Friday, 25 July 2014


Families are not what they used to be. Households in which the wife is full-time housekeeper, and the husband and father is the sole breadwinner are in the minority today. The set of variables that relate to mothers seeking employment are: 1. Economic need 2. Educational attainment 3. Child care availability 4. Occupational opportunity 5. Child care cost 6. Number of children in the home, especially the number under the age of five 7. Marital status 8. Male partner’s work schedule.  Each of these variables has been shown to either inhibit or promote mother’s participation in paid employment.
Economic need
          In cases where a simple budget indicates that the family’s expenditures exceed the income of the father, the solution that comes to mind is for the wife and mother to work. In some families the consideration given to the possibility of the wife seeking gainful employment is prompted by the fact that the husband’s earnings cannot cope with justifiable needs. The recommendation that mothers should not work will only be tenable where the father’s income can provide for basic needs which to some extent will make life worth living. Under the

 condition of financial strangulation the mother has to work to augment the family income.

          No general rule should be laid down to determine whether the wife and mother should work or whether she should devote herself entirely to homemaking. The decision in a given case, however, should be made only after due consideration is given to the many factors concerned. She surely should not work unless she and her husband have agreed that circumstances justify her employment.

Educational attainment
          The question is should the well educated woman remain jobless and waste her talents and acquired skill in the home simply because she is a wife and a mother? Many is answer no. is it not reasonable for her to help the husband in increasing the economic prospect of their home? The women have a saying, “What a man can do a woman can do and even better.” Women have acquired education in diverse fields of human endeavor. It is important that their talents should not be wasted but put to gainful use for themselves and their families.
          The educated, nonworking mother may over-invest her energies in her children. This can foster an excess of worry and discourage the child’s independence. In such situations, the mother may give more parenting than the child can profitably handle. Working mothers is a part of modern life. It is not aberrant aspect of it but a response to other social changes. It meets needs that cannot be met by the previous family ideal of a full-time mother and homemaker.
          Not only does it meet the couple’s needs, but in many ways it may be a pattern better suited to socializing children for the adult roles they will occupy later in life. This is not only especially true for daughters but it is also true for sons. Just as his father shares the breadwinning role and the childrearing role with his mother, so the son, too, may be more willing to share these roles. The rigid gender stereotyping perpetuated by the divisions of labor in the traditional family is not appropriate for the demands that will be made in children of either sex as adult in the new millennium.
          The needs of the growing child require the mother to loosen her hold on the child – grant him some independence. This task may be easier for the working mother, whose job is an additional source of identity and self-esteem.  However, a common experience of working mothers is feeling guilty about being away from their children. The guilt may triggered by parents who miss their children, worry that their children are missing them. They are worried if their children are receiving good child care and the long-term effect of not being around and whether it will have adverse effect on the children in future.
A woman who goes to work meets people, gains from the experiences of others and broadens her outlook while the home-ridden wife seldom get outside experience. And so, she can hardly be expected to enter into a lively chat with her husband let alone visitors. Work trusts a responsibility on the woman, helping her to learn to organize herself better and put herself together in all respect.
Child care availability
          Some people believe that a woman’s real place should be in the home. This argument rests on the premise that a mother should not only bear children but also bring them up. That is, she should give them the basic education in manners and help them develop attitudes and characters which are desirable. Therefore the possibility of her accepting employment must be conditional upon provision for the children proper upbringing. When the children are young, adequate provision for their care is difficult to arrange. This fact in itself should dissuade most mothers from working. In terms of the integrity of the family and the future well-being of the children, it is better that the family live on a more economical standard than allow the children suffer because of being deprived of the mother’s companionship and influence while she labor outside the home to provide the luxuries of life.

