Are you in the habit of rushing to work and equally rushing home because there is so much to do both at home and at work? Ever went to bed tired ignoring so many things in the bedroom and kitchen needing your attention, only to be interrupted a few hours later by the sound from your alarm clock? Do you always leave the house with more chores needing your attention that you carry part of your makeup/shoes and scarves to the office to dress appropriately later? Do you sometimes wish you could be in two or three places all at once? Are you a mother that works? Because if you are, then you'll appreciate and understand why there is a need to talk about how hard each day is for this superwoman called the "working mom".
Working Moms Nigeria is an endeavors to help women strike a healthy balance between earning a living and maintaining a good home.

Dedicated to all the women who are juggling work and family. You too can be a part of this mind boggling experience by joining millions of ‘superheroes out there in sharing in their trails and travails. Welcome!!!

22 November 2011


Amid the press crush, the tabloid drivel and the personal empathy I felt for her, I found some time to take an objective review of Kate Henshaw-Nuttal's rumoured divorce and this is what I have to say. 
In our society, there has always been a reprehensible tendency to blame the wife in these situations. We place all kinds of blame on any woman whose marriage has failed.  We say “She's neglectful of her sexual responsibilities”, “She was too young, too old, too busy with career/children”, or “She was not enlightened enough to accept that men are just naturally inclined to spread their seed.”  
It is an insane situation for us women. Some of the women I have dealt with were very good wives who simply ended up with the wrong kind of men. Some were even highly successful yet very submissive to their husbands.  These women were everything you could possibly ask for - beautiful, smart, passionate, talented, interesting...one should be so lucky.  Sex is awesome, flirting is fun and a good woman can offer that and so much more, like the amazing value she brings to raising and sharing a strong family.  I may not be privy to the real reason why Kate and her husband of 12 years may be getting divorced, but I do know as the saying goes, “the thought with which a mad man killed himself, was not formed over one day.”  As a woman, a wife, and a mother of 3 children, I know that before any Nigerian woman contemplates divorce, she would have endured a lot. Some men are true chumps for not valuing the gems in their lives.
Don't get me wrong, I am not an advocate of divorce, but I am really tired of our women living a lie, pretending to be married when there is no connection left with the spouse. A friend once told me that, "Most Nigerian women are not yet self sufficient and that is why the men cheat on them and treat them as they like".  Well I can speak for myself.  I am a Nigerian woman and I am self- sufficient.  I married the man of my dream and he values our relationship.  I know also that a lot of women like me must have seen worse things than Kate in their marriages but they hang in there and never contemplate divorce.  How do I know? The reasons they give for staying in bad marriages: “It is against my faith; because of my children; what will people say; how will I be perceived by the society?”  And so the woman remains in a marriage where she is battered, denied emotional support and disrespected by her spouse.  Some even end up nursing their husbands’ love children, born from the seeds of infidelity... hmm.  So many, like Titi Arowolo have died in the process.  Died from physical and emotional violence and died in their silence.  Some are still alive but shadows of their true selves.  Need I say more?  There has to be a way out when the woman is pushed flat to the wall.

The often blamed culprit for eventual separation is infidelity, on the husbands’ part.  Even then, it has become clear that when high-profile husbands cheat, their wives come under just as much scrutiny. If we take for instance, the news circulating blogsville about Mr. Roderick Nuttal's escapades with women, (latest being that his secretary is 8 months pregnant with his child) Kate Henshaw herself came under attack!  Statements like “She has been too busy with her career.”  “She does not have time for her marriage.”  “She was too busy to know when her husband was slipping out of her hands.”  “She should stick with him for better or for worse.”  Excuse me?  What happened to the vow of fidelity they took?  And even if she had been guilty of neglect, he too had vowed to stick with her through thick and thin.  It’s a two-way street, so no deal on the buck-passing.  Without a doubt, Kate Henshaw loved Roderick Nuttal so much that, from the very beginning of their relationship, she was willing to do whatever it took, including facing the public disapproval of her marriage to a foreigner.  She stood by her guy and, in the beginning, it looked like he stood by her. They didn't expose themselves to her fans, like many celebrities would. Kate and Roderick's marriage was one of the best Nollywood marriages on record. She managed to keep her family away from the public glare.  They had both really set the tone of their love and devotion, their willingness to go the distance to keep their love alive.  Then, the rumours started. Cracks were visible and the lovey-dovey Kate and Roderick ground to a halt.  Now not only is it heart wrenching, but even worse is the humiliation of feeling exposed and looking like a fool in everyone's eyes. While anyone who is dealing with the aftermath of deception goes through this in dealing with their family, friends and colleagues, the magnitude of exposure for a celebrity under the glare of the spotlight can, at times, accelerate the incineration of a marriage. Reading through Kate's Column in the Vanguard, she did explain that celebrities are not superhuman.  They also go through pain and anguish. For some couples who actually fight through it and heal, their marriages get stronger. For others (many others), the hurt, anguish, rejection, and rage from the broken trust are simply too much to overcome.  One of the most painful experiences in life is betrayal. It always triggers the knee jerk response... “How could you do this to me?'

