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Can women really do it all?



Can women really do it all?

It’s 6:30 p.m. and Miriam, a cash officer in one of the top banks in Lagos, is totally exhausted. She had has to attend to a myriad of customer cash issues all day long, she was feeling the pressure to ensure accounts are balanced and there is cash available for ATM transactions.

Thankfully her neighbour who is also a fellow parent at her children’s school was able to pick up her 4-and 6-year-old daughters from their after-school program, since she wasn’t going to make it there in time.
It took a 75 minutes drive and a near collision before she finally pulled into her compound. Frazzled and drained, she trudged through her neighbour’s door and sighed. She thanked her and took her kids upstairs to her own apartment, all she wanted to do was put her feet up and rest.

But there was dinner to make, the girls needed help with homework, and the some chores she left undone in the morning, before her husband gets home from work around 9:30 p.m. And then she would have kitchen cleanup, paperwork from the kids’ school to go through, lunches to pack for tomorrow and a mountain of laundry needing to be folded and put away. Whew!
If she’s lucky, she will be done by 10:30 pm, so she can at least spend 30 minutes relaxing while watching a bit of the late night news and she has to get some rest before the alarm wakes her up at 4:30am to prepare for yet another day.

On weekends, there’s always a lot to do, from shopping, attending church programmes and stopping at the beauty salon with her daughters to get their hair done, to an endless list of household chores, including cleaning, laundry, ironing, meal planning and cooking for the coming week and of course reporting to the office when the need arises.

Miriam is one busy woman! But as packed as her life seems to be, her story is nothing out of the ordinary. Millions of other women including yours truly, live the same kind of hectic lifestyle – scrambling to run two lives—one at home and one at work, and another online, for those of us who choose to be ‘21st century women’. We want to be good wives and mothers, but we also want to be intellectually stimulated by a challenging career in addition to contributing to the household.

Busy workload for today’s woman is not just the same old story as children’s schedules have gotten busier too. Now parents in the bid to have a chance to show off our ‘super star’ kids are busy all weekend shuffling our kids to all the different activities – music, sports, drama, painting, board games and what have you.

One former working mom said she used to drop her three kids ages 1, 3, and 5 off at school and day care at 7 a.m. and pick them up at 6.30 p.m. every weekday. They would get home around 7:00, she would make dinner and the kids would go to sleep about 8:30 pm. She started thinking, ‘Hey, I’m only seeing my kids for two hours a day. If that’s all I was going to see them, then why did I even have kids in the first place?’ So she quit her job and put her career on hold to be with her kids until they are older.

While that may be the wish of most working moms, not many can take such a decision or the kids may not have the next meal. It’s almost like a constant spinning of plates to get through the day to honour our commitment not only as mothers but also as employees, and everything else. But how do we manage to juggle the overwhelming demands of family and career? Most women would just give a smile shrugging their shoulders.

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