The Chronicles Of Nigerian Mums

Please don’t share this link with your mum before she nails you with their favourite adage “show me your friend and i’ll……”


For those of you who grew up in Nigeria with your mums, I’ll say you’re lucky because you, only you, will understand this article. For those who lost their mums at a very early age, I’ll seize this opportunity to offer my condolence, it is never an easy thing.

That being said, let us examine this ‘specimen’ very carefully.

Answer: Special!

The thing is, Nigerian mums are a very rare specie of humans. Wonderful people. Special case study.

They are not all the same but I tell you, they have common traits, sometimes you think they plan it because how else is it that when you were growing up, you go to your friend’s house and hear his mum shouting about the same exact things your mum shouts about, in the same exact way, and when you adjust your eye to watch the tv as if you never heard anything, his mum turns to you,
“Don’t you advise your friend? John is a very lazy boy”
She turns to your friend and says,
“John! Look at your friend, how quiet he is. See your life!”.
Next week, your friend is in your house and your mum is screaming,
“Emeka! Look at John! Does he have two heads?…..”
PLEASE, did they plan it?

Answer: Something long and painful.

Before I continue this exposé, I’d like to point out that there is a tool employed by these women that makes their job easier. A companion, often seen under beds and under the chairs in sitting rooms of unsuspecting kids. The Whip! Yikes!

Those days, there was no house without this ‘commodity’. In the past, it could be in the form of a small stick or the stalk of a tree in your compound plucked during emergency times. Later, as we grew up, they started making them in commercial quantity! You go to the shop of any Mallam or even ‘provision’ stores and you see it piled in one corner, bound together by one rubber band (Infact this made me seriously hate one Mallam Aminu those days- a true friend to many mothers back then)

The thing is, this whip can land on your back for any to no reason at all;
“Have you done your assignment? I say, have you done your assignment?” *whip whip*
“So two times eight is eighteen ehhh……” *whip whip*
“Joy, so you are now following bad gangs” *whip whip*
“Abu, who told you to go and pluck those mangoes?
*hand whip*
This *whip whip* is almost always the aftermath of any conversation that starts like this,

(Act 1; Scene 1)
MUM: You are here watching tv, have you finished your food?
CHILD: Mummy, I don’t like eba, I want to drink tea and bread/cake
MUM: This night? (getting really angry and rising up)
CHILD: Mummy, I don’t like this food!

(Act 1; Scene 2)
You don’t need to be Shakespeare to know what happens next!!

Or when your mum sees you and your elder brother fighting and says “Wait for me!” while she hurriedly makes her way into her room……..hmmmmmm.

We all know that Nigerian mums cannot differentiate between public places and indoors when it comes to disciplining the kids.
They seldom care if the neighbours hear the loud strokes of cane metted out on the poor child.

This explains why when you’re in church and refuse to open your mouth to sing with the choir or if you attend these ‘fire’ churches; you don’t stamp your foot, close your eyes and speak out your prayer points loudly or you find yourself nodding off while kneeling down in a night vigil. What do you hear next on your back? A loud rasp that startles you back to the real world!

Some call it ‘abara’, some call it ‘reality check’ while others call it ‘hard reset’….What ever name you choose to call it, this tumultuous blow to your back can spoil your career on the streets or in school because, eww! Your street girls were also in church that day! Or Tola, that girl from your class attends your church too and everyone will hear about it before you enter class tomorrow… Oh Lord!

This above stated reason is why children hate to sit near mum in church; Or to suddenly see her crossing the street on her way out while you’re busy playing with friends. She may suddenly know at that moment that the afternoon plates are not washed and ruin your ‘street credibility’ immediately! Oh lord!

Psychological analysis have shown that some of our phobias and things we extremely hate are unknowingly borne out of ‘horrible’ childhood memories.

We all hate Monday morning!!

This fear indeed was awakened in us by no other person than……..? Your guess is as good as mine!
After the precious weekend that shouldn’t have ended at all, who wakes us up in the ‘ungodly hours’ of the morning?

Who flogs us back to reality when we pretend to be praying that early morning meanwhile we are dozing off?

Who asks us in a loud voice whether we are sure we have done our weekend assignment while our eyes are still tingling with sleep?

Who canes our behinds when she realises that we have not ironed our clothes throughout the weekend and now there’s no light?

I say, who does all these?

I’ve told you, your guess is as good as mine!

Oh! She’s at your door again!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Do you know that it is a crime, punishable by ‘shouting’ or flogging or both, to wake up even five minutes after your mum on a Saturday morning?

Ponder on this! (But while you’re pondering), if this is a Saturday morning, kindly take the nearest sponge and go and wash the plates before another thing will land on you!

And we all know that weekend plates are the hardest to wash.
Your daddy can never be nice enough to eat rice with only one plate! There is plate for the stew, one for the rice and one for mixing! And visitors too! Those horrid vipers! You do all the work for them yet you get chased from the TV you’re watching because they want to engage in ‘adult talk’.

