On most days after spending the whole day doing house chores, I crash on the couch, fagged out and wishing I was born a starfish. As much I love the idea of cooking and cleaning as a normal daily routine, I detest the accompanying stress that comes with it.
Being domesticated as a lady is a prerequisite in most African homes. It is believed that you must learn to cook, clean, and manage a home so that you can do the same in your husband’s house and I do not object to that.
I am a young Nigerian, Yoruba babe, whose parents take pride in me being ‘homely’ and hardworking, but you see, this domestic life does not appeal to my destiny. My distaste for domestic activities started from my Junior Secondary School days. After school activities on weekdays, I always looked forward to relaxing weekends to play ball and watch movies.
But that hope was always dashed by the pile of laundry that needs to the done early Saturday morning, the cleaning and arranging that needs to be done especially in the living room (every Saturday was always considered ‘environmental’ in my house), the soup ingredients that need to be bought in the afternoon, the ironing of the laundry later in the evening… Eish!
It felt like the burden of the world rested on the young shoulders of this young girl and my name wasn’t even Merlin for God sake!
It didn’t help much that my siblings were still considered ‘young’ and couldn’t be entrusted with certain chores, lest they worsen the situation. For instance, I could have them assist with sweeping and not laundry because out of sheer innocence, they would mess everything up with water everywhere on the floor, wasted soap and not-so-properly done laundry.
So, that meant I had to do it again from the scratch, which meant wasted resources, lost time and double efforts.
I don’t like to call myself lazy, I am just selective in the kind of tasks I liked to execute, and if I had my way back then, I would have hired a house keeper to take the stress off me, while I bury my nose in a novel or watch seasonal movies.
My participation in house chores dwindled when my siblings attained the age they were fit to do their laundry themselves, easing my burden a little. So, everyone was apportioned their tasks every week.
This development opened the door to the business transactions that followed. I would sometimes offer my lunch so my brother could help me wash the dishes, or dash him my pocket money so he could help me sweep, among other things.
I know how it is important to keep a clean house and cook, but I don’t want to be the one that does those things.
Cooking, for instance, stresses me a great deal. It starts with thinking of what to eat. That could take so many deliberations that could go on for minutes because I am a picky eater with a dangerous level of spicy.
The next challenge is going to the market to procure ingredients. I see the market as a warzone with brutal soldiers walking around; the noise, muddy ground on rainy days, market fights, traversing different stalls to get what you want, not to talk of the heat of the sun when it’s past midday, that life is not just for me.
Then, I bring the ingredients home, head to the kitchen and start preparing the food – washing meat/fish, shredding vegetables, washing kitchen utensils before using, being exposed to the heat and all. Just. Kill. Me!
For someone who doesn’t like standing for too long, the idea of slaving in the kitchen for over an hour cooking a food that will take me less than three minutes to eat when I could just order that same meal in three minutes, is burdensome for me. In most cases, I become satiated with the aroma of the food while cooking that I hardly even eat the food I cooked when it’s done.
Then, there is the cleaning up afterwards.
So, yes, I am a proud African, Nigerian, Ekiti-an, but I frigging hate the domestic life.
I am more concerned with making money and buying off the daily stress while saving precious time that I could use to write an article, read a book, attend an important workshop, or more importantly, daydream about carrying Wentworth Miller’s baby.
I wouldn’t have time to do these important things if I was scrubbing the rug in the living room, would I?
You see the point now? I have seen it since 2003.
This totally relatable episode was written by Nigerian writer and comic actor, Fasusi Ayobami Folakemi. She’s definitely one of the most amazing Stars in this Galaxy. She wrote the It’s MY hair, on MY head rant on Gelax Chatroom.
This is the fifth episode of the “I’m African but…” blog chain series that has so far featured people from four African countries.
You too can also be a part of this.
All you have to do is, creatively write on anything you are expected to know how to do or be as an African but you can’t do, don’t like to do or you simply are not. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com, and we will share on our platforms and yours, of course.