Wives, Christmas is a working day, your holiday comes in February


Us, the wives, shall roll chapatis as you bask under the morning sun with your brothers, father, sons, and uncles.

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Since Christmas is just three days away, I thought it best to remind my fellow daughters of Eve that we live in a patriarchal society. This means that a woman’s place is firmly cast in stone when it comes to holidays such as Christmas. For those who absolutely love cooking and hosting, this is not a problem. 

For the rest, please remember that this period is a holiday for the hubby and the kids, not you.

Who is it that accused me of not being supportive of men? Christmas is for you, dear husbands. You will drive us to your village, then you shall proceed to take a well-deserved break as we slave for you and your relatives.

Us, the wives, shall roll chapatis as you bask under the morning sun with your brothers, father, sons, and uncles. We shall cook a feast as the children play - forget about the lessons on helping with chores because their grandparents will not allow them to lift a finger. We and the other womenfolk will do the dishes as you, other men and children take an afternoon siesta or take a stroll to the shamba.

 Your children will be asking whether they can ride the cows and carry the calf back home as a pet, and we shall be chuckling and questioning our parenting as our backs ache with hard work and our nails break.

Oh, and the bending over we shall do will give our gym instructors a run for their money. Yes, the upside is that we will tone our backs and arms and stretch our backs. Our blood flow will be so good that even that high blood pressure that has plagued us half of the year will shape up.

Walking barefoot

In addition, if your village is typical, there will be ample grass and soft soil to walk on, barefoot. Science is making a case for the health benefits of walking barefoot, which includes an increase in antioxidants, improved immunity, and improved sleep.

Wives, it is not all work and no play, because there will be loads of laughter. Just do not expect a holiday over the Christmas festivities until past the New Year. Only expect your hubby to resume his kitchen appearances when you are back in the city. In the village, he will don a brown chaket, grey cap and join fellow men on the benches in the verandah or under a tree.

You will serve them endless tea, mandazi and goat fry as they dissect the economy, the current government, the just concluded World Cup, the Hustler Fund, the Competency-Based-Curriculum and national policy matters while you slave in the kitchen.

Political literacy

Never mind that you will be burning to contribute a point about media and political literacy, or lack thereof in the citizenry. When you do, they will pause impatiently and give you the audience, then pick up where they left off when you finally leave.

Anyway, as madams, let’s plan for our Christmas break in February. 

Then, we can book a holiday and a masseuse to attend to our aching arms as the husbands watch over the children. We can have our nails fixed, feet scrubbed and face peeled and lashes fixed. In February, we can vacay like the queens that we are. For now, please let us humble ourselves and trim our nails, braid our hair and pack deras to use in the village.

But if you are lucky, you might have a mother-in-love like mine. She will follow the norms for a moment, then one day, she will decide that’s that! No more spending Christmas bent over pots and pans. Christmas is for the family to sit, play, talk, fight and laugh together.

She will hire a caterer to do the cooking, serving and cleaning and will not raise an eyebrow if you show up like a diva on Christmas Eve and spend the festive period basking, chatting, feasting, and sipping on hot herbal concoctions to detox.

This does not, of course, take away my February Christmas. New Year festivities will still break my nails with the endless cleaning of dishes anyway.

Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage. [email protected]