Much has been written about the challenges women face in their bid to balance their reproductive, productive and community roles. Reproductive roles that society has ascribed to the woman is largely is used as a measure the true femininity, womanhood and motherliness in some instances. Child care, domestic chores are universal for working mothers and stay at home mothers alike and as my mother would say, it is ok for a woman to seek help in these areas.
Living in a foreign land with my family and balancing my roles as a mother, wife and manager has never been an easy task for me; each day comes with its fair share of challenges and of course learning points are taken up on a daily basis. With no sister, mother, best friend to rely on particularly when I travel extensively, two women have succeeded in supporting me through this stage in my life.
When I pack my bags to travel in country or elsewhere, my heart sinks and beats fast in alternations. The thought of leaving the boys behind brings tears to my eyes, comments such as ‘why don’t you travel with the kids’ or why are you taking the children through this, or family is much important than money that people chase’ breaks my heart into pieces. Occasionally, I am left wondering whether I am a good mother, feelings of guilt and self-doubt ring through my mind as I drive around the country or sitting at the airport awaiting a flight!!!!
In all this, God has been faithful to me. At the very point of my need he brought two wonderful women who have enabled me function at least 75% normally. As I work fending for my children, securing their future, growing professionally and investing, the ladies stay home to help look after my children. We may not share very many issues in common, we do not share a language, origin, but one thing for sure is that they step in wherever I cannot be around.
To me, they are family and that’s what guides our relationship on a day to day basis. They play with the boys, feed them, ensuring that homework is done, home is safe just to mention but a few. They are always taking care of my children, my life.
Not to sound unassuming and not mindful of my role as a mother and a wife, I recognize these ladies’ contribution in enabling me balance my tripartite role as a woman. We all have then or have at least encountered them in our lives in different names; nanny, auntie, maids name them. That notwithstanding, these ladies help us help ourselves in this journey called life. This other woman is worth celebrating with a smile, kind words, a tip, salary increment, whichever we chose and can afford, let’s take time to raise our glasses to them.
Hellen Mala Owiti