no problem cooking and doing house work to get paid, but they see it as something beneath them to cook for their families at home. There is no shame in cooking or doing any house work for your wife and children. Just like you expect it from her to provide you with food and clean after you, there is no shame in doing same for her as a spouse.
My mum always says earning money in a relationship is important because one hand alone cannot clap. But I believe that is same of the duties that come into keeping a household. One person cannot continue cleaning when there are two people living in the space. Coming together to run your household is a sign of respect for each other. If you think house chores are beneath you as a man, then you are totally wrong. There are various reasons we marry. Marriage is for companionship, partnership, love, respect among others. If you think by getting married, you are getting someone to take care of your mess, then you should probably know you didn’t marry a wife.
I know this topic has gone and come over time but I believe parents have a key role to play in making sure the next generation of young boys raised do not grow up thinking house chores are preserve of women.
Housechores isn’t the exclusive of a woman and any man who learns how to clean isn’t doing anyone a favor. He is doing himself a great favor because he gets to keep his surroundings so clean without having to wait for another human being to do that for him. Cleanliness they say is next to godliness. Do you wait for someone else to pray for you? Why do you want someone to come and clean after you by virtue of your gender?
Let us do better in 2020, treat your spouses with the same respect you expect them to treat you. Let’s have an attitudinal change towards this.
Happy New Year to you.