Not Just a Wife and Mother but a Career Woman
I got married two days to my twenty-seventh birthday. I considered that a good age to be a wife. I had gotten over my childhood dream of marrying a Caucasian (silly me, I thought they were the only people capable of romantic love). I had given up on my adolescent hatred for marriage (I saw yeye-ness in every man). I had outgrown the ‘happily-ever-after’ fantasies of my early twenties. I was a grown woman; my shoulders were strong enough to withstand anything. I was also convinced that I had carefully chosen the right man. Yes, I was in love, but I had not said yes simply because of those emotions. In fact, I was quite willing and prepared to end the engagement should he give me reasons to doubt he would make the sort of partner I wanted: a man who understood that he was marrying an adult had a say in her life.
Wedding day was lovely. Honeymoon, eh . . . not so much. But, no yawa. We were still very much in love and eager to see the many years ahead together (husband keeps promising me a do-over for the honeymoon. I told him I’d only accept a week in Cabo. LOL). Post-marriage, some realities set in. So, I resigned from my job in Abuja and came to Lagos to build my family. And that was where it all got tricky.
I don’t have any love for Lagos. I doubt I’d ever do, to be honest. One of my beefs with this place is that my career has suffered because of it. I have lost valuable time and opportunities. You see, the sort of field I work in, Abuja is the place to climb and network. The prospects here are limited. But this is where husband is, something everybody (including interviewers) keep reminding me. Yes, I know. I know all too well! For two years, I have known that. For two years I have struggled with giving up work – as in, making do with the best options I have, given the circumstances – and focus on being a good wife and mother. I wish I could say that I have done a marvellous job of being only those. But no. Every day I think of where I could have been. What I could have been earning. I look at my son, I look at my husband, I am filled with joy . . . but, I want more.
And so, when folks began asking me when I would give Bomboy a sister, all I could think of was PRISON! I would wake up 4.20am to prepare for a job. I would come home at 8pm or later, to kids I wouldn’t have seen awake for two days at a stretch. I would do all these, living in a city I hated! How on earth could anyone wish me that? And worse, that they should expect me to accept it as all there would be of my life? And if I say I want something else, I would be told about how I should have all my kids at once and rest. Rest? Our people have a saying, when you see a corpse that is not related to you, you think it’s wood.
I told husband (my dear sweet man who I swear didn’t know what he was signing up for when he asked me to marry him) that I was putting off having another child until I had arranged myself. I couldn’t bear the guilt that I would not be there for two children. With one, ehen, I can tell myself that for the next child I’d correct any mistakes I made with the first ‘guinea-pig’ child. Besides, before I became a wife and a mother, I had dreams that were not wrapped around being a wife and a mother. For three years, my career has taken a backseat. But, I don’t want it to stay there forever. I came to Lagos for my family. I left jobs – yes, jobs. Plural! For my family. Now, it is time for husband, for family to sacrifice for me. The steps I would have to take to move ahead would not be entirely to his comfort, but he would benefit from it. The economy is too bad for the family upkeep to be one person’s responsibility.
In the end, we have a strong marriage. And I still wouldn’t throw my family away for any job in this world. What I am certain I would absolutely loathe is to have to choose one or the other.
This was sent in by Ugo Chime. She blogs for Daily Times (http://www.dailytimes.com.ng/author/ugo-chime) as well as maintains her own personal blog (http://flourishingflorida.net). She is presently editing a novel she hopes to publish soonest. You can reach her on twitter (link @UgoChime1), Facebook (link www.facebook/flourishingflorida), and by email email@example.com.