Home Community Life and Style Respect shared spaces and things in your home this holiday season

Respect shared spaces and things in your home this holiday season

Story and Photos by Omwa Ombara


HOLIDAY SEASON is here and this is one of those rare days when almost all family members will be home at the same time.

Whether it’s only you and your partner or child or you live in a multi family-occupancy household, it is important to be considerate of shared spaces in the home.

Shared spaces and things include the remote control, television, radio, newspapers, carpet, books, sunglasses, food, drinks, living room, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, balcony, backyard, refrigerator, family dinner and conduct.

Do not be selfish. Family is about sharing.

Remote Control and Television

Share the remote with others and do not act as if remote control is your oxygen. A day has 24 hours, that is enough time to go around the room. Do not change channels all day as if there are no other family members in the house. Ask your spouse what she would like to watch and if you have two televisions do not act the family bully by hoarding both remotes and switching channels both upstairs an downstairs when people are in the middle of watching something different.

Not everyone is interested in watching soap opera, football, basketball, wrestling or televangelists all day every day.

Family dinner

Chicken will be served many times this season, especially on Christmas Day and New Year. Do not be the only person who has to eat drumsticks, liver and gizzards. Let other family members also acquaint themselves with other parts of the chicken like breasts, head, neck, eggs and intestines wrapped around the legs.

Respect the ugali. Do not take a bigger chunk than everyone else.

When breakfast is served let others also eat the sausages. Make your mouth move at a respectful pace. Do not hide food under the table when your unpopular aunt or uncle visits. They will smell it, they are not fools. Be generous. Avoid topics to do with diarrhea and napkins during meals.

Pray but not for so long that the food gets cold. This is not the time or place to practice your linguistics skills. Pray but not for so long that people fall asleep on the couch before going to bed. You will cause indigestion.


Drink responsible. Avoid throwing up on the floor, on people’s clothes. slurring like a baby learning to talk and falling like a heap on the floor. The family has not asked you to perform reality TV.


When the newspaper man drops the day’s Dailies or if you are sent to pick the Newspapers from the closest market, do not spend the day there reading it and bringing it to the owner when it is old and crumpled. The newspaper is not your Bible or personal property. Let the person who bought it read it first then ask respectfully and share. Do not act as if you are the only one who understands English or current affairs in the family.


Do not walk around with the family radio toward the gate listening to your favorite song or Music as if the rest of the family has no ears. Respect family property and sit down. Let the family listen to news and funeral arrangements without your selfish distractions.


You can carry your books and sex toys to the bathroom when you live alone but when everyone is home, style up. Why make your aging parents wait or pee on themselves as you do your silly manenos. Respect please? If the soap is shared, don’t use all the lather. Squeeze your toothpaste bottle from the bottom and don’t lick the mouth, always flash the toilet after use and dry the floor with the rug before you break your brother’s back.

Please clean the bath tub or floor for the next user.


Please do not drink all the water and then expect someone else to refill the bottles or water jug. Do not drink two sodas before confirming that everyone has had some. Ensure the door of the fridge is shut so the ice does not melt and the milk stays fresh. Avoid drinking the baby’s milk and eating baby food that belongs to your nieces and nephews. Do not put your head inside the fridge when getting food out. You hand is long enough to reach every part of the fridge. Do not just eat the food because it is there. Ask who put it in the fridge and if you can have it.


Do not eat the well-arranged fruit decorations without asking. These include bananas, apples, grapes, strawberries, bananas, oranges and plums. Please wait. They will later be served at the table.

Family Car

This car is supposed to be shared by all family. Do not drop your wife and children and set off with the family car for two days to be with the boys. What if a family member or dog falls sick in your absence. If you must play childhood games, take a cab or a ma-three and go enjoy your space. Do not however jeopardize your family, especially when you have a newborn or an asthmatic child. Also, do not go to the salon all day to make your hair with the family car when you had offered to make chapattis for dinner and the chips kiosk is 5 km away from home.. Share! Share! Share!


Please smoke outside the house and respect the fact that not everybody wants to breathe in your nicotine. Use an ash tray and keep the matches away from the children. Do not set the house on fire. Also let other family members use the balcony and enjoy some fresh air too. Do not turn the balcony into your bedroom or your territory.

Living room and carpet

Avoid stepping on the carpet with mud or dusty shoes, especially if you will not clean it. Do not step on wet floor while it is being cleaned. Do not walk around the room dripping wet from a shower or bath. Dry yourself in the bathroom and hang your towel outside. Tie a towel around your waist at the worst, better still put on a vest. Stop walking naked around the house and bewitching the family. If you can’t help it wait till night. There is now a registered association of night runners in almost every village in Kenya

Handbags, pocketbooks, wallets

Your brother, sister or relative’s money and pocketbook are not yours to share. Do not dig your finger into other people’s personal belongings, then blame the house girl or visiting cousin. Be good.


It is not a bad idea to make your bed. Do not make family space untidy especially when the bedroom is shared. Please knock on your parents’ bedroom door or any other room before you enter. You are not wildlife. Say in your lane and initiate safe boundaries for all.

Family courtesy

Commend your family members on how great they look and shower them with compliments. Appreciate their positives and focus on them instead of asking them why they are not married, divorced or why they do not have a job. Life changes and tomorrow you may be on the other side. Be watchful, you are your brother’s keeper. Be wary of uncles taking the little girls to buy them sweets at the shops all the time. Ask them to go bring the sweets to the dining table so everyone can share them.

Happy Holidays.