Stories abound on how challenging it is for women to effectively combine their roles in the market place and in the home. One is often saddled with how daunting this is especially in developing Nations of the world that are still burdened with patriarchy and its associated burdens. In Nigeria the case is not exactly different as more women are readily giving up their passion in the market place to ensure that they do not wear themselves thin in juggling these roles. The good news is that women are beginning to have winning conversations about these issues, and even more women are daily ditching the once sanctimonious attitude that sought to question the choices of those that have tenaciously held on to both worlds.
Listening to women lead conversations at a Leadership Series convened by my mentor, Udo Okonjo last Saturday in Abuja, Nigeria, I was quite excited at the quality of conversation that came forth. Women drawn from of all ages, came together to have a frank talk on leadership and political participation in the public sector. The thrust of the discussion was to discover how women can be further equipped and prepared to take up positions and play actively in the public sector. As with most women gathering, the bulk of the conversation quickly shifted to how women can balance their roles as mothers and as leaders in the market place. We were regaled with stories by a much older headliner on how she had to cope with the demands of motherhood whilst working and schooling. Now this may seem like an easy task but as a mother to an amazing young man and a super creative young lady, I can assure you that this is not a walk-in-the-park. The good news is that there are proven ways to making informed choices that can help you be the best version of you at all fronts.
While schooling in the United Kingdom in 2014, I got to learn from an observatory angle how most Nigerian mothers manage to balance roles and exceed targets. In my early weeks in Coventry, I was hosted by an amazing couple that had three young boys aged ten to four. The first thing I observed was the all-hands-on-deck culture. The boys knew what to do once they got up in the morning. Breakfast which largely consist of cereal, hot chocolate, fresh juice and milk, was taken care of by the boys. The eldest ensured that the youngest child was taken care of. Now, this might sound quite like an unthinkable thing to do to the average mother back home in Nigeria who most likely has several care-givers at her disposal, thanks to the non-conformity to a minimum wage system. As much as it sounds like the latter has it quite easy, it is also worthy of note that delegation of roles to even the care-giver is often sparse due to several factors like distrust and the somewhat warped idea that the mother must be involved in everything.
My suggestion to women who are struggling to create a perfect balance in expectations in the home and in the market place is to just breathe and take it easy. It is okay to delegate duties. It is okay to trust your child to do it well. It is okay to trust the care-giver. It is okay for the child to spill the cup of hot chocolate everywhere while preparing it. It is okay to take a break and just lie down and rest. It is okay to just loosen up and make mistakes. Parenting is a journey that each new day can bring forth experiences that can prepare you for tomorrow. When these factors are considered and embraced, you will find that your productivity at work increases. You become even more friendly and happy and you will definitely find yourself snapping less at your colleagues. Why should you believe my words? It is quite simple. I am on a similar journey and I can assure you that most of the ideas proffered here are daily cultivated by me and it has made all the difference.
About Blossom Ozurumba:
Blossom is a writer, compère and public servant. She co-founded, Digital Media Development Initiative, a non-profit that contributes to sustainable development of Nigeria’s individuals and organizations through the innovative use of Digital Media. She has increasingly become known as a gender equity advocate with her core messaging that demands non-compromise in valuing competence, capacity and character. She currently works as the Technical Assistant, New Media to the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu. To relax, she plays golf, dabbles with candid photography and reads African Literature. She hopes to write a book one day while sharpening her writing skills on her blog, www.blossomozurumba.com.