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He is the breadwinner and you are the bread eater. Each month unfailingly he gives you a monthly allowance and you fall within the lucky group of women where there is some change left to buy Aso-ebi or fund a gift to yourself or whoever you choose. You may even be fortunate to save some of the extra cash into your account. You stock up the provisions for each month but you have no idea of what is in your freezer. Your Housekeeper does all your shopping for you.

You have a set of triplets and there is a nanny for each one. They sleep with the babies. You don’t.

The house help knows where the extra brooms and other household things are kept. She/he knows when to call in the plumber. She can even change the light bulb. She actually knows where the meters are. You don’t.

The  driver you employed knows when to service the car and he is the one with the number of the workshop of the mechanic. He knows where it is located. He is responsible for the renewal of the particulars of the vehicle. He drives you don’t.

You have to confirm from the cook if you still have rice in the store or if you have cow leg in the Freezer.  Cook knows all the details, you don’t.

The House keeper knows which key opens the kitchen door and which opens the padlock to the gate. She can start the generator; you can’t.

All you do each day is look good and glamorous; a reflection of his wealth and status. I hope you know that all those people managing your home affairs can set you up! Yes you are an easy target for a coup. You are easily replaceable!

On the other hand, you are one of those who wonder ‘Why can’t we just go on strike! Demand for extra days, extra weeks or just an extra pair of arms. Your work is 24/7; you are the first to rise each day and the last to go to bed. And even when asleep, the brain continues to tick despite the extra dose of codeine consumed to make you forget the challenges that will be faced the next day.

You are both breadwinners; no extra cash to fall through the cracks. You have to do the daily, weekly shopping and give and account of it. You run out of salt unless you are friends with your neighbour, otherwise you would probably have to go to the market to get it or risk cooking the meal without it and suffer the gaze your husband has for you for being forgetful.

Your day is a constant battle. Imagine that you have spent the night trying to get your triplets to sleep. Finally when they decide it’s time to sleep you realize that it’s time to get ready for work. You first go to the room of the house help who just joined you a week ago. She is not in the room. You look around and realize she has packed her things. You bathe each cranky triplet feed them and put them in their chairs. You go wake your husband up and tell him your dilemma. ‘Sort it out yourself’ is the response from him

You arrange them in the car get in and pray as you start your engine. The ignition roars to life; you thank God and drive your triplets to the emergency day care. They remind you that you still owe them N5k; there is no room for argument. You open your wallet and give them the N5k leaving you with N2k. You drop their things and realize you forgot to pack the diapers. You just hand over another N1k and beg they are given good care. That is sorted out.

N1k left in your wallet is used to fill up your tank. You are hungry and its 10’o clock. Fortunately it’s someone’s birthday in your office, that is lunch and supper. You begin to think of what to cook for your husband. The tuber of yam will do. You will sort it out.

Later you remember to call the agent for another househelp he promised you in two weeks time. That means you are to sort it out yourself till one resumes. You can’t afford the dare care. You can’t call your husband because he will tell you to sort it out .You call your mother instead, she promises to come to your rescue and comments  that she loses weight whenever she stays with you. At least that is sorted out.

On your way home from the office you pick your mom first because you know she will lend you some money. She does. You go to the market buy a few things to cook. You load some credit on the meter for electricity. You buy a keg of fuel and you finally end up at the day care and pick up your triplets.

The A.C in the car packs up and you can not wind down your windows because it is dark. Hot sweaty and irritable you all arrive home safely. It is 9pm . You are too tired to cook but still go ahead and prepare something.

Your mum has settled in front of the TV waiting for her supper as she gists away on her phone lamenting to her friends that she is back in your house like she is in jail. The triplets require attention.

You are irreplaceable!

Iyabo Fahm