The secret is out! There is no good woman, only misguided notions


She is a good woman.

She is not a good woman.

These are words I have heard used to sum up the worth of many women. I had not thought much about this topic until I listened to an intriguing convo from fav YouTubers The Three Queens of Africa. (Side note: You need to check out these three queens. They are fabulously endearing.)

Back to the topic.

Every woman is confronted with the pressure to fit into prescribed standards of being “a good woman”. You see, there is a prize attached to the eventual conformity to this goodness; a good woman makes a good wife and a good mother. I do not know how well you fit into this simple yet intricate social construct.  From whose lenses do you gauge your goodness or lack of it? Yours? Society’s? Both?

So, what does the society say a good woman is?

She has a mute dress code

Dress code and morality are variables that we have been conditioned to view as two sides of a coin; you either have one or the other, not both. Clothes have constantly been used to symbolise values. A woman in a mini skirt is viewed as seductive; those with crop tops as attention seekers. Having piercings and tatoos decrease your chances of winning the elusive tag.

A “good woman” does not distract or provoke with her dress code.  I have come across a litter of comments blaming women who have suffered rape or sexual assault. They are told that they were “begging for it” because of how they dressed.

She should be hooked

Society does not consider a single woman good enough. It has the misguided thought that being single is equivalent to emptinessThe rule book states that by a certain age, a good woman must have met her prince charming and left in a shining armour. She must aspire for marriage, as that is the crown for her femininity.

I was part of a discussion about Lupita. Our conversation was marked by a constant bemusement at her high-flying career, natural beauty, modesty and influential stature world over.  I was perturbed by an anti-climaxing comment made as we ended our discussion: kuolewa tu ndio imebaki. All the accolades from her stellar career were watered down by her inability to be good enough to get a suitor. As if marriage is mandatory. As if it has a deadline.

She should guard a man’s ego

A good woman takes care of her man’s ego. We are brought up knowing how fragile and delicate this thing – a man’s greatest possession – is. That is why some of you find it abominable to pay your partner’s bus fare. What do you do instead? Give him the cash to pay. A good woman is broke and shows it.  Why is this? You see, women have been taught to shrink and let the man shine. But why should this ego be broken by a woman’s abilities?

She loves house chores.

A good woman loves house chores. She does all the cleaning, cooking, tending to children and hosting guests, among others.   She does not love sleep; sleep is laziness. She is the first to wake up and the last to retire. She neither asks for help nor needs it.

All the above are unfounded beliefs that only serve to confine the woman to backwardness and disempowerment. Such must be countered and whittled down.

Diluting the stereotypes

Be proud of your accomplishments. Shrinking yourself to guard someone’s ego is unfair. Celebrate the men in your life. They should reciprocate this act. Do not hide while footing the bills. It is not an oddity.

There is a gaping difference between hard work and suffering, laziness and rest. Do not mistake one for the other. Allow your body enough rest. In the end, your worth will not be measured by the number of laundry baskets cleared or being the person who slept the shortest. Normalise asking for help. If you can afford, get appliances to ease your load. This makes you a smart woman.

Decency is personal. Be expressive in your

dressing. However, recognise your physiological uniqueness and dress in a way that is comfortable and respectful to yourself and to those around you.

To be married is a choice. Marriage does not make anyone good or bad. People make marriage good or bad. It is not a place where every woman must aspire to be whatever the circumstances. You can be married and happy, single and happy. In the same breath, you can be married and miserable; single and desolate.

As always, It’s thrilling to share my thoughts with you on this side. Be sure to share your feedback.


Everyone wants to know why she is not having babies, but it’s complicated!

There are apparent questions every woman must encounter in a lifetime. If you are my age, they will be thrown from every corner.

  1. When are you going to have children?
  2. Why don’t you want to have children?
  3. Why don’t you want to have a second/third child?

The audacity, the level of intrusion, the sense of entitlement is irksome! You may ask: Why is it wrong? Here is why.

Think about the woman who is childfree by choice. One who has decided to intentionally delay that stage or not even get there at all.  What if she is simply happy with a cat, thanks to the post-modernism pervading our society?

Think about the woman who chokes with a fake smile every time she has to explain why she still hasn’t experienced the kicking of the little feet in the tummy.  The woman who shows up at every baby shower and sits up to listen to the whining “mum-to-be” about how accidental the pregnancy was. Think about her who is at the verge of giving up, whose hope is hanging by a piece of a thread – or is frozen up in a tube – because the pressure is suffocating.

