This is a touchy subject in African context where men are not expected to lift a finger at home.
They don’t even know how to do it since their orientation is that it is not part of their work.
When they are young any boy that shows a slight interest in cooking would be rebuked that he should not behave like a woman so he draws back and maintains his role as a man.
The fear is that the boys showing interest in cooking would become effeminate, and no parents would want that. They are aware of those men that tie wrapper and head scarf, fry yam and egg while behaving like women in an exaggerated manner.
Boys would be allowed to sweep but not to wash dishes, as one man said he warned his wife not to make their 11-year-old son wash dishes when he saw him seating on a stool with pile of dishes and pots to wash.
“Men don’t wash dishes in our culture and you know it,” he said.
Times have however changed and some men feel that it is alright to lend a hand at home, especially those that live far from home and don’t have house helps or relations to help them.
I saw a picture of one man who washed baby’s cloths while the wife slept and this would definitely generate a debate.
This depends on if the wife is sick or pregnant, because for the husband to do such work while the wife sleeps may send the wrong impression that she is lazy or she takes the husband for granted.
A real life case is where the wife, a mother of four sleeps in the morning while the husband tends to the needs of the children, as young as two-year-old. He prepares breakfast for them, soothes them when they cry and so on. The excuse is that the wife sleeps late and it is her habit!
But must she be indulged? The husband’s relations are not happy; they say she has turned him into a ‘nanny’.
“Everybody knows that it is the mother that takes care of the children, why couldn’t you wake her up to feed them?,” his elder sister demanded.
As such while it is good for the husband to help at home, he should not be turned into a real domestic servant to the extent where he would be mocked.
Mothers in particular would not take kindly to see their sons turned into house helps, so to say.
Some years ago, a young man complained that his brother entered the kitchen and prepared pap himself, but the mother was very understanding. She said sometimes those things have to do with individuals, saying her other two sons might not do that.
So it is not necessary due to love portion suspected to be used by some women to make their husbands do their biddings.
And this was at a time that men hardly entered the kitchen, it was the complete preserve of the women. Even the water to drink the wives have to bring them. They would not get the water themselves.
Nowadays even the men that can’t cook know how to cook noodles, so it is easy for them to prepare for themselves or the children if the wife is not around, but for many it ends there. They would not wash the dishes and pots.
Since in order to achieve a harmonious living in marriage both spouses have to contribute, it is good to put hands together to build a happy home by the husbands taking part in domestic work.
One man said he dressed the children in the morning while the wife was in the kitchen preparing breakfast and lunch box.
In this regard it is all for the family if it is done well and not abused.