Dear husband, taking care of baby is not a woman’s work – Pearl Osibu

Dear husband, taking care of baby is not a woman’s work – Pearl Osibu

My dear Husband,

How body? Oh wait, I know. Because I sabi as your body be pass my own. If you had a period, chances are I would keep a calendar to check it off.

I wish to thank you for allowing me work. You have no idea how grateful I am. I mean, what if you had decided not to let me work, to ask me to, horror of horrors, sit all day long painting my nails, eating ice cream and watching Telemundo. What if you had not allowed me contribute to our housekeeping and running allowance which includes the house rent and our children’s school fees. What would I have done? But in your magnanimity, you gave me clearance.

I don’t mind that even though I’m working, I have to wake up before everyone else, make breakfast, get you, myself and the children ready for school. You need your beauty sleep.  I don’t mind that I have to be home to ensure the children do their homework, that your dinner is warm etc. What of all the million minutiae of running the house that I have to take care of in the course of the day to ensure its hitch free? Easy-peasy. Plus, I asked for it didn’t I? I am insanely happy to be allowed out to play with the adults in the office. Thank you.

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The thing – and please do not mistake this for ungratefulness – the thing is, I am finding it harder to cope. I am. Please don’t think I’m complaining. After all, women have done it from the dawn of time. I think it is something faulty with my wiring. But I really am bending under the weight.

You see, I have been looked over for promotion a number of times. I work hard and my boss is fair. But it is hard to get promoted when I can never volunteer to go on that out-of-town business trip.  It really is not fair on my colleagues who do and why should I be treated differently? I know the office has a child-friendly policy but after they graciously gave me the three months or so maternity leave, I would be stretching it by bringing baby to work every day so we can continue exclusive breastfeeding. Baby gurgles up milk on the conference table and although my colleagues say how cute, I see their eye-rolling when they think I’m not looking.

Bear with me my dear husband but here is how I see it. After the pregnancy and first few weeks of breastfeeding, you do know we can go it together, right? You do know after that, I don’t actually have to have the baby hitched to me like a buggy all the time? You realise that you can wake at night and walk the hallways too? You know I can express breastmilk so you can partake in breastfeeding?

My boss is unhappy. At the last staff meeting, I had to keep going out to check on the baby. I don’t mind you taking baby to work sometimes. It’s fine. In fact, people would go ‘awww, what a great dad’. Try it.

You see that time I was trying to chair the staff retreat and you called me in the middle of a brainstorming session, wringing your hands and telling me junior had put a pencil in his ear and baby had crawled into the microwave, you realize you didn’t need to? My boss gave me the evil eye. It doesn’t help that I have to take off early while the rest of my colleagues hang out after work and talk shop. I feel like a stranger now because they are so clique-ish and I am… well, married and a mother. I want to succeed in spite of these.

You know that time baby was ill and you called me. You do realise you didn’t have to? I have no medical skills. She is our baby. You should know as much as I do and why not? You have a mother, sisters, female friends –  if you are fully persuaded that this is female territory – you could have called any of them to ask. You have the internet and it is not meant only to order your next playstation console and check what’s happening in the world of football. You have a host of social media platforms you could have thrown your question open to and done some crowdsourcing.  WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE WAS CALL ME!!

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Oh dear, I’m yelling. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. But you know how important that meeting was. You said baby was asking for me, needed me. No. baby was asking for you to be a parent, needed a parent. Baby cries for you too but I never upset your workday to have you do baby-speak and make gurgling sounds over the phone. I know your colleagues are watching.

Our children are not a hobby you pick up when you feel like it, or when they are bathed, powdered, fed, and clean. They cry, they fall sick, they make a mess.

I’m just asking you to meet me halfway. Can you do this? I promise you, I am not a bad woman and no, those bitter feminists have not gotten to me. I am just a human being who is trying to reach her full potential, same as you and somehow, my full potential is refusing to stay within the confines of what society has dictated it should be. Help me. Help me stay focused at work by knowing you have it down. Show me some respect like I do you. And please, let me never catch you watching a movie like ‘Moms’ Night Out’ which tells you that you are helpless and a train wreck waiting to happen without me. You are a capable man. I trust you. Let’s build this home together or together, we will fail. Because, baby, I’m doing this.

Thank you.

Your devoted wife.

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