Edem Knight-Tay, Advocate for Work and Family Life Balance

I promised I was going to share some coping tips I shared with Bella with you. Let me state unequivocally here that, these are not coping tips canned from any literary work. I shared them with Bella from my very personal experiences and observations. I lived through her situation and more so, it is no imaginary or fictional work. I also acknowledge the fact that we are all different and wired differently, so this is not a one size fits all approach to all such situations, but trust me, the principles will most likely remain the same through whatever challenge you may be dealing with. Pick the principles and big blocks and fit your peculiar situation in there and tailor it to suit yourself.

So here we go:


Accept that you are overwhelmed and truly need support. Until this is done, you may continue to wonder and wallow in self-pity. Eventually you slip into depression and if care is not taken, the best of you could be lost. Note that some people never recover from depression.

I sincerely applauded Bella for realising that it was time to seek help. Some people never realise it. They internalise, choose to endure suffering, which is counter-productive and detrimental to your health and then call it “being strong.” I do not subscribe to that. Ask for help when you need it. It is actually the preserve of strong people. Strong people know when to ask for help, when to rest and when to stop. There is no strength in suffering in silence.

Now, who you run to for help in such situations is very critical. Again, I am so glad she did not go to her parents. It is not to say that we should cut our parents off – if your parents are open minded, understanding and objective and will be able to analyse the issues practically and objectively, without being overly emotional because you are their child, then yes! Talk to them. Otherwise, most marriages and for that matter, homes, have lost their peace and glory because parents were too emotional, took sides and did not do justice to the problem. I have always cited these instances at my speaking engagements. (If robbers entered your home and any of your parents happened to be there and a rifle is put to their head to choose one of you to be murdered, do you think your mother or father will choose you? Even if you are in no position to take care of the family and provide adequately, your parents will not point to you to be murdered. You are their child. Because of that parental love and affection, most parents are not objective in their decision-making when it comes to their children and that is very ok. This is why in a serious relationship problem, Daddy and Mummy are not my recommendations except for the qualities I mentioned earlier. Get professional help. What you need is a solution, not empathies or allies. SHE UNDERSTOOD

I am also very excited about the fact that she did not go vilifying her husband to her parents but sought help from a neutral place. The situation was dire and a lot of hatred and disrespect could be sown between the two parties, which might take forever to repair even if the two of you sort out your issues. Protect your partner while you seek help. My brother Pastor Sam and his wife who usually counseled us were godly and never took sides. Seek help from professionals, from objective and knowledgeable people, from experienced people and ultimately, from people who do not lack discretion.

Now SHE UNDERSTANDS. But truth remains that she could not afford a house-help. That’s fine, so I encouraged her to talk to her mum to get her somebody from home, one who will help and you can also help them learn a trade after about two years. She was skeptical but also understood that she badly needed the help and support. She also understood that she could not continue to do things the same way and expect different results. She thought about it, spoke to her husband who could not be bothered, and went on to speak to her mum and immediately, mummy got someone who came in about a week ago. So with this help, we expect to see some positive changes. SHE UNDERSTOOD.


I gave her one of the best pieces of advice I ever received that started off my total healing and liberation from hurt, pain, anger, spite and bitterness like she was going through. You are the one hurting. You are the one burning out, you are the one dissipating all your energy, you are the one who is weary. YOU ARE THE ONE WHO NEEDS THE HELP. YOU NEED TO MAKE YOU A PRIORITY… For a long time I thought I was the one doing everything right and needed no change, but I came to realise that the change I needed and wanted to see had to start with me and I had to manifest it.

My best friend Safoa Appietu-Ankrah introduced me to Pastor Eric Jeshurun, who opened my eyes to a number of things. Top amongst those for me was asking me to pray for MYSELF ONLY for some time. I thought I was ok and it was the people around me who needed the prayers – I was my own prayer topic for weeks; I constantly prayed for God to take away my pain and how bitter I had become as a result of all the difficulties I was dealing with. I prayed for strength for me. I prayed for direction on how to find myself and build myself. I prayed only for me. I prayed for health, I prayed for mental health and I prayed the prayer of serenity- “GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE, THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.”  I broke down before God most of the time and there were moments I just picked a chair, asked God to have a seat and I sat across and just spoke to Him. It got so intense that I could literally feel Him sitting from across the room. With no inhibitions, I said everything that was bothering me. I told Him of the changes I wanted to see and gradually, I ended up with this statement that gave me a lot of respite; “There is no help if God won’t help me”, because no human being has the power to help me heal. Yes! I had the support and guidance but my faith teaches me that my healing can only be perfected by God’s grace.

I focused on myself and made me a priority. I had sleep issues too and was always restless but I learnt to take rests. Not necessarily sleeping but sometimes just laying in bed and doing nothing. There were days I locked myself up and just spent time with myself. I listened to music, watched movies and sometimes wrote. I learnt to stay in touch with myself. I focused on me and even tried to learn about the things that made me happy and fulfilled. I started working out, I tried to eat well. Mind you, I had developed hypertension after my last child at age 30. It was not properly controlled because “I was not important to myself and did not treat myself right.” My Doctors put me on high alert and I had to receive proper education on managing my health. Honestly, I had to do a lot of things to lift me up.

My husband was always frustrated because I was always moody. I was often upset and picked quarrels with him at the least provocation. But when I began to do me right, he began to see the light in my eyes and he also started lightening up. He apologised when he was wrong and we began to build our home again. It did not come in a day though. There were moments I relapsed but I was constant work in progress. Remember you can’t give what you don’t have, so once I was fixed, I was better disposed to fix everything else. By this time, she understood that, targeting her husband and getting people to speak to him as the starting point for dealing with her problem was starting on the wrong footing. That change she seeks, must start with her and SHE UNDERSTOOD…


Talk, don’t fight, don’t yell, don’t argue, no name calling, no blame games. Just talk, articulate your thoughts and advance your points, ask humbly, respectfully and tactfully; that is the way to go. You can only do this when you have applied the preceding coping ways.

You may not be fully healed at this point but you may be able to communicate better and smarter and get results. After focusing on myself and gaining some mastery and consciousness over my emotions, I was ready to talk, not fight or argue unnecessarily.  We talked without me being judgmental, making mockery of him, casting insinuations or conjecturing. In fact, he was happy at the new me. I listened a bit more to understand and not merely to respond and or react. I discussed why I wanted to do the things I wanted to do other than merely throwing it around or complaining. I asked for help other than just complaining or expecting that he should know better. SHE UNDERSTOOD. She understood that she was merely nagging and laying accusations, not communicating. SHE UNDERSTOOD.


Yes! Live a bit more because the problems will never finish. There will be new hurdles to surmount everyday. Some may even be more challenging than what you are dealing with today so don’t put living away till you solve all the problems around you. That will never happen.

I treated myself better, took my personal grooming seriously, I lived consciously and became happier. I got off the anti-depressants. Edem was back, happier and bubblier travelled, chilled friends and family and living fully.

In two years, I had grown twice on the job… It was within those periods that I became Programmes Manager. Hitherto, I was always smiling but was said to be abrasive which I did not even realize.

By the time I learnt to properly balance my home and work life, I began to enjoy the best of both worlds. It is possible and doable. SHE UNDERSTOOD.

Edem Knight-Tay is Programmes Director and host of Home Affairs at Joy 99.7 FM. She is strong-willed, confident, empathetic, results-oriented and a strong advocate for thriving families. She has been married for 19 years with 4 adorable children. Edem has been a media practitioner for about 2 decades working in various capacities. She lives by the Biblical principles “Love your neighbour as yourself” and “Do unto others what you would like them to do unto you.”

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.