When hubby works from home – meet Esther Kendi and husband Caleb Muthee
Caleb Muthee and his wife Eunice Kendi have been together for the last two years. But while Caleb works from home, his wife has an 8-5 job at an advertising agency.
Caleb has a company called, Wiwu Afrika, an information technology product service provider that develops IT systems software. His company also offers hardware solutions and repairs computers.
Working from home means more free time and ability to manage his work. “Since my wife is working and also furthering her education, she gets out of the house by 5am and is back by 11pm.
On my side, my company has grown to the level where I travel a lot since I have clients from different regions. For the times I attend to clients outside our home, I usually leave the house at 3am and get back by 12 midnight,” says Caleb.
Limited job opportunities, a desire to have freedom of work and pursue one’s interests have seen some people become digital nomads, operating from home or wherever they could be at any specific time.
According to Gladys Nyachieo, sociology lecturer at Multimedia University, this has brought changes in gender roles. “In some families, you’ll find the man taking care of the children and even handling house chores just to allow the wife to pursue her career.
Others, despite the freedom they have in their hands, might still be holding onto tradition where the woman has to handle house chores even if she works outside the home,” Nyachieo explains.
Caleb and his wife firmly hold onto their Meru traditions, which upholds that each spouse performs their roles. This means that even as Kendi works and study at the same time, she has to make sure the house is in order although they have a house help.
“House chores are never an issue to me. I believe that despite the fact that I’m working and have my ambitions, I still have to carry my duties as a woman,” says Kendi.
Caleb is proud to watch his wife pursue her goals. And as a man of the house, he solely provides for the family and his wife has a choice whether to chip in or not. “Her money is her money.
My duty as a man is to provide for my house, period. When it comes to house chores, she does what her role is and that’s clear,” he says.
Their relationship began in their campus years and as a result they have a six-year-old daughter, Tiffany.
“We have family time mainly over the weekends and holidays. This is what we learnt from our parents and we are passing it on to her,” Caleb says.
At a time when working mothers are concerned about how their children are treated by house helps, Kendi need not worry. Her husband keeps a keen eye on their child, even as he goes through his day’s work.
She looks at her husband’s work as a blessing and feels he is more productive at home running his business than having an eight to five job.
However, the main disadvantage is that when she has a day off or on leave, she finds herself distracting him while he works at home something, which annoys him. “When we are both in the house, it becomes so hard for him to work due to distractions,” she says.
Experts advise that couples give each other space. If you don’t have a separate office, find a quiet corner rather than colonising, say a living room, then complaining it’s too noisy.
Elephant in the room
But while Caleb and Kendi are fine with their work set-up, not many women are comfortable leaving their husbands to work from home. One woman recently lamented on a popular Facebook page, Kilimani Mums how her husband ended up having an affair with the house help.
According to Stephen Kariuki, a marriage counsellor, such instances occur when a man is a natural cheat and can’t control his urges. These men don’t have boundaries and can cheat with anyone, not necessarily a house help.
“To some men, sex means power regardless of which woman they have it with. Such men have no sense of guilt when cheating,” he says.
It also happens when the man is insecure and feels as if some of his needs are not met. They may also feel they are neglected by their 8-5 working women. Some might do it as an act of revenge to their wives— to seek attention. Others are insecure, especially when wives make more money than them.
Nyachieo advises couples with this form of set-up to ensure they make time to spend with each other and their children, as being busy might be the death of a marriage. “They should build memories together, have fun moments with each other and support one another,” concludes Nyachieo.