Thursday, August 27, 2015

5 THINGS MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME ABOUT BEING A MOTHER AND WIFE

I read an update on an on-going political scandal in Nigeria on Monday and I was so sad. In the midst of the scandal is this "husband snatching" allegation against one of the players. I happen to know the husband and wife in the story.

The husband that is being snatched, I would say, is one of my mentors when I started by career. He picked an interest in me when I first joined banking. I was to write a story about him for our house magazine. So, I got to spend time interviewing him. I turned out to be the one interviewed.

It was he who bought for me my first wealth creation books - Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Richest Man in Babylon. I still have the books, with his signature inscribed and his note telling me that his prays that my children would call me Rich Mum. It was he who followed up on me and made sure I read them and began to tailor my life towards a better financial future.

It was he who took out a weekend to take me round Ajah, VGC, Lekki Phase 1 in the early 2000s to show me how he managed to build wealth on a banker's salary. He took me to the site of his first house and told me how he built it and how much he spent. He told me how he sold the house and invested the money in stocks and bonds in the United States. He showed me his other properties in VGC, explaining how he got each. Then, he showed me plots in Lekki Phase 1 and how he got each. He was at the time raising money to develop one of them.

That journey opened my eyes to what was possible. He kept encouraging me not to blow my money on frivolities like vacations abroad, jewelry, clothes, and socials. But to invest in assets that grow over time.

It was he who advised me not to rush into buying a car and to make sure I always lived below my means. He insisted that if I ever took a loan, it should be towards buying a real asset. He was living in a rented duplex in Ikoyi. He explained how the rental income from his properties could afford him a place in Ikoyi, close to his work place, affording him an improved quality of life.

He was a "big boy" by every standard, yet you wouldn't catch him dead with a designer wear of any kind. If it hadn't been for his official car, one would not know he was one of the top managers in the bank.

 One day, he invited me to pick up a book he had promised to buy me from his house. Apparently, he had to use Amazon to buy the book and ship it to Nigeria. It wasn't the time of Mastercard and Visa in Nigeria. We only had Valucard back then and it was a Naira card. I left his house in shock. Total shock!

 First, the first thing that hit me was stench. A strong stench of urine as I walked into the living room. The place was in disarray as they had four little girls. Two were twins. One was disabled. The disabled child was not properly minded. She sat anywhere and urinated on herself and from what I saw, nobody really cared if she was cleaned proper or not. The other children looked so untidy. The twins came to greet me and I carried them, they were both smelling of urine. Like they hadn't been bathed and they still wet their bed. They were about 3-4 years.

When he came down, he took me to his home office at the back of the house and gave me the book, Think Like A Tycoon. As I was leaving, I overheard a woman, yelling at someone. Perhaps a driver, I don't know. But, she was screaming at the top of her voice. From what she was saying, I deduced she was the madam of the house. Later, I found out that that was the wife's 'normal' voice. That she yelled that way to even her husband, in the presence of their staff.

This is a man, known in the workplace as a devote husband. A disciplined person who wasn't a skirt chaser. I haven't had close contact with him since 2008. Only an email, once in a while.

 Fast forward to 2011, I read he filed for divorce from his wife and the divorce was granted in 2012. And in 2015, he is the husband that is being "snatched" in a news report.

Now, I have not heard from any party in this marriage. He never discussed his wife with me. I have never had a conversation with his wife, apart from greeting her at an office party. I am not siding anybody on this matter. But, this I can say for sure. As I was taught by my mother:


 1. Men don't like coming home to an untidy house. Always make your home clean and well arranged and use room fragrance to make your home a pleasant place to stay in.

 2. Men don't like seeing their children unkempt. Teach your children how to stay clean. Make them take baths when they come home from playing outside. Braid your daughters hair and make them look cute.

 3. Men don't like untidy wives. Don't let taking care of children make you forget yourself. Don't go round the house smelling like your baby lotion and baby oil. If breastmilk spills on your blouse, change it. Because after some time, it smells bad. Don't let the baby pee on you, if it happens, clean it up real good. Make sure you retain your distinct feminine scent.

 4. Always make sure there is food in your house. Well cooked, tasty food. Don't let your husband or children go hungry. No matter what happens, always have something they can eat at home. Take care of your children's nutrition. Don't let them eat outside the house.

5. Men don't like being disrespected by their wives. Do not raise your voice on your husband, especially, in the presence of 3rd parties. If you are upset with him, do it in private where nobody can hear or see you. Now, there is a supposed feminist movement circling around the Nigerian internet that questions why women must play their traditional roles in their homes. I often see women online celebrating their inability or unwillingness to cook. I find this trend bizarre. But, this is what I wish to advise - from the bottom of my heart.

Please, sister, take these 5 advise above seriously. I am not saying "carry being a good wife on your head" that you don't even enjoy your life. No. I am saying note these things and work on them. Over time, they become your nature. If you can't cook. Pick an interest in cooking. It is far far cheaper to cook your own food at home.

I heard 3 litres of soup is sold at N6,000. N6,000 can go a long way if you cook at home. You can control the kind of chemicals, packaged as spices, that are put in your food. It is more nutritious to cook your own food. You can make sure you use fresh vegetables, meat, etc. Your children will be healthier and happier if their mother cooks for them.

 Cooking is not as difficult or stressful as some people may want you to believe. It can be fun. You don't have to become a chef in one day. Start from little things and gradually learn. Read up on the internet - tips, recipes, how to treat certain condiments. Practice makes perfect.

 It is not slavery to serve your family. It is an honour and privilege. Keep your home clean. Let your floors and surfaces be cleaned every day. If you have little children train your maids to watch them and clean them up well. Always have some wipes around and have urine washed off the floor properly.

Keep detergent and bleach handy - just ordinary wiping, doesn't remove the smell of body waste. Let baby vomit and other wastes be properly cleaned.

Get some air freshener for your homes. Prices range from N200 to N15,000. There is something for everyone.

NB - I am not saying that there are no foolish men out there who are irresponsible and could abandon their wives and children for no reason. I am not holding brief for anybody. Neither am I saying that a man who leaves his marriage has justification if the above things are not in place.

By no means. I am just saying that sometimes, error of omission can create circumstances that heat up marital relations and push things to a place of no remedy.

Copyright 2015 - Aziza Uko Douglas (This article was first shared on a Christian women's forum on Facebook on August 27, 2015)

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