Occupational opportunity
          When I say work, it does not mean white collar job alone. It could be farming, petty trading, and restaurant business for the women who are good at cooking, so long as it keeps the mind busy, because an adage says that, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” A woman who engages herself in day to day honest and profitable business certainly will have no time to gossip or engage in activities that might lead to ruining her matrimonial home. Another consideration is how about if the man is retrenched?
Child care cost
          Before a couple decide that the mother should work they must first consider the cost of child care their children may require. If the income will not be able to pay for it there may not point in going ahead with the employment hence the mother working will not help solve the dire financial condition of the family.
Number of children in the home
          The number of in the home is another important variable to consider when taking decision for the mother to work or not to work. If the children are many and most of them below five years it will be advisable for the mother to stay back and take care of her children until they grow older.
Marital status
          Marital status is a great determinant whether a woman should work or not. In a situation of a single mother she has no choice but to work in order to provide for herself and her child or children. This is what joy a single mother had to say, “I don’t think living alone is something to aspire to. But it’s something I’d made peace with by the time my boyfriend walked away after I became pregnant. If opportunity presents itself again, I’ll prefer to find my other half, make life with him, and have children together and care for them.” For Joy, she has no choice but to work
How about widows who their husbands died leaving nothing reasonably to take care of the children left behind? The widows might have no alternative but to seek paid employment to enable her take care of her children’s education and upkeep. The same applies to a woman whose husband is incapacitated. She may have to work to take care of the family including her invalid husband.
Male partner’s work schedule
          Some husbands work schedule is flexible. Under this condition it may be possible for the mother to work. Whenever she is busy her husband will attain to the needs of the children. if the man is a very busy businessman who is rarely at home it will be difficult for the children if their mother is equally very busy and have no time for them. This may in the long run prove to be “penny wise and pound foolish”, because such children could grow without proper basic family upbringing and eventually become serious liabilities to the family and the society at large.
          Husbands and wives must give broadminded consideration to their standard of values. Too many things in life are measured in terms of monetary value. The most valuable homes are not necessarily those in which the most money is spent. The best homes are those in which peace, love, and mutual respect exist among the members of the families.
On the whole, having a mother who works is beneficial to the child. This is especially true for girls whose mothers have successful careers in business or professions. The daughters of career women tend to be higher in self-esteem, better adjusted socially, and more achievement-oriented than other girls. The sons of career women tend to be more independent and to have more positive attitudes toward women and work than those whose mothers stay at home. But this can only be true when the women are able to balance their career and motherhood.

Monday, 21 July 2014


It was a rainy day in Lagos when I was on my way to Idumota from Mushin. The rain was so heavy that I could not risk moving to my destination; hence I had to take refuge in a nearby building. I ran to the corridor of a commercial bank along Martins Street to take shelter. I was worried that the man, who had given me appointment for 10 am, might be out of the office before I got there. Don’t wonder how. Ha has two official cars and three personal ones, he could use any.
This opportunity I had of seeing him before he left for another “operation see the world” was being hampered by this wicked rain. I almost changed my mind about the existence of God, but I promptly cautioned myself. But, why should God, allow rain to fall when He knew I had this one chance in the world of getting a job, I wondered.
I started when someone tapped me at the shoulder, bringing me out of my reverie. I turned swiftly to see Jerry smiling at me. “What is on your mind? I’ve been watching you since you ran here for shelter, and you’ve been looking into space. What is the matter?” he asked.

I served Youth Service with Jerry in the same secondary school in Cross River State. He was intelligent and handsome. But he had two weaknesses –women and excessive spending. He had first class in Microbiology in University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in the South Eastern part of the country. He loved beautiful, slim, fair-complexioned girls. And whenever any was around him, he parted with his money like a drunken sailor. He could afford to, anyway. He received additional monthly allowance from his rich parents apart from the stipend paid by the government.

I didn’t blame him for not understanding my problem. He had a rich father, so he didn’t understand what it meant to be unemployed for eight months when I thought I’d made it academically. Moreover, I had heard that he had gone back to the university for his postgraduate degree.