Well, Saturday morning is the ultimate misery for any child growing up. You work and work! After washing and scrubbing, the Nigerian mum is never content with this work, you find yourself starting all over again at some point. The most painful part was the days of Cadbury Breakfast Television and Spiderman cartoons, my dear! Try to put on the TV on Saturday morning. Just try it!

I’m sure the C.I.A will be proud of them, with the secrets they keep. Squeezing info from them is like milking a barren cow. Most things you find out in your house is by
1) Eavesdropping
2) Carrying out your own private investigation when no soul is at home.

You can’t ask her her salary or your father’s salary without her asking you back “Why do you want to know?”

They surely answer all questions with questions
Q: Mum, how much did you buy that?
A: Do you want to pay me back?

Q: Is daddy coming back this night?
A: Why are you asking?

Q: Where is all the money the visitors have been giving me that I’ve been giving you to keep?
A: Don’t disturb me! All the food you have been eating, where is it coming from?
You can never win them!

When you ask your mother for money, she mostly tells you to ‘go and ask your dad’. Sometimes, you think she’s cooperating with you when she whispers to you,
“Now that he is with money, you better go and meet him”

Please, never you make the mistake of taking this for cooperation because she is never far behind. She may pretend to be dressing the curtain in the bedroom or to be arranging your dad’s clothes but my dear, she is listening intently.

The moment your dad is about to bring out the money or is showing interest in what you’re saying, she leaps in like a wolf
“Ada, what do you say you’re doing with all that money sef”
Or “Junior, I thought we bought you a bicycle before”
Or simply “honey/papa Jasper, don’t spoil this boy! Allow him to learn how to save”.
Systematically creating element of doubt in your dad’s mind!

And woe betide you, if you’re given that money, don’t bring ‘change’………

If your mum was a nurse as a kid, I’m officially sorry for you!
This part is not for you because, I’m sure you’ve been through a lot.

Yes, Nigerian nurses are known to shout at sick patients, hold stubborn children well for injections and ensure all drugs are taken.

All Nigerian mums are nurses, quote me anywhere!

Often times you overhear their conversation with the doctor in the hospital
DOCTOR: Madam, ensure that she takes the full prescription
in the right dosage.
SUPER MUM: Doctor, I can handle her, leave that to me!

1)That Round Leather Object called ‘football‘- She probably bought you your first ball but that was years ago when you knew nothing. Once you grow up and are big enough to play it with friends or you are going out to the fields to play, it becomes her enemy. She is ready to locate you in that field while you’re at the post as the keeper and drag you by the ear with your socks and boots back home to knee down, raise up your arms and close your eyes.(plus ruin your budding street career)

2)Video Games and All Games Infact-
Even when you are on a long vacation, she can’t leave you in peace to enjoy your football video games, racing games and (those days) Street Fighters and Mortal Kombat. Don’t be decieved! She’s the greatest villain you have to defeat while playing these games!
To her, these games are a waste of time. She will often ask “Jide, is this the only thing you do when you wake up in the morning? ”. It’s better to keep quiet at the moment and act sober when she asks you. Any reply to defend yourself will lead to,
“Oya, pack up that game with the game pad and keep in my room now!”. Begging may even lead to whipping.

And please, it is not just video games, this extends to Whot, Jackpot, Ludo, Draft. Many-a-whots have been burnt or decapitated by mums. They favour scrabble though…

3)All Music Videos and ‘Corrupt’ Movies- We didn’t have Lady Gaga then or Rihanna going topless (God knows what children now are facing) but we had Shaba Ranks and his women, Patra, Snoop Dogg and his ‘evil’ dancers, and later Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey. Sexy women of the era, beloved by all, except mums! The moment they catch a glimpse of these ‘half naked’ women, it’s like seeing Satan with all his hosts approaching. You’d be asked to ‘switch off that telly’ or even worse ‘Change it to the network news’

You better be on the alert when watching movies, ready to fast forward because if that man and woman in that film try to ‘near’ each other as if to kiss and you’re not fast enough to fast forward it………..

4)The neighbour’s kids – She smiles with them all the time and calls them pet names but once you start going to their house too much to play, they become the enemy,
“Where are you going, John” she blocks you at the door.
“To Emeka’s house”
“To do what?”, before you answer she says in a low voice(so they don’t hear)
“Come on! Will you sit down! Is your own house scratching you?”

The word, ‘sex’ and ‘education’ standing next to each other is suspect to the ears of Nigerian mothers. Sadly, for many, what they learnt about sex is mostly from magazines, television or friends at school.
Ask mums anything about sex, they become alarmed and ask,
“Where did you learn that from?”

When the time is ripe for you to know (that is, when you must have done so many bad things already), they sit you down and tell you something so basic.
GIRLS- “…when you start seeing that blood and you meet a
man, you will get pregnant and when you get
pregnant, that is the end of your life oh”
The End.

For the overly serious folks that will read this and conclude that I am ‘portraying the Nigerian mothers’ as bullies. Far from that! We all love them, don’t we?

However, let’s not call it bullying, let’s call it ‘home training’.

Nneoma Nocrap

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