About four years ago, my mother chose to stop employing house-helps, her reason was she had a grown up daughter (a.k.a Miss Gidi) whom she believed needed to become a bit more ‘domestic’ in preparation for her husband’s house ummm right!. Four years later and with my crazy schedule thanks to my current job, my mother and I end up having arguments or mini-misunderstandings on what I should or should not be doing at home. I don’t have a problem with house chores but having to go wash dishes every night after a long stressful day at work is a pain, I mean I get home at 10pm on average. And then she wants me to wake up extra early on a Saturday to clean bathrooms when all I want to do is SLEEP!
Having a house-help (“help”) or domestic worker as I prefer to call them is a necessity to a lot of people, especially in cities like Lagos where most people do not have time to breathe and require extra hands to take care of the home. Helps could be hired (usually the immigrants from neighbouring countries) or in some cases a relative from the village or lower-income level who is in search of a better life. Typically every family always has a help, with some having a help and then a nanny per child but of course that’s a rare case. In Nigeria, it’s pretty normal for single men to get house-helps and cooks because they are not expected to know how to take care of the home or know their way around the kitchen. But what happens when it’s a single lady who wants to get a house-help?
Before I go on, let me differentiate the types of helps we have; there is the normal/traditional help who lives with you and becomes a somewhat extended part of your family, the modern helps that work 9 to 5 daily and the ultra-modern that work only on weekends.
I’ve had this ‘house-help debate’ a few times and usually the conclusion is that it’s okay for married women and bachelors to get house-helps because they need the extra help while single ladies have no logical right to get one regardless of what their work schedule is like. The logic behind that reasoning is, a lady living without a help prepares her for her days as a married woman because her husband could decide he doesn’t want to have any help in the house.
Now my question is, is it wrong for a single lady to hire a house-help when/if she lives alone? And if she does get one, what kind of house-help should she be getting? Is it more acceptable if it’s someone who comes in on a daily basis versus a traditional house-help? I mean Lagos is a busy city and to be honest, with the crazy hours that most people have to put in everyday like yours truly, I see no problem with having someone help with the domestic work whether you are a single guy or lady, as long as you can afford it, then by all means, go ahead!
Anyway as for my mother and I, Kelechi resumed on Monday and I pay her salary. At least I get some sleep on Saturday mornings. *shrug*