Bassey: Making Of An Uncommon Housewife
UBOHO Bassey is a woman who has discovered herself and is set to help others reach self-actualisation. She is the ‘uncommon’ housewife, who chooses to put her experiences into an inspiring and compelling story. To her, being a woman goes beyond just raising a family.
It is about confronting fears and peculiar circumstances, and also triumphing. She said the task before everywoman is to conquer and earn a new name, and that will make her uncommon.
Having been inspired herself by other women who had seen it all, she speaks through her personal experiences, that God, who opened new doors of opportunities for her with the birth of her chronicle, can also help other women take charge of their lives and situations and triumph over all of life’s limitations.
In choosing to write, she said she rejected silence. For every dream in her heart, every promise that had taken root, her conviction had been that they would grow for a reason within each season.
To set out, she was provoked to depart from the way others had perceived her over time. And she set sail to unveil a rich deposit of inner strength, which has helped her to overcome challenges and obstacles. She is convinced that beyond this point, many more exciting chapters are waiting to be unveiled.
She told an audience that; “One of the hardest aspects of making a huge change in life is shifting from the way others see you to the way you see yourself. To me, to be uncommon means being determined, focused, persevering and extra-ordinary. This is the clear message behind my book, ‘The Uncommon Housewife.’ Why should the word ‘housewife’ have a negative connotation in Nigeria? Why should being a housewife be spoken of in such a condescending manner? Does the fact that a woman stays at home to raise a family, instead of pursuing a career make her less worthy of respect and regard? Why do references to housewives always sound denigrating and embarrassing from husbands, children, friends, relations and society? Putting pen on paper is definitely not easy. This means that writing a book and finishing it in record time does not come easy, especially when you are a housewife.
“In other words, being a housewife is also not easy thing because of the responsibility of attending to children and house chores. Ask any full time house wife and she will tell you, its task-laden and very stressful because a housewife walks several hundreds of miles attending to the needs of everyone, including hers just by moving within her hut, flat, household or family compound,” she says.
Uboho says she chose the title as a deliberate attempt to bring attention to, as well as challenge society to look beyond the general perceptions about housewives, many of whom have been forced by negative circumstances to live in contrast to their lives’ visions.
She recalls feeling let down and unworthy for a long while because she was a housewife for several years and had thought the world was moving ahead without her. This book is, therefore, an encouragement for those feeling let down.
“That despite my perceived irrelevance or indolence, my mind remained vibrant is worth telling. So, let no one tell you that you are ordinary. We are not created common, which is the message I proclaim loudly. It aims at reinforcing the fact that anyone can come out of whatever challenge to achieve their dreams as housewives.”
Uboho explains that many housewives are desperately in need of self-actualisation and self-worth.
“Like the lost sheep, some housewives are lost, oppressed, maltreated, desecrated and abused on account of the fact that they are housewives. All this is detrimental to their goals in life. Although it is no longer fashionable for a woman to sit at home doing nothing, but a housewife can still remain relevant and contribute meaningfully. This she can do by engaging in any form of home-based businesses, such as selling by the roadside, in-house trading, supplying homes and offices, as well as joining the host of Internet or on-line marketers among others.”
By doing all this, the focused housewife is able to balance family life with industry, especially when children are in school, she says. That way, her personal needs are met, while the husband and children have been well attended to and everyone is happy and life goes on.
She, therefore, calls on women going through this experience not to be distracted or devastated by the actions of their spouses, parents, close relations or friends, who though, may be well-meaning, but are not going about it in the right way.
“You may have to ignore them in order to proceed to the next level. Only few people are going to encourage you to change your status quo. They want you to be forever dependent on them and to be stuck so that their control can be maximised,” she urges.
Drawing inspiration from, another book, “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren, she believes God allows us to go through painful experiences in order to equip us to be able to minister to others. And that anyone who truly desires to be used by God, must first understand the powerful truth that the very experiences that you have resented or regretted most in life or the very ones you feel like hiding and forgetting are the very ones that God wants to use to help others going through similar challenges. And this invariably becomes the person’s ministry.
“The Bible says, ‘He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort that God has given us”.
Another interesting aspect of Uboho is that she never thought or dreamed of writing a book.
“I discovered I found healing released from pouring my soul onto paper. I was only bent on finding paid employment after raising my kids. So, I had time on my hands and I wrote profusely, often sharing some snippets on social media with friends, who encouraged me with praises. However, people came along and were greatly inspired by my writings. They saw the passion behind my fear and self-doubt. They cheered on my little victories, critiqued me whenever necessary and coaxed me out of my shell. I developed new confidence and courage. I also remember an esteemed friend telling me, ‘I write so beautifully’. Those words were like a sweet coronation. That was the wind that helped my ship set sail, ” she says.
While acknowledging that it is often difficult to control people’s treatment of you, she said you can control how you react to it.
“Use the bricks of hate, abuse, discouragements and disappointments that life throws at you to build a bridge or a castle of change. This is an advice I got from a revered friend and God directed my silent frustrations into words,”
Uboho has always been a housewife. Her spouse had insisted, that she stayed at home and dedicates her time fully to raising their children. This seemingly simple decision turned out to be an agonising one for her. But it also equipped her for her new role.
She urges other housewives and influences them to take their destiny in their hands and live life to the fullest.
“They should look inward and they will discover something new. By thinking deeply, they will realise they’ve got what it takes. When God created you, He gave you something special. The strength that lies within you will propel you to run with that vision, that dream. Yes, you can!”
Drawing strength from the relative success of her book, she clearly sees that her life’s dreams are only just unfolding.
“Wherever my path leads, I would love those I meet to leave with feelings of being truly blessed, lifted, motivated, and hopeful of achieving success in their challenging situations and thus, understand the full meaning of perseverance. This, is my personal mission statement and I wish everyone would have one in consonance with his or her purpose in life,” she says.
Having been at home for long, she is advocating that housewives should not be made to stay permanently in this condition. Rather, they should be given the opportunity to return to active work life after being away for some years, should they desire it. This, opportunity should be for those who desire to be reintegrated from where they left off in their career, especially, if they have updated their skills.
“In my case, I went on to pursue an MBA, 20 years after my first degree, sadly, it gave me no leverage to find employment. I believe every housewife should be computer literate and be abreast of happenings around them. Otherwise, the very family they have sacrificed everything for will leave them behind, thereby fueling feelings of unworthiness, regrets, loss of esteem and depression.”
In addition, she thinks every housewife must of necessity maintain her sanity. It is a duty she owes her family, friends and society. Not fulfilling one’s dreams may lead to unhealthy emotions of frustrations, anger, resentment and denials from one’s family. Hence, the need to forget the past and move on with renewed hope.
She describes the Nigerian woman as strong, dedicated with very high ideals and dedication towards family and the country.
“I believe in the Nigerian woman. I believe in her strength, ability and capabilities. We are a nation of strong women, a people for the world to see. We are the mothers of our great nation. That, in summary is the Nigerian women, and I am proud and highly privileged to be one!”
Uboho comes from Akwa Ibom and is from a humble background. Her dad retired as a school principal. Mum raised all nine of them with iron hand, instilling virtues of integrity, passion for excellence and desire for God.
“We were not spared by both of our parents. The cane was often used to keep us in the path of goodness. The words of advice after prayers on our resumption to boarding school after each term was, ‘Remember the child of whom you are.’
She loves being around people who motivate and encourage her.
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