First things first, I apologize. Going silent on you without prior notice is unacceptably wrong, I know better than that. I do not take you for granted. It was due to circumstances definitely beyond my control. First my instrument of writing packed up without warning, and after that, (for a particularly wonderful reason) physical strength and mental clarity deserted me. I’m not fully back yet 😉 , but I won’t go silent for a prolonged period again any time soon. Thanks for understanding.
In today’s world where “what a man can do, a woman can do better”, a lot of marriages are suffering greatly and are gradually disintegrating due to misplaced priorities by the parties involved in the union. The man goes off being a man or simply trying to prove he is a man, and the woman goes off trying to outdo the man just because well, she’s got all it takes to do it! God’s precious institution is left uncatered in this process of each party trying to prove his/her individuality and as if that’s not enough, many a innocent child -God’s heritage- is paying heavily for this ignorance of his parents.
Of a truth, the world is a far better place now that it has realized what valuable and productive being the woman is and has given her a voice and a choice, education and liberation. Countries where the women freely work outside the home have a higher per capita income and the standard of living is better than that of countries where the women don’t. But should we throw away our homes for the sake of success in the work place? Should we for the sake of money, a career or recognition allow the home front suffer deterioration and family life go extinct? Sèbí ilé l’ábò sinmi oko – east or west, home is best.
Today I challenge you to set your priorities right and put first things first! You have to make your family a priority, and place it on a high pedestal. You should value your marriage above fame, money and career. You should decide in your heart of hearts that your relationship with your husband is more important than any other relationship you have in your life, and regard it as such. You must begin to consider motherhood as exactly what it is: a calling, and hold it in high esteem. It won’t always be easy; you may have to make huge sacrifices along the way. You may not always be glad to do what pleases your husband…nights you are so tired and yet Mr wants semo and draw soup, or mornings you’d rather remain in bed but little hands tug because it’s time for breakfast…hey, what were you expecting when you were planning that N10m wedding ceremony years ago? (I’ve asked myself this question many times) Welcome to reality.
In September 2009, I met a young woman who blew my mind. Bolutife graduated top of her class and had a job with a prestigious commercial bank. From all indications, it wouldn’t take her long to climb to the top in her career path. I envied her brains and confidence. One Tuesday afternoon, I met her at the library where I went to study. Of course she should be at work! As if she read my mind, she smiled and announced “I resigned this morning!” I grabbed a seat quickly. I must talk her out of this madness, I promised myself.
“Are you sure about this?” I asked cautiously. Her wedding was in two months, she sure needs the pay.
“Of course.” Her constant smile was beginning to annoy me. In the Nigeria of today? Who leaves a good paying job? Death should be one’s only excuse! I braced myself for the most convincing argument of my life. I have to save her from herself.
She must have read my mind again. “Funmi, do you have some time?”
“Yes.” I was ecstatic! Here’s my chance to make an impact on someone’s life forever.
She spoke with me passionately for the next 30 minutes. Here’s the summary: Bolutife’s mother was exceptionally brilliant! She was in the banking industry all of her working years and she earned herself good money and a lot of respect from her contemporaries. She travelled far and wide, understood foreign cultures and even enjoyed their cuisines. Well, one day she woke up and her life as a career woman was over; she was 60. Two of her four children were married and she doesn’t remember how the events went. Of course she gave them money as they planned the weddings. She has 3 grandchildren but she’s never bathed anyone of them once. Of course she sent many gifts when they were born. She vaguely remembers her last child running into the arms of the housemaid on the few occasions he was still awake when she returned from work. The whole family was usually still asleep when she left in the mornings.
“We learned to live without her,” Bolutife continued “and we managed alright. Between dad and the various house helps we had over the years, life was normal. Now she has time on her hands, but she’s a stranger. We love her, but we don’t know her. The other day I stumbled on her prayer journal and all she wrote everyday is in the line of Lord help my children to forgive me…help them to know that I love them. I know she loves me and I’m not angry with her, we just don’t have a relationship.” Bolu took a deep breath. “I don’t want that to happen to me. I will start a business of my own so I can control my time, or I will work for the government.” She looked into my eyes with a straight face, daring me to argue. My earlier mental notes on convincing her to return to her job flew out of my head.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not say a woman should not pursue a career or try to achieve great things outside home. I only say to prioritise and put family first. You have achieved nothing if its cost is that your marriage drowns and your children go bunkers.
So to Keep Love Flaming Hot: Put family first. Nothing can give you more joy or satisfaction.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
With a peep into the next 2 decades
And fresh cherries
Here’s to you, Bolutife (real name withheld). You are beautiful and strong, audacious and unapologetic. But above all, you have the wisdom of the aged… just the kind of woman I want to be.