I managed to smile back. I told him I had an appointment with a company director but the heavy downpour was putting behind schedule. “Man relax! Is that why you’re worried? You can see him another day, except you want to swim to his office; all the streets are flooded.”
I swore beneath my breath. I wondered why some people with business acumen and capital hadn’t thought of building canoes for hiring in Lagos during the raining season. I could have hired one and paddled to my destination.
“Chuks, I’ve got a hot gist for you,” Jerry said.
Didn’t I tell you that this boy didn’t realize the type of fix I was in. the sky was still weeping seriously, so I said, “What is the gist all about?”
“I hope you still remember, Eno?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied nonchalantly. I remembered Eno all right. She was Jerry’s girlfriend during the Youth Service. She was tall, slim, fair-complexioned, and beautifully built with a come-to-bed set of eyes. She was a material for the front page of fashion magazine.
“She gave me a shock of my life.”
“What happened?” I inquired.
“She wrote me once that she was pregnant. But I didn’t take her serious. Three weeks ago, she wrote to inform me that she had delivered a baby for me.”
“Is that what you call a shock?” I hissed. “It seems you’ve not bothered to check the dictionary meaning of shock. You’ve a child and you call that a shock? What did you expect when you were sleeping with her ever time as if she was your legal wife?”
“Take it easy, pal. I was just beginning the story.”
“Yes! Let me have the rest,” I said enthusiastically.
“I was in the campus, so I went home to tell my parents. They made no fuss to my uttermost surprise. Instead, my father fixed last week for us to go and see her and our child. A day to the visit, he ordered John, his driver, to wash and polish his Prado jeep for the journey, which he did. The next morning, we were on our way. We drove straight to her house in Calabar. We were told she traveled home. I directed John and we headed to Odukpani, her village. My father had bought drinks, clothes for Eno, baby formula, baby wears, nappies –all a newly delivered mother needed. When we arrived in their house, we met her parents but she was out. Her father sent for her, when we asked for her.

“When she arrived, my father explained the reason for our visit. Eno’s parents were dumbfounded. If Eno had a child, she never told them, they claimed, the ball was passed to Eno. She wept for a while before she told us that she delivered no child. ‘What?’ my father shouted. A chill crawled up my spine and my body was cold as if a block of ice was placed at the base of my neck. Her father asked her why she wrote such a letter, if she did not deliver any child? She accused me of jilting her and she wanted to get revenge. I had stopped communicating with her a month a left Cross River State. I didn’t know how she got my current address.
“My father was seething with fury and my mother was dazed. My father ordered that we drive back to Lagos that night. When we got home, he talked to me like he never did before. Ha has stopped my allowance till further notice. I’ve come to collect when this bloody rain started. Boy! You never know with women. I shall return to the campus tomorrow.”
“That was some experience,” I told him. How do you explain to a lion that it’s not nice to eat other animals? “Why did God endow me with sharp teeth and swift movement,” it’ll reply. It is the same case with Jerry.

Sunday, 6 July 2014


One of the greatest challenges of today is developing life-long partnership. Personality is the mental, social, emotional, and constitutional characteristic that makes somebody different and interesting. The early years of marriage are a growth time for the relationship – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This is a period you find out that marriage is not a bed of roses –that, those romantic affairs in fictions are not played out that way in real married life. At this early period, some very difficult situations may develop through a failure of the couple to recognize that their personalities are different because of the contrast of their family background and childhood experiences.
            You have the choice of moving your marriage in positive direction, even in midst of challenges and disappointments or bowing out. A sensible person will save his or her marriage with all he or she has got. Throughout courtship the young man has been sure that his fiancĂ©e possesses none of the faults he has observed in his others dates. He assumes that she will succeed where others have failed; that married life with her will be a wonderful romance. But after she has actually become his wife, he begins to notice that she possesses traits that fall short of his earlier ideas of her perfection. No one has a perfect situation at home, because no one has a perfect situation at home, because no one is perfect. Everyone has flaws, weaknesses, and faults.
            This realization that his wife is human after all and that her personality contain some imperfections which he thought would be impossible in one so beautiful, prompts the new husband to bring the traits to her attention. He assumes, of course, that she will be grateful to him for mentioning her shortcomings. But he is quickly shocked that she has been noting some imperfections in his lifestyle and is already prepared to meet his criticisms with her list of his faults of personality. And the ground for the first quarrel is set.
            Karol Ladd in her book, The Power of A Positive Wife wrote, “God placed certain, distinct qualities and traits in man and certain distinct qualities and traits in woman. Together they were designed to function as one flesh. They were to bless each other. They were to encourage each other’s strengths and balance each other’s weaknesses. They were to take a selfless and loving position in each other’s lives.”

