I spent the next couple of days wondering what next I was going to do. Even though Tunde had apologized that day, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue living like this. I was being relegated to the back ground in my own home. Tunde spent most of his time at work, he had also applied for his master’s degree, meaning that, soon, even lesser time would be spent with his family. I had realized that my life revolved around Tunde and that was why it seemed like I had no voice of my own in the marriage. We had been married for eight years and I didn’t think I wanted to continue living my life like this. Once in a while, I would listen to my thoughts and think to myself that I was being very selfish. I mean, here was a man struggling to provide for his family, and the only thing I could think of doing was rebel against his wish that I shouldn’t work. But on the other hand, I would remember those nights when Tunde would tell me about women in his field who were heading organizations and how I used to wish I was one of those women he was so proud of.
“It is decided” I said to myself.
I was going to apply for a master’s degree and do something with my life. I wasn’t going to continue sitting at home waiting on anybody. If I felt like I was being appreciated, it was a different matter entirely but I wasn’t. The only thing I got in return was bad temper due to his too much work load, late nights, getting shouted at when something wasn’t right, and the unnecessary things Tunde listed that I must do at home simply because he thought I was less busy, also being reminded times without number about how he worked hard to put food on our table. I had made up my mind, I was no longer going to be the understanding wife who would take anything that was forced down her throat.
At that moment, I remembered one of my mother’s friends who had been a full time housewife just like my mother. She had almost lost it, she had gotten bored after the children started school. The school bus would pick them (her children) up in the morning by 7:30 and drop them back at home by 5:00 in the evening. At first, she had enjoyed the quiet, but as time went on, she gradually lost it, she slid into all manner of vices; smoking heavily and drinking, until one day her husband found her unconscious, he, there and then, decided that things were going to change and that she was going to stop being a “stay at home mom”. She now lectures at a university, she had gone back to school to get a Master’s degree and from there, went on to get her PhD.
It is funny how people can be friends and yet be so unlike each other. My mother who was also an housewife, was very comfortable with it. She enjoyed being at home while we all went out to school or work. She would call being a housewife “her ministry” saying that she did not want to have to compete with her husband, but then my father was not Tunde, my father wasn’t the kind of man who reminded you of who paid the bills, my father was delicate, sensitive and managed his time well between his business and the family. We spent a lot of time together as a family, so one could see why she was very much against any woman working. The fact that I was also the first and last girl in the family didn’t help matters. I was pampered and taught that the place of a woman was in the home.
But then in this situation, the only thing I felt I could do right, there and then was to talk to my mother.
I put a call across to my mother in hopes that she was going to help me with some useful advice.
“Hello, Kome” she answered, “How are you?”
We talked and talked, and at the end the only advice she could give me was that a woman’s place was in the home and not in the business world.
“My daughter, forget about it, leave it to the men”, she had said.
Forget about what? My husband hardly gave me any form of attention unless he needed sex or food or something. He praised women who had achieved great success in their workplace, his boss was a woman, yet he would tell me not to work and that I should sit at home and watch the children (who mind you, go to school everyday and attend lessons on saturday), not minding if the nuts in my head came lose out of boredom. It was only a matter of time before he started finding those working class ladies attractive. Hell, if he wasn’t already.
But then, even as I had decided to get a master’s degree and pursue a career, would things not get rough between us? Wouldn’t he think I was trying to compete with him? There was only one way to find out and that was, asking him. I hoped he would understand, I needed this for my sanity, eight years and I had not done anything meaningful for myself.
I had to prepare for the worst as I was sure this was going to be a major issue….