‘It’s un­ac­cept­able’

CityPress - - News -

Noma Gi­gaba ad­mits that she “def­i­nitely has no bal­ance” when it comes to jug­gling work, her stud­ies, trav­el­ling and plan­ning her fam­ily’s lives. Gi­gaba, who is mar­ried to Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba, with whom she has two sons, Nkanyezi (6) and Mvelo (4), says she does her best to make her fam­ily her pri­or­ity, but this re­quires daily trade-offs.

Al­though she has help – “many peo­ple” who as­sist her with rais­ing her sons – some­times it is dif­fi­cult to get it all done. But she does it out of love for her fam­ily, and also for rea­sons of “self-ful­fil­ment and self-growth”.

The Waltzer study on women’s men­tal load and re­cent cov­er­age of the phe­nom­e­non res­onates with Gi­gaba, who says it is the “in­vis­i­ble load we carry as women”.

“But to carry it alone – it’s un­ac­cept­able and un­healthy. I don’t think it’s fair for one per­son to do ev­ery­thing,” she says.

Gi­gaba says women of­ten have to think “two or three steps in ad­vance about our fam­ily’s needs”.

She is re­luc­tant to com­plain too much about it, though, adding that her hus­band has a de­mand­ing job as fi­nance min­is­ter, which means that he trav­els a lot and, in be­tween, he has to make time for his fam­ily.

But she in­sists that, when he is around, he does help with the chil­dren.

It is im­por­tant for him to speak to his chil­dren twice a day wher­ever he is – once be­fore they leave for school in the morn­ing and again to wish them good­night be­fore they go to bed.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that the kids don’t con­nect with him while he trav­els,” she says, adding that when their fa­ther is at home, they take turns to drop the chil­dren at school and help them with their home­work.

“So I do what I can. I get help when I need it and when he’s around, he takes over,” she says.

Her take on men who don’t share the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of par­ent­ing and house­hold chores is that we live in a time where we have to work to­gether as part­ners.

How­ever, she ac­knowl­edges that many men still need to get used to the idea that they also need to as­sume some re­spon­si­bil­ity for what needs to be done.

“Some­times you might need to clar­ify what you need your hus­band to help out with. Hus­bands must par­tic­i­pate; get the kids in­volved too,” she says. “There are suit­able chores for kids that can teach them re­spon­si­bil­ity from a young age.”

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