            The question is, how will they choose to handle these challenges? They had observed that many couples disagree, but they were sure that their home would be different. Now, that they face reality, will they respond to the situation in a positive and healing way, or will they use words and actions in a destructive and negative way? Their love for each other had been so intense that they had supposed they would never be guilty of starting a quarrel. But here they are with the evidence that their own marriage is not an exception. Each is sure he/she is not as bad as the partner has just pictured him/her. Therefore, each felt that the partner is capable of exaggerating things and making false statements. As they reflect on this encounter in their private moment, the fear that the happy marriage they had dreamed of might not be.

But by the time each has had a chance to think things through; they find that their supposed grievances were caused by loneliness that came over them while they retreated to themselves. Each having noticed this is ready to ask for forgiveness. This is followed by the pleasant experience of making up. In fact, it seems that they understand each other better now than before for having the courage to face their human frailties.
            Newly married couple tends to take their first disagreement as a portentous omen. But it is simply an indication that their personalities have not yet blended. It is not this first quarrel which determines whether a couple is to have a happy married life or not.  Their happiness will depend upon what success they make about blending of their personalities so as to restore respect and tolerance.
An individual’s personality does not remain constant for any period of time. It changes from day to day as it is influenced by the day’s experiences. The personality today differs from what it was a year ago, depending upon the experiences of the intervening year. It will differ a year from now from what it is today, depending upon the circumstances through which the individual passes during the year. As they pass through life together their experiences will be nearly the same and more alike in this case their personalities become more and more alike. They will observe each other responses to circumstances, and will come to know what to expect of each other and what to do to avoid misunderstandings.
            Simple carelessness on the part of either husband or wife can easily be a basis for difficulty. This for example may take the form of laxity in dressing and personal appearance. Before marriage a young man takes pride in his partner, not only because of his affection for her, but because of her personal attractiveness. If after the marriage she assumes that she has made her dream come true and is therefore privileged to dress for comfort and convenience rather than in the interest of personal appearance, there is danger that the change will produce the impression that she no longer care about her husband’s interest.
            On the other hand, the new husband may show his carelessness by neglecting the attentions which he showered on his wife when they were courting. This type of carelessness takes the form of forgetting her birthday and wedding anniversary.
            The type of friends you keep can affect the happiness of the home. The choice of friends therefore requires deliberate judgment and willingness to give and take.
            When two persons agree in their determination to have nothing in the way of their developing a happy home, there is very little chance of their being disappointed. It must be realized, however, that such a happy state of affairs is not a simple coincidence; it demands active effort on the part of both husband and wife.

One golden rule which every married person should observe is that never resort to deception. It is shortsightedness to assume that a crisis can be avoided by trying to distort the facts. Deception will finally become apparent and will undermine the absolute confidence that should exist between the couple. A frank apology, when indicated, does much more to ensure the respect and devotion of the spouse than does any attempt to ignore injustice.

            If you are focused on your spouse’s faults, you will find them every time. But if you set on finding your spouse’s strength, you will find it too. Shirley Boone said, “Be to his virtues very kind. Be to his faults a little blind.” In marriage husband and wife come together to build each other up. Envisage how sweet your marriage can become when both of you are looking for the positive qualities of each.
            The Bible spoke of the husband and wife becoming, “one flesh”. That did not mean that individuals would lose their individuality; it meant that they would blend their personalities in a deep and intimate way.
            Clark Warren wrote, “Great marriages seldom come naturally. They are virtually the result of strong motivation, careful instruction, and endless practice.”