Feature Article of Saturday, 24 November 2012
Columnist: Nyarko, Afia
Housewife or stay at home mothering is unpaid work, get a job - Part I
I was chuffed when the first day in class, we were asked to introduce ourselves.
The majority of the group were women and what was pleasing to here after
mentioning their name was "I'm a full-time mom". Not a single man did say I'm a
full time dad." Most probably, its because women are seen as the best carers,
fosters, and child raisers. There is no doubt some mothers are just mere
child-bearers just like some fathers permit me to use the word irresponsible. I
asked myself afterwards, how many fellow African women could boldly mention they
are full-time moms, in their introduction in gatherings? I do have much respect
for those mates of mine. Why? The reason is they are full-time moms yet they are
taking steps to get a job. There is a difference between work and job. Ask every
housewife or those stay at home moms and they will tell you the kind of work
they do. Just a summary - each one of these housewife or stay at home mom is a
nanny, teacher, cook, cleaner, counselor, nurse, security officer, waitress,
handy-woman and a carer who works most hours in a day. Bravo on their hard work!
But is that self-sufficient? The answer may be yes to the one that chooses to be
a house-wife or stay at home mom or the man who wants to have absolute power
over her, and a 'no' to the one that seeks gender equality.
The fact is women were not made to stay at home alone. Don't get me wrong, there
is nothing wrong giving birth and choosing to raise them by stopping your job as
indeed raising children is a work. One may ask, what is more adorable than
spending time with kids, your spouse, or friends? Nevertheless, it's not a
career or job. No mother get paid at the end of the day or week or month for
being a mother. I know in some developed countries women or single parents get
benefits from the government but as far as I know in my developing country,
bringing up a child is one's soul responsibility and nothing comes through the
bank or assembly offices to be handed out for free. Coming back on track, I am
informing my fellow women who have got vocation, some skills, education or some
form of profession not being practiced to get a job. You could get a job that
can be worked from home if staying at home is the only choice you want to go
House-wife or full-time mom is not a job, it is rather a work. A multifaceted
work, no one gets paid for in financial terms. May be rewarding, if you set
yourself as a role model. In some way, I see it as immaturity as you depend on a
man to provide food, clothes and shelter for you or the family. Or probably the
tax-payer to get some allowance to support you if living in a western world.
Well, what can I say, children depend on us and at a certain point, parents
expect them to grow-up and leave the nest. So while thinking its all about being
a great mom by staying at home, it isn't. It's a part of life every woman can
choose to have if they decide to.
It is a man's world, though without women, they would be nothing. From the
national statistics, Ghanaian women are still behind in most aspects such as
entrepreneurship. According to the national statistics, "...65% of men spend
from 0 to 10hours per week on domestic activities, 89% of women spend 10 hours
per week or more. The most time-engaging activities for women are cooking and
taking care of household member." Perhaps, getting a paid work which is called a
'job' aside full-time mom or stay at home mom will help bridge some of the huge
gap in regards to gender inequality. Choosing to stay at home or just be a mom
may or may not benefit you or your child when he/she grows to see that.I
remember when my mom used to grow most of our food stuffs, we all helped. She
sold some of her groceries and crops. Yet she was teaching other children
between 7:30pm and 2:00pm at school. Although she never used her 'butterfly'
sewing machine to sew clothes for sale, most of her children's torn items were
mended by herself. There are several great women like her who works around the
clock to make the world a better place to live in.
I may sound a bit harsh but I think it is not only a man's job to get money for
the home. Money is power. It may be the root of all evils, but can one sustain
himself or herself without it? If you give the power to him, by signing the
certificate "he is the bread winner" to get out there and you stay at home,
remember you may work harder without pay and will have to subject to all his
power. For those who are loving and caring, your hard-work at home will be
idolised. This is just part 1.
By Afia Nyarko
On Facebook/ Ghanaian Feminists Forum