Shortly after the birth of our first child, my mother suggested that we get someone to help with the baby and house chores and in her magnanimity got us a young lady who she believed could fit into these assignments. She personally screened the lady and brought her over.
Alas, when the lady resumed, I couldn’t bring myself to allowing her handle my things.
My mother only hired house helps during my early years. By the time I was seven years old, she didn’t hire another after her horrendous experience with the last one, so I grew up learning to do my things all by myself. I learnt to do everything from house chores and cutting grasses to cleaning the cars and changing tyres. My case was peculiar being the firstborn child and obviously the ‘guinea pig’ with which child discipline was cultured by my parents. I had grown into this independent woman who wouldn’t be satisfied with anyone doing her things for her. Back in the day, I wouldn’t allow even my siblings wash my clothes even at a time when there was no washing machine. If they wash the clothes, I will most definitely re-wash them; even if it was a brisk re-wash.
When this new lady washed the plates for the first time, I washed every single one all over again so I told her not to bother doing the dishes again. And of course, she couldn’t touch my food or help with preparing anything in the kitchen. Laundry? Capital No. There was no way I was going to allow her touch my clothes or my baby’s. When the baby cried, all she could do was call out to me; I wasn’t comfortable with her carrying the baby either. I was either seeing germs accompanying her or just being plain paranoid. #shakingmyhead
However, I ‘loaned’ her to our family friend whenever she had a lot of house chores to do. I was the one who suggested to her to request that my house help come over to her place whenever she felt she needed her services.
My mum came visiting sometime later and she was shocked. “Lola, you are under-utilizing this girl”, she screamed when she observed that her only duty around our house was to sweep and mop the floors. Nothing more.
She gave me the lecture of my life about being able to ‘carry face’ sometimes (better said in Yoruba; “ki eyan ni amojunu”) and not be an utter perfectionist. And that most importantly for the sake of my health, I needed to learn to accept help. The situation didn’t change much after the lecture. I only increased the frequency of the cleaning of the compound and sweeping and mopping of the floors. 🙈
I have grown over the years though. O yes, I really have. Recently, my husband told me how glad he was to see that I had now approved that our daughter could now wash the dishes. She had been pestering me that she wanted to start doing the dishes but I didn’t allow her because I wasn’t going to be satisfied with her services.
Of course my husband too ‘enjoyed’ a fair share of my attitude. It was either that I was complaining about the style of plate washing or doubting if the clothes were thoroughly rinsed before he spinned them. Thank God my wahala was not potent enough to push him into becoming a man who left me to do my thing by myself since I was going to complain anyway. 😥
It took me a long way getting here. But I have learnt / still learning to accept help.
Mr man, allow your wife help you; that’s why she is in your life in the first place. You will save yourself a lot of time and exempt yourself from fruitless endeavors if only you would listen to your wife. You see, women, especially God-fearing women are blessed with very sensitive spirits. They can sense evil and danger from a far distance even at a time when every other person around can’t see any in sight.
Mrs woman, allow people around you help you. Don’t come and die under pressure to do everything by yourself. Some men say they never help their wives at home because she never asked. Even though I believe that a man doesn’t have to be asked for help by the wife before he does so, I am of the opinion that women should ask for help when they need it. “Honey, please help me cut these vegetables”, you say. Provide him with the knife and board and when he is done, you can ask him to kindly help you grate the okra while you turn the pound yam or semolina. Nothing spoil. He is only helping himself. So, help him to help himself by allowing him to help you. ☺
God places some people in our lives to help us. Let your destined helpers fulfill their purposes in your life.
On a final note, remember that you- man/woman, young/old, are not the all-sufficient One; God is. Stop trying so hard to help yourself because you will only almost always end up frustrated. Instead, rely on God for help in all areas of your life. God keeps in perfect peace those whose hearts are stayed / fixed on Him with childlike trust. When God helps a man, his case will be absolutely different and people will see that he is enjoying a special effect from someone whose power is more than that of any man.
Don’t be egoistic. You can’t be a know-it-all or have the ability to do-it-all. You need people to survive.
And most importantly, you need God to survive.
May God send you marvelous help this season!
– OMOSEBI Mary Omolola, PhD