Think about the woman who still has not learnt to pronounce what the doctor called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Think about the woman who has been battling endometriosis silently. One who has braved a series of surgeries and still hopes that God is going to show His face; that she too shall experience the “pata pata” of the feet. Her that wishes for just something to adorn her scars.

Think about the woman who has had to deal with several miscarriages. One who still has to correct people when they mistakenly call her “mama so” because the last time they saw her, the belly was full. One that has come to understand the words “it happened again” way too well. One whose belly heats any time she knows that she is expecting a likely loss. The woman who has borne the pain of a still-birth. The woman who lost her baby even before it could mumble “mama”. One who has had to destroy the nursery and is still figuring out what to do with the baby stuff.

What should she do with the baby stuff?

Think about the woman who was elated to miss her p’s and even before she could behold the two pink strands the rupture happened; her whose to-be-baby missed the path and scarred her tubes. Think about her whose fears have all been confirmed by Dr. Google.

Before she could behold the two pink strands the rupture happened.

Think about the woman whose womb has been invaded by the predatory fibroids. One that has been told to move with speed since the biological clock is ticking too fast and, worse still, who may have to lose her womanhood to the stubborn growths.

Think about the woman who was able to have her first baby but attempts for the second one have been in resounding futility. One who is keeping all the baby stuff and yearning to use them for the second and third time. She has waited for years to feel the wails and the chuckles again. This time she is too ready.

Think about the woman who has painfully known that men too have their fair share of challenges. The woman who has held her man’s arms and clothed his vulnerable ego with insurmountable grace; the woman who understands terms like: low sperm count, azoospermia and oligospermia too well.

Think about the woman who has spent to her last coin. Swallowed all the supplements and paid for several IUIs and has learnt to live with a negative result. One who has taken a leap of faith and paid for the painfully pricey IVF procedure and has watched money worth a piece of land go down the drain.

Think about her who has braved a series of surgeries silently.

Think about the woman whose relationships seem to hit the rock bottom even before they take off. The woman who is tired of waiting for the right man to father her child. The wait seems long and unending and the floods of anxiety have come as the clock is ticking way too fast.

If your mouth is itching to ask a friend, a couple, a colleague or a relative why they are still not having children or when it will happen, you may be well meaning. But think. Think again, for your words may be a piercing sword to their wounded souls.

In another life, it could be you. It could happen to her. To anyone. The royal Megan Markle recently spoke about her miscarriage. “Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few… Despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled  with unwarranted shame.”

Thank you for reading. I am always looking forward to your feedback and I am greatly indebted to you for the immense feedback I got on the previous post.


You bare all to your partner, why hide your phone?

Welcome to this latest post on my blog. Thank you for always passing by and for the feedback you gave on the previous post, Plucking Off the Roses in My Marriage. Undoubtedly, marriage experiences vary from a couple to the next just as partners in one marriage differ from those in another. So are the hurdles it faces. However, one salient lesson you must have picked from the previous post is that there are thorns in the roses of every marriage. You just need to arm yourself with the right skills on how to pluck yours.

Today, we are going to get candid about access to each other’s phones in marriage. Should cell phones be private? Should the parties lock theirs like the gates of hell? Should we sleep with our phones in our pyjama pockets? Should we use phony names à la “Battery Low” for the contacts of our illicit desires?

Phone access in marriage: Is it a right?

I believe that marriage is a garden where the values of the partners involved are cultivated and watered to bloom. For a couple to achieve mutual trust, each must put in the work. Some people argue that a mobile phone is a personal-private gadget and should be treated so. The problem with this stance is that it ignores a naked truth – when you dip your feet into the marital union, you irreversibly forfeit your privacy to your partner. There is no other way around it! This is someone with whom you share your soul. Your bed. Your everything. Why would you dream of privacy in a gadget?

My truth

I should be able to access my partner’s phone when and if I need it. I should also make my phone accessible to him. We should have nothing to hide.  Absolutely.

What’s the limitation to the right?

Every freedom has a limitationAs much as you should access your partner’s phone, there must be boundaries. No one wants to live with a spy in the name of a partner. Do not pick it to just rummage through the text messages and call history to see who he/she called, or who might have “deared” him/her, or who might have said “hello”. Think about it this way: if you walked into your room and found your closet turned upside down, how would you feel? Even with nothing to hide, you would definitely feel invaded.

I believe that marriage is a garden where the values of the partners involved are cultivated and watered to bloom. Photo: Getty Images.

