As the number of working women continues to rise in the face of economic difficulty, many married women tell the difficulties of coping with work and caring for their homes.
Madam Ebere David (not real name) left her home in Lugbe, Abuja for work early this year. She had finished her household chores and put the home in order or so she thought. In a rush to get early to work she mistakenly left the gas cylinder on while a port of food was still on top. By the time neighbours broke into the house, they could salvage just few of her family’s personal effects.
Few kilometers from this scene in Lugbe, another working woman nearly lost her child to a kidnapping ring connected by her housemaid. The woman had left the child in care of the maid on that fateful Saturday to rush to office for an urgent work.
But the maid connived with a taxi driver who- normally attends to the family- to take the child away after her holidaying mother went to take her bathe. The maid, who is barely two days with the family, was later understood to have been planted by the taxi driver to wreak havoc in the family. The child, who attends a crèche, was miraculously rescued and returned to the family by the police through cell phone tracking.
The above scenarios illustrate that indeed all married women are engaged in serious conflicting work both at home and off it. Unlike paid employment, the work at home entails maintaining the home, laundry, cooking, nurturing and guiding the children.
However wives who work in paid employments outside the home face additional tasks and duties that are exhausting as well. This has consistently stirred for them questions about the difficulties in juggling both ends in order of priority.
But the work suffers for working mothers each day as they must dress up their children for school, do school runs later in the day and when their kids fall sick.
Hajiya Amina Lukman opines that leaving the home front solely in the hands of maids or assistants have come with a heavy price for some women. Some who register their kids in crèches cannot guarantee the quality of attention their kids receive.
“I don’t support mothercare/babycare centres because they do not understand your child very well. I don’t trust house helps either. So it is better women take their little children to the office. Looked deeper, this is why many husbands prefer that their wives manage their own business as against paid employment,” she said.
She further pleads for the establishment of crèche where children can stay and be attended to by their mothers in between working period in every office. She said the absence of this has continued to reduce the productivity in young nursing mothers.
Justina Haruna, who works in the media joins her voice in the call for crèche close to offices.
She said, “It is a challenge if you are working in a place you don’t have access to your child. You will definitely not concentrate as high as you will be. I think it is a big challenge except organisations are mandated to have a crèche where young working mothers can always keep their children. Once you know your child is in a place you can easily see and attend to him or her once in awhile in fact you wouldn’t mind working till night because your full attention will be there.”
The increasing cases of baby abductions across the society have added the burden on young working mothers who now have to be more careful with their kids, especially where the office has no crèche.
For Mr Sunday Eboide, a photographer, his wife has managed to overcome the difficulties inherent in both conflicting ends- managing the home and the work place. He said the secret lay in his establishing a small boutique near their home along Airport road, Abuja. He said with this development his wife now manages the home, does school runs for the kids and still earns income for the family.
For Andrew Goubadia, a civil servant, he said it’s not difficult for a woman to care for her home and work in paid employment because women are prepared to combine so many things at the same time.
“I think it is very wrong for the family to employ maids simply because the woman is working outside the home. It means the children will be left at the mercy of the maid. It is not very good for the moral upbringing of the children. That is why we have cases of nannies molesting children,” he said.
Asanna Jibril said she crisscrosses different gamut of errands each day with comprising her status as a career woman, wife and mother.
“I drop my children at school. My children finish school by 2 p.m. They stay somewhere until I pick them. I then commence house work also,” she said.
Experts think the working mother’s tasks will be reduced if the husband cooperates with her. They believe sharing of roles can help reduce the burden. For instance the man may decide to pick up the kids from school. He may also decide to assist in laundary some weekends.
According to Mary Moss, a home management expert, couples should spend quality time together to complete seriously tasks.
Whichever way it is looked at, the world of working mothers is very tasking and demanding. But the ability to juggle both worlds also goes a long way in making the best of them.