Citing similar international cases, when daily rumors of Ashton Kutcher's dalliances surfaced, Demi Moore's age came under the microscope. Can she ‘keep’ him? Is she just too old for him? Last week Thursday, in a few tactful sentences, she stopped the madness.  
"As a woman, a mother and a wife, there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life," said Moore in a statement to the press on Thursday.  In addition to making it clear that she was the one ending her six-year marriage to Ashton, she also set the record straight: it's not that she's too old, it's that he's too young.
If her dignified statement didn't make that apparent enough, his follow-up (on Twitter no less) drove the point home: "Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world". That's all you got, Ashton?
Moore is a veteran of high-profile marriages and weathered her divorce from Bruce Willis, the father of her three daughters, better than any other in the business. They're friends, supporters, and have managed to put their family before their romantic drama. That is, until now.
Moore's brief statement on Ashton's cheating scandal proved she's still putting family before ‘keeping her man.’ And her address belongs in a hall of fame of strong women who've publicly handled their misbehaving husbands with aplomb.

Another case would be Maria Shriver’s. After Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a secret love-child with his family's housekeeper, wife Maria Shriver faced criticism of her own. Was she too permissive? How could she not know?
But she combated her critics with actions and a swift statement. She left the couple's home, filed for divorce and said succinctly, "This is a painful and heartbreaking time. As a mother, my concern is for the children." The message: he did this not just to her but to her family.
In public cheating scandals, it's an important delineation to make, and one that rests in the hands of the scorned wife. This is more than a romantic misstep, it's an affront to the family.
While Shriver has avoided bashing her husband publicly, she did get a subtle jab in during Oprah's farewell episodes, praising the talk show host for always telling ‘the truth’.  She said it all without saying anything directly, and as a mother it spoke of her integrity.

Similarly, when John Edwards' long-term affair and secret love-child came to light, his late wife Elizabeth Edwards emerged from the murky waters of her husband's scandal with a graceful statement.  "Our family has been through a lot. Some caused by nature, some caused by human weakness, and some most recently caused by the desire for sensationalism and profit without any regard for the human consequences," she said. "John made a terrible mistake in 2006. The fact that it is a mistake that many others have made before him did not make it any easier for me to hear when he told me what he had done. But he did tell me. And we began a long and painful process in 2006, a process oddly made somewhat easier with my diagnosis in March of 2007."
Like Moore and Shriver, Edwards made it clear it was her husband's own weaknesses that drove him to let their family down. At the same time, she touched on how much more she was grappling with beyond his stupid mistakes.

Tiger Woods' ex-wife Elin Nordgren waited almost a year to craft her public statement to the press about her husband's countless infidelities. As rubber-necks speculated what went wrong and misplaced the blame, (Was she too pretty? Was she not giving him what he needed? Are all men just born cheaters?) Nordgren, quietly waited for the right moment to reveal her feelings about the father of her children. In an interview with People Magazine, she too invoked her family. "For the last three-and-a-half years, when all this was going on, I was home a lot more with pregnancies, then the children and my school," she said, adding, "I also feel stronger than I ever have. I have confidence in my beliefs, my decisions and myself."
So however much hurt the cheated wife feels, she must craft her statements wisely and focus on the greater good of the family than on her own pain.  Such strength!

That said, it really does depend on the two people going through the ordeal.   Couples must evaluate the relationship they have with each other, the love they share, the time and history they have spent together to determine if it is worth it to try to repair the damage.  
Kate now says that she's come to the end of the road, when she tells Encomium "whatever has a beginning must have an end".  It seems that perhaps the obstacles to rebuilding broken trust no longer seem surmountable.  So while Kate may have vowed to marry Roderick for better or worse, he too may have broken those shared vows with her, and it is understandable that, for her own emotional preservation, she is now looking to honour and be true to herself first, even if it means ending her marriage.  This decision appears to have come after a prolonged period of pain, one that Kate has given great thought to and after she gave the marriage the chance to recover.
Sometimes, it is not so much the public humiliation as much as what it means to one's own self esteem that makes all the difference in the end.  So ending the marriage can become the beginning of reclaiming your lost self esteem. Who knows if that's the case here...  Either way, we wish them the best. In a recent interview, Kate said, "Well, I am a well brought up woman.  Marriage or divorce does not define me. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I am strong, confident, and a hard working woman, I will continue to be a good mom to our daughter.”  And that, I think should be the end of that.

To quote a few women who have survived divorce:
“Divorce is never pretty.  As the wife of a man who cheated, it's something that you can never get over. It breaks your heart in two.  I wasn't there for him (his quote), because I was too busy raising his three children (whom he didn't have time for). I wasn't financially sound; I was a house wife for 23yrs.  I left because it never leaves your mind.  Every time he's out somewhere you’re thinking, “Is he with her?” When you take a vow it is supposed to mean something, if you don't plan on keeping it then don’t take it.  It's just not the person that you’re married to, it's the whole family that gets destroyed in the process.  And for what?  Just because his ego was hurt, or because he was going through a mid-life crisis?  Whether you’re male or female cheating breaks the heart, in the most devastating way.”

“Unless you have been there, you can't understand what it takes to move on. Betrayal is the worst possible feeling. When you are married and have trusted and depended on this person, to suddenly know that someone else was sharing his thoughts and love, (it's not all about the physical) you are hurt in a way you never thought possible. Being through it I can only explain it as; your past is a lie, your present is in turmoil and your future is uncertain. The fault lies totally on the cheater. Divorce if you are unhappy and then move on.”

Kate and Roderick on her 40th Birthday Celebration.
WM will like to know your opinion about this divorce event, Please send in your comments.

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