Happy New Year. I was hoping this January would start a bit differently on the domestic front now that my house help left some of he clothes behind. but yeah, like they all do every January, alienda akiendaga, going mteja on me on the day she was supposed to return back to work.
So my hands have been quite full with dinners to cook and laundry to fold and dirty dishes competing for space in my sink that making a post` here has been pushed to the back burner.
Mercy is our first guest blogger and she tells us about priceless moments bonding with her children over the holidays when Nairobi packed its bags and went to shags.
I believe I had a transformation these last holidays when I got time to spend 24 hours with my two sons, for 12 days. This is how: Work closed on December 23 and many people had all these amazing plans about places to visit and all. It was Christmas; what would you expect anyway. Kenyans love to go to the village, spend time with rural folk and ‘eat’ Christmas the real Kenyan way. Well, we, that is my little household, has never had that chance. I don’t exactly know why and I do not want to give any explanations, but we are doing badly in that segment as a family. Back to my story.
So there I was, when I released the house help on December 20. I did all my house chores, even for the next day. Then on December 22, I requested hard that my husband would sit with the boys while I cleared up work for the holidays.
He agreed. The boys were super happy. They hardly get such chances with their dad. He cooked for them and fed them. By the time I was back, they did not need me. They had dad. Too bad the experience would only last the day. Dad had loads of meetings every day for the next month, even through Christmas, all of them out of the city and far away from his little boys who would have hoped that they could learn to ride a bike from him. So back to me, and my little energy bunnies.
We would have to be together; cook, clean, eat, shower. Sleep, wake up, watch tv, nap. Everything. The place would become more quiet as Christmas stayed, and went quietly away. Every other house was empty.
We were atop the buildings, perched away in our little hub, all by ourselves. All silent outdoors, only an occasional bark from a bored dog.
Inside the hub we played music. Watched YouTube videos. Played. Prayed. Quarrelled and fought. Slept in. Woke up late. Had breakfast. Went out for a bask in the sun.
Everything we did, we enjoyed. Mom had her work all in one basket. No particular definition but yes, the boys were satisfied with her. She would clean, cook, feed and clean the boys. She would change their clothing, put them to sleep, hold their hands while walking down the stairway. Everything.
Compare that with the days I would leave the house by 7am, stay away all day and run back in at around 8.30pm all tired and sleepy? And yet the children wanted to have a chat or play or just hang around me. For once, I felt guilty of this fast lane that is called career building. Was I too busy trying to make ends, meeting new people, just being busy, while my own children are wishing every minute to be with me? I needed to wake up.
For days on end during the holidays, I envied those who stay at home and watch their children. I envied households where spouses can be supportive enough to give their wives time off and the assurance that they will run the bills and go out hunting while mom stays home and watches these dear little ones.
See, I wanted to be there to tell the teacher that my son wants to recite and act more. But I was in a hurry in the morning because I had to be at work by 8 o’clock. I wished I could stay around the house and see the 20-month-old jump off the sofa seats as he screams Zuka Zama in glee. Yet the reality was I would come home when he just had no more energy for it.
Why should I be the one trying to catch their attention when they are snoring in the evening? This is not right. I wanted to be there to wash the school goer out of the dust and dirt that he gathered in school all day. I told myself I have to check his homework and sign the diary every night, not wait for teachers to wonder if there is a parent or just a sponsor in that home. Me. Their mother. I must step up to my role and be a more involved parent in 2017.
But I needed a firm back to lean upon. The back that reminds me we are going to be warmly tucked in, clothed and our tummies well fed. I needed the assurance that… sigh… we are a team and doing this together. If only.
At times you want to tell off these hectic ambitious lifestyles that men and women live today. Running for elusive gains. Trying to catch the sun. Wanting to live forever young and rich and famous.
Are we too busy for our own lives? What happens the day we wake up and find ourselves with no pattering feet running down the hallway to our well-acquired mansions? No sound of cluttering plates and spoons. No crying little ones with wet noses to wipe. Huh. That day is coming. It will be here in the twinkling of an eye. Will you smile when that day comes? Or will you silently weep in regret of a long gone past?