I have seen the light

I do not check my husband’s messages and chats anymore. I would be lying if I said I have never done it. I did it in my first months of marriage. You see, this is the period one tries to know the other person’s devils. With time, I learnt that trust is not built on insecurities. Your spouse must never feel like he/she is bugged. It is a terrible thing to know that someone listens to and reads anything you say and write. It is stifling and strips people off their real self.

Take this to the bank…

It is good for a spouse to know that access to their partner’s phone is guaranteed. However, it is liberating to build trust.

30: Shining beyond the mythical age.

At 30, the society says a woman’s life is over. I say it’s just beginning! Thirty is not a pinnacle where everything starts sliding down.

Are you a woman who just got up this cliff? That was a long climb! What with the many faulty and clueless steps you made in the 20s. Some of us feel excited about the milestone while others feel lost and disappointed. You see, there is a stringent marking scheme with boxes waiting to be ticked by the time this age knocks your door. At 30, they say, you need to have:  been taken; your own home; your dream car; a stable income; and a child or children, among other things.  You and I know that it is deceptive to view life with such regularity. Life thrives in randomness.

I know it is not a glorious milestone for all of us. The pressure it comes with makes the bliss ephemeral. There is a lurking anxiety, apprehension and sadness that we have been conditioned to feel when we hit this mythical age. And this dims the light for many women.

I turned 30 last month and the bursting anticipation to get here can only be explained by the sense of maturity, control and security I feel. I would like to share five fundamental lessons I have picked along the way.

  1. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Our lives have become race-horse situations, where we compete on who arrives where first. This endless “comparathon” is draining. We must accept that there will always be people ahead of us and behind us. There will always be someone driving a bigger car; someone having a bigger job, a better home or a smoother face and a more toned body. That’s life.

Stop the competition and know that the journey begins and ends with you. Comparison kills your joy.

  • Learn to say no without guilt.

I hated being a disappointment and, for a long time, I struggled to answer in the negative. Saying YES to so many things in my 20s caused me unnecessary stress. In fact, I ended up disappointing as there were things I nodded to and could not do. I am at a place where I can say NO without feeling guilty. And it’s emancipating.

It’s okay to say no to that WhatsApp group you have been dragged into; to that meet up; to that Friday night dance; to that marriage proposal; to what have you…  

  • Failure is a lesson.

It is not a perfect world. So, how can you even think about perfection with yourself? Those tears, those scars, those losses should be seen as beautifully packaged life lessons. Be sure to listen to Alanis Morisette’s song “You Learn.” In her words:

“You live you learn; you love you learn; you cry you learn; you lose you learn; you bleed you learn; you scream you learn.”

  • Idealised world is a façade. The world is an imperfect place.

 If not sharing a delectable cake you have had for your breakfast, you are posting filtered photos of your vacation. If not splashing photos of your day at the spa, you are scrolling your phone to get a picture-perfect shot of your girls’ trip. At no time do we share our broth gone bad, our pimpled faces or our dirty kitchen sinks. Why? Social media is ideal and has no space for authenticity. It is therefore imprudent to stress over someone’s life on social media as we represent fake personas that are mostly not a true reflection of our status, feeling and thoughts.

You are human. Human beings are real, not perfect.

  • No one owes you anything.

If it is to be, it is up to me. This is a lesson I picked from a speaker while in high school. I remember chanting this line then and this line has lived with me. If you want anything done, you need to do it yourself. You must never have a feeling of entitlement. Not even from your spouse. If help comes your way, perfect. If it doesn’t, no problem. No one is responsible for your success or failure. You are.

Have you turned 30 recently? What lessons have you gathered through the years? Share your thoughts in the comment section or write an email to karimiwrites@gmail.com.


Hello September,

You have always been the month that awakens my soil
Your pattern has been super beautiful.
See, you gifted me a partner exactly a week before you bore me
Such a jubilant pattern I must observe!
But why did you allow a blot into this decoration?

Dad bowed out a week after you began

In this beautiful month, I got the most painful sting
The storm of grief is still striking
I’ve no word to describe my emotions yet
I hear they call it a whirlwind.

Some days have been hard and others have been fine
In this month I’ve lived “a minute at a time.”
I’m glad you are coming to an end
Those were minutes too many

But you see, my birthday comes at your end,
One I’ve waited for 29 years

Should I celebrate you?

I will put on that dress
I will show up for the party,
I will hail you
For the lives you borne and for the life you took.
I’m totally consoled by Terry Pratchett’s question:
“Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?”

Long live September! Long live dad!

Happy 30th Karimi.

