What you need to know:
- A woman may host people in her beautiful home but spend more time in the kitchen with her dishes than with her guests.
- To quote the words of a medic in one of the panels, if you don't rest, your body will force you to.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for women, ‘tis the season to don their Proverbs 31 superhero capes and start hosting, smiling, cooking, and cleaning. Proverbs 31 describes a woman skilled in managing her household, providing for her family, and preparing for the future, among other superhuman attributes.
I have just one wish for these women this Christmas season: please rest.
I understand that rest has been a four-letter word for most women since time immemorial and, therefore, requires substantial unlearning. I appreciated this even more during a recent Athena Mentorship programme function hosted by Ambassador Dr Monica Juma.
The event brought together accomplished women and men in diverse sectors, including security, diplomacy, energy, health, finance, the Judiciary, technology, and media.
During panel discussions, where critical aspects that drive gender equity were illuminated, a common theme emerged, transcending age, race, profession, and nationality: women share a peculiar and strained relationship with rest.
"I used to be bothered by dirty dishes in the sink when I was younger. I couldn't sit still or sleep until I had washed each of them, leaving them sparkling clean. However, as I grew older, I realised nothing would happen if the dishes remained dirty for one night. Nowadays, I sleep comfortably even with a mountain of dishes piled up in the sink," shared one panellist, a high achiever in her 50s.
It struck me how much our socialisation has led us to equate rest with laziness. I can hear my mother's voice in my head every time I attempt to be a couch potato and watch Netflix. Even the idea of a holiday sometimes feels like a colossal waste of money. This is why a woman may host people in her beautiful home but spend more time in the kitchen with her dishes than with her guests.
So, dear women, please rest this Christmas, whatever that means for you. If it means a holiday in Mombasa, do it. If it means letting someone else do the cooking, do it. If it means letting the dirty dishes sit in the kitchen, do it. If it means a siesta, do it, sister. As the wise say, rest is medicine. And to quote the words of a medic in one of the panels, if you don't rest, your body will force you to.
* * *
Lessons from Barbados
Alexander McDonald, Barbados' High Commissioner to Kenya, was a speaker at the Athena Mentorship event, and he reiterated that the world needed more confident men who were not threatened by the success of women. His country serves as a shining example of what happens when women have power: they distribute it, share it, and use it for good. Barbados is led by a female president, prime minister, and deputy prime minister, all trailblazers transforming their country.
The writer comments on gender and social topics (@FaithOneya; [email protected]).