Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All On Our Own

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Our cleaner quit. Not in that respectful, thanks for everything but I'm ready to move on kind of way but in a I'll just not show up and that will tell them I'm not showing up ever again way. Which is awful. Bo and I have always had a cleaner. This guy. He comes in once a week and does a phenomenal and thorough, almost clinical job of cleaning our apartment. He took a break once and we hired a replacement in the meantime and she was horrible. I had dried water droplets on pretty much everything. Our cleaner (I'll call him Oye) came back and all was well with the world. I helped him develop his business ideas and Bo gave him free financial advice. And now he has quit. Without telling us.

I hate domestic staff, i.e maids, maiguards, stewards, drivers, all. Luckily Bo and I agree very much on this so as long as we can't absolutely live our lives without staff, we won't have them. It really isn't about child labour (which is quite frankly a good thing to keep in mind) or any activist reason but I like my personal space and I don't like strange people in it with all the faux bowing madam/servant dynamics. It's just not for me. Also I've decided that I actually don't like or enjoy training any illiterate person. Nothing against them personally but it's just not for me. So we have what's almost a no domestics vow in our household. The only aspect on which we give on this is the cleaner. But the caveat is/was no live-in person, and a very professional service which we got with Oye.

I know many Nigerian ladies equate getting married with being the big madam and you can't be a madam without someone "madame-ing" you. I have a friend who hired a second driver and a maid the second she got engaged (I'm exaggerating on the time but not by much). Yet another who has 2 drivers, a gateman, 2 maids and a nanny living with her and she just got married in March! They have no kids yet and the nanny is in anticipation of her getting pregnant this year. It seems such an odd thing that we as a society so readily accept strangers into our homes, even still when we all have heard all sorts of stories about such strangers. I had a friend who's gateman ran away with all her jewelry and stories are abound. I think to myself of course, they are strangers! They don't know you and you don't really know them. I'll just never understand it. When I have kids, I'm going to try and raise them on my own but of course I know absolutely nothing about that phase of life so who knows, maybe I'll change my mind. I'm determined not to though.

Since Oye left, my babe and I have tried to take on cleaning our apartment as a task. Last week I swept the whole house myself with our local broom and my backsides hurt for days! And Bo is just a Godsend of a husband. He most absolutely holds his own share of the domestic tasks. He probably even does more than me (and always has even with the cleaner). I'm so amazed at him and while I say thank you to him with kisses as he works around the house, I try not to let it show how overly excited I am that my husband is not one of those that leaves their clothes or shoes lying about. So we were kind of cute last weekend dividing up the house tasks. We're so determined to make it work. So he sweeps (he says he prefers sweeping to mopping), he sweeps and I mop. He does our toilet and bath I do the guest toilet and bath, I clean the mirrors in the living room, he cleans the mirrors in the bedroom. He also does dishes every night after I cook, and almost always does the laundry. We're like a little team BoKem! I love my man so much. To me he seems like more man than any other man I know if that makes sense. I think it takes a bigger man to do all those things. It takes a bigger man to step up to the plate with his woman and be her true partner in everything.

Even though we're definitely in the market for a new cleaner, I'm looking forward to us doing this together and figuring out a way to maintain the cleanliness of our home at a standard we want. We're fully on our own, which in Nigeria as a newly married couple, I think is somewhat of a feat.

Ok on a lighter note, my dorky (read I think he's cute lol) hubby just came into the room and said want to hear an investment banking joke?

So imagine you've been working late, you're extremely tired, you barely drag your feet to the station to take the last bus which is full and crowdy. Everyone's quiet and you start to doze off because you're so tired. An older woman walks into the bus and tries to make eye contact with someone who would offer her a seat on the bus, what do you do?

A: Nothing. You're an investment banker, you wouldn't be on a bus!



Eve said...

I totally agree with this post...couldn't have said it better myself. When i have this discussion with my friends about having domestic workers in my home ..and how i'm totally against having a complete stranger living with me and taking care of my children

They assume it's because i didn't grow up in nigeria ..i do like the once in a week cleaner..that's not a bad idea especially if you're both really busy.

and i hate the madam mentality nigerian women adapt..especially the young ones ..its sickening lol!!!!

all the best with finding a replacement

braids said...

I co-sign with you and Eve on th Big Madam mentality nigerian women want to adapt once married. Its in my opinion rather pathetic.
So many of them view marriage as being the Big Madam or maybe I've been watching too many Nollywood movies.

Personally I don't like strangers or pretty much anyone for that matter up in my personal space but even in good ole England I wouldn't mind someone coming to clean once a week.

Lucky you with regards to the husband.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the 'Madam' thing! It's crazy lol....

I live in England and oh boy do I dream of a Houseboy, Nanny, Calabar cook (I love the food!) and everything else. But I know that I wouldn't be able to do it as I am also very funny about strangers being in my space. I do the weekly cleaning service too. It's great! Not sure how I will cope in Nigeria when we eventually move out there. So please keep us posted on your progress ;-)

On the job sharing front - that's great! You guys are too cute. We split the tasks based on what we don't like doing - he does the ironing and I do the dishes! Cooking luckily is split 60/40 in his favour so not too bad.

Hope you find a good replacement!

H said...

LOL...funny joke.
He just up-ed and left?...they do that these days...its ridiculous. U make a lotta sense with domestic help but honestly, sometimes its necessary, with kids, work 9 - 5. A big house. Well just 2 though, the guard and the house help. I'm really feeling the whole cleaner once a week idea though. I just might adopt it.
But then again, u're lucky with Bo, very few men would assist around the house.

QMoney said...

Except ur office has a creche,mat leave is 3months in naija....I don't tink u'll fancy droppin ur baby with WORSE strangers(dat I hear drug d kids to sleep all day) as opposed to d one dat@ least lives in ur house....dependn on where u live&work,a driver is needed..don't undastand d need for 2 though,wen a baby comes,there are some tasks that can't be shared e.g waking up in d middle of d nite to breastfeed:)..d whole madam thing is crap I's all good tho

Myne Whitman said...

I hope you guys find a replacement. I split duties with hubby too, don't even have a need to have someone come in. As for your cleaner, don't you have his number?

Anonymous said...

Oye didn't do well @ all...he should have @ least given some notice...I hope he's not in some kind of trouble (eg. had an accident/got arrested).

I like the idea of helps coming and going, even though I grew up having live-in helps.

My hubby is fantastic @ helping with chores too...practically always does the dishes, vacuuming, and bathroom cleaning...I truly believe we r blessed with such men.

Amy said...

A cleaner sounds like a fabulous idea. I just wish it were as affordable in the states as it is in Naija. I hope you find a good replacement.

P.E.T said...

There's absolutely nothing wrong in getting a driver especially if you're combining a lot of things - working,schooling etc, but 2 drivers?

I fervently pray that I marry a guy who is willing to lend a helping hand as far as chores are concerned. I grew up watching my father do it and It would be difficult to adjust to a partner who doesnt understand it.

Dami B! said...

hmmn!....lucky you....i pray i get a man that is willing n will gracefully help with the housechores....from my mouth to God's ears

Goodluck with finding a new cleaners....

BTW, u hubby seem like a nerd...judging from his joke..

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