Stay With Me: A Book Review

Rating ****

You must agree with me that I’ve been having such an incredible reading experience judging from my most recent reading choices. I am not yet over Chimamamada’s Half of a Yellow Sun, Lola’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and now Adebayo’s Stay With Me. What’s striking is that they are all female African literary figures. I am just a shopper of powerful literature.

Stay With Me is an emotionally intense story woven around a war-torn Nigeria in the 1980s. It is a beautifully crafted narrative that amplifies the challenges of a transitioning state whose people are trapped in the dilemma of tradition and the approaching modernity. It’s a story of a young educated couple that tries to wade through the challenges of a childless marriage.  Not even education can water down some retrogressive cultural beliefs and practices. The most shocking one is the myopic view of traditionalists towards women as “manufacturers of children”.

Women manufacture children and if you can’t you are just a man. Nobody should call you woman.” (Moomi, Akin’s mother)

Akin and Yejide meet in university and get married when the flames of their love are bright and sharp. They know that polygamy is not a road they can tread. However, they fail at this promise. Terribly. Desperation sets in their marriage after three years of trying to get a child. Of the two, the woman is the most desperate as she is the designated cause of childlessness in the marriage.

Adebayo creates flawed characters who are victims of their own society. In their desperate attempt to bear children, both Akin and Yejide fall into the traps of polygamy, infidelity and betrayal. As flawed as the characters are, you will not get angry at them but deeply sympathise and empathise with them due to their unending tragedies.

Would you stay if you found out that your marriage was a stained fabric knit with lies? Akin lives with a lie that he is not willing to reveal to his wife. You will love the twists in the plot but will hate how troubled your heart will get. The lies cost the two characters their world. Their world shatters right before their eyes.

The writer uses the first-person narration to achieve a gripping story told in the voices of the two main characters. This allows you to hear their sides of the story and feel their pain and desperation. This makes it hard for you to judge any of the two. Vivid descriptions and monologues in the story will allow you to peep into the painful realities of their worlds.

This is a thoroughly captivating and a heartbreaking read. You will love reading it and hate how it will make you feel.

Buttery Cinnamon Rolls

How have you been? How did the pizza recipe I shared come along? I would love to get your feedback. in case you missed it, click here Pizza Lovers! Where Art Thou? Today I would love to share cinnamon rolls recipe. You will love the taste of cinnamon, butter and sugar rolled into very soft and buttery dough. Let us get right into it.

  1. Making the dough

What you need

2 ¾ cups all purpose flour

1 packet instant yeast

¼ cup water

1 egg

¼ cup sugar

½ cup milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tea spoon salt


  • Mix flour, sugar,salt and yeast in a bowl and set aside.
  • Mix milk, water and butter in a heatproof bowl. Microwave until the butter melts (the mixture should feel warm to touch)
  • Add the  wet mixture into the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg.
  • Use a spatula and stir until you get a soft dough. You can also use an electric mixer.
  • Transfer the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for around 4 minutes-the dough should feel smooth and soft.
  • Place it in a greased bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap and let it rest for around 10 minutes.

As the dough rests, prepare the filling.

What you need

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon cinnamon + ¼ cup sugar

  • After 10 minutes roll the dough in a rectangle
  • Spread butter on the rolled dough
  • Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture on top of the dough
  • Roll the dough tightly and cut 10 or 11 even rolls.
  • Arrange on a lightly greased baking sheet or tin.
  • Cover them using a plastic wrap and let them rise for an hour.
  • Egg wash the rolls and bake them at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
  • When baked they should be well browned and feel hollow when tapped. When a skewer is inserted, it should also come out clean.

How to mix it the cocktail way

Karimi Writes

Rarely do I have so much time in my hand like now. Working from home has meant eating, drinking and spending more time in the kitchen. As I advised in my previous post Covid-19: Why staying home need not beboring, this is the time to rock that recipe you have always wished you could try out but did not have time for, or that which you have always considered a preserve of the swanky eateries and pubs.

Sampling cocktails is among my best hobbies in normal times. I love the magical infusion of taste and colour in a glass mix. I did not imagine that these pricey drinks could be prepared right inside our own kitchens. I considered them special and difficult to make. So I have been exploring this path lately and, girl, I am thrilled to have brewed the taste of heaven in my kitchen.

It pleases…

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Woman, thou shall not break your back chasing the ideal waistline, thigh gap

“I don’t think it’s wrong to take pride in your appearance, but not to the extent that it swallows your whole and completely cancels out all of the other things that make you who you are.”

These words by model and actress Jameela Jamil speak to the weighty issue of women’s self-worth and body image that mostly has been shaped by the pop culture-obsessed mass media. Indeed, over time, media have fed audiences with frames that define beauty in women.  Print, television and electronic media are awash with idealised representations of a woman’s beauty. All glorify one common view of beauty – the “thin ideal”. 

