Hello blog fam! Hope you’re all good and keeping safe. This year, I’m taking deliberate steps to write more often but balancing different aspects of my life and general baby girl living is no walk in the park. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for all of it and determined to make it work.
Speaking of balance, I received the book “Running on Rocks” by Patience Etudo sometime last year and the title easily got my attention because I immediately pictured myself running on rocks with 4.5 inch stilettos (screams recipe for disaster for both the shoes and myself lol). Today’s blog post is a little different as it is mostly skewed towards marriage (a subject I have no experience in). I believe all women can relate in some way and it deserves the attention.
Running on rocks speaks to a woman’s constant quest of creating and finding balance between work life and family life. The average woman lives a fast paced life where she’s constantly juggling multiple roles simultaneously (mother/wife/partner/sister/sister-in-law/daughter/daughter-in-law/business owner/employee). In my almost 3 decades on earth, I have had the opportunity to live and work with women at different phases of their lives and of mine. A lot of times, these women aren’t lucky enough to choose what cards to deal in this game of work-life balance. There are no easy decisions as every decision is rarely ever taken independent of their career or family. It’s a tough burden a lot of women have to carry for years and years, some are fortunate enough to have hacked this dilemma. I’ve seen women who have had to pick family over career and vice versa. I’ve equally witnessed instances of women who have dared to juggle both and have succeeded only with the right level of support.
My mom happens to be classic a example of all three scenarios. I remember being much younger and aware of the fact that my mum didn’t work in the same city we lived in. She took 2-3 hours trips on her commute to and from work. During this time, breakfast was already prepared by her for my siblings and me, lunch bags were also packed for school. I won’t say she didn’t have occasional help but she pretty much carried the weight of raising 4 children and pursuing a career in banking simultaneously. You see, like a lot of mothers and women usually have it, this model didn’t last for long as her work required her to move to a completely different state that was 5 hours away from home. This was a tough choice but her decision was obvious. This scenario shows how much the average Nigerian woman has to sacrifice her dreams in order to nurture a family she will be proud of. Every now and then, I wonder if my dad had gotten a similar opportunity would he have turned it down, figured out a way to make it work and have us move with him or simply taken on the opportunity knowing his beloved wife will be home to raise their children?
Like the author suggests, perhaps it’s high time we revisited the good old saying “behind every successful man is a woman”. As the reverse is rarely ever the case with most relationships where women are expected to tone down their ambitions so that men can shine forgetting that these women too have dreams.
Running on rocks also explores the theme of financial independence among women. Many times, when the topic “financial security” comes up there’s a subconscious reference to a man’s financial capabilities. I often wondered why this is the case? Is it because women haven’t been deemed capable of being financially secure for themselves? Or maybe it’s simply because there’s an imaginary role divide that sees only men as the sole provider within a marriage? While there’s nothing completely wrong with that school of thought, I belong to the school of thought that allows women the liberty to own their source of income which gives them some level of autonomy. This is especially because the Nigerian society doesn’t provide women with adequate support needed in the event of a mishap. Then again does this mean that the home front will suffer at the expense of woman’s quest to seek financial security for herself?
It almost feels as if there’s no scenario where a woman wins. Should she decide to pursue full time career, she’s considered overly ambitious, lacking the ability to nurture a family and if she chooses to be a stay at home wife, she may be considered unambitious and not forward thinking. Men also hold the responsibility as fathers and husbands to see to it that their daughters and wives are supported and encouraged regardless of the path they decide to tow. This support and encouragement gives women the empowerment, confidence and sense of self-worth needed to face the world especially when things get rocky.
I look forward to a day where a woman’s life choices do not define her or put her at a disadvantage in the society she exists in. I hope that she is able to find the right support from family, friends and the society to allow her thrive as she becomes the best version of herself.
Have you ever had to give up on a dream because you didn’t get the right support? Have you been in a relationship where you could tell that your significant other was going to dampen your ambitions? How do you manage/balance being both a career woman and a mother? Does one never suffer at the expense of the other?
As always, I’m eager to read and learn from you!