As a result, the Internet is exploding with weight loss apps and meal plans. A constant exposure to such messages has led to poor body image among many women. This kind of objectification has reduced a woman’s worth to her appearance and sexual appeal. But can a woman’s worth be gauged on a weigh scale? Are her weight and body shape all she is worth?

As a woman who is few months shy of 30 years, I’m profoundly struck by the ever changing and unattainable variations of “beauty” in a woman. As a child, I was comfortable with chubby cheeks swallowing my eyes. I was fine with a layered neck and a full stomach. Today, children as young as five know, thin is beautiful. The plump are ridiculed.

While a teen, I was exposed to literature that idolised the woman with a thin waist, a long neck, long legs, wide eyes, a well-rounded butt, a dimpled face, name it. It was in high school that this impression of beauty became grounded. You see, my principal loathed plumb girls and did not hide it. Too bad for you if you were big sized and came bottom of the class. My mind was fed with the notion that plumb was synonymous with dumb. They were viewed as girls who only fed their stomachs and never their minds. So we hated growing big. We learnt to starve. We learnt to throw away the maize in our githeri portion. We learnt to skip the morning porridge. We learnt to hate ourselves for eating the irresistible loaves of bread on a weekend. Why? We didn’t want to look fat and dumb. We wanted to look slender and sharp! We were obsessed with weight loss.

As a young woman in college, I was constantly aware of my weight. I guarded it. I checked it. I loved a perfect size 8 fit. My body was obedient and I did not have to starve. I was okay that I almost fit the “prescribed” size. I say almost since my body refused to comply with an outrageous beauty standard; a thigh gap!  My thighs still met and there was nothing I could do about it.

As a mature woman, I have come to the realisation that my worth cannot be equated to the reading on the weigh scale or body contours. We are worth our progressive careers, our intellect, our mindfulness, our healthy relationships and our kindness. I am not saying that we should not care about our health. My point is that you should not have to conform to a shape and a size that the society construes as beautiful. There is no perfect body for “them” but there is one for you.

Frankly speaking, I notice the growing flap of my arm. Sometimes I notice the tummy peeping. What’s different is that I do not allow anyone to define beautiful for me.  I appreciate that our bodies are ever changing as a result of puberty, child birth, aging and other factors beyond our control. We must be comfortable with them at every stage they are.

When the corsets and body wraps can’t shrink your waist enough, be woman enough to look yourself in the mirror and say, “this is my body, and I love it just the way it is.”

– Michael Reid

Book Review: ‘The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’ Serves Humour, Mocks Misogyny

Rating ****

The story of Baba Segi and his four wives as told by Lola Shoneyin is a page flipper. I interact with African literature often but I can’t remember giggling and cracking up between paragraphs like I did with this one. Africanised English has never sounded so real and raw like it does in The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. Set in a patriarchal Nigerian society, this is the story of the struggles of four women in a society that has deeply entrenched toxic masculinity, subjugation of women and cultural misogyny.

Lola scorns at patriarchy and polygamy through effortless humour and satire. The delicate fusion of the two reveals the domineering nature of Baba Segi and the subjugation of his wives. You are definitely going to laugh at Baba Segi’s obsession with “planting his seeds” in his wives. Isn’t an African man revered by the number of children he sires? And isn’t the woman the victim of sterility if and when it happens?  His attempts to “fill” his fourth wife’s stomach are in utter futility.  With a litter of children from his other wives, Baba Segi is convinced that his educated wife is the problem.

Devastating Secrets

Baba Segi’s wives live with devastating secrets. Lola tells the story both in the first and third person points of view. The first-person narration allows the characters tell their stories without limitation. You will definitely love the unraveling of numerous secrets. Of the many secrets, one is grand and shared only among the first three wives. It must be guarded. And guard it they do. However, the entry of the educated fourth wife, Bolanle, disturbs the sustainability of this secrecy.

Bolanle represents a modern woman trapped in the shadows of her troubled past. I was curious to understand why she got married to an uneducated, condescending man and I shared her Mother’s pain. I felt that the ending for her was quite unsatisfying. Merely escaping from Baba Segi and his melodramatic wives was not enough. I would have loved a peep into her emancipated future.

Bolanle represents a modern woman trapped in the shadows of her troubled past.

I enjoyed this read and definitely recommend it to anyone looking for thrilling piece of African literature. If you wish to marvel at a completely enchanting novel, get this one.

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