Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Chronicles of Sebastian: The Nigerian Mother - SUPERWoman (For You, 'Princess Lulu')

In my 'Chronicles' (gosh, this term makes me feel so old! :-)) we’ve already talked about Love and Relationships and The Beauty of Friendships. This week, we move on to yet another very important relationship – that to your mum!

Ayo’s mummy celebrates her birthday today! So, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate her. 

Ayo's Mummy :-)
Now I have never met Ayo’s mother, but I still want to extend my special greetings to her: You must be a truly amazing woman, ma, considering the excellent home training your daughter must have received! Let’s be frank, Ayo is an astounding woman, isn’t she? Her writings, prayers, comments and I’m pretty sure her life as well speak volumes about her God-fearing, virtuous, sociable and warm character and since “a child is what you put into him” (according to a Nigerian proverb), her mum must have been (and still is) a wonderful role model, turning Ayo, her devoted brother (willing to sacrifice himself for his sick mum) and her other siblings (one of her fab sisters described here into the blessings they are now! 
In celebration of Ayo's mummy's birthday, here are some general attributes I’ve observed in many of the good mums I have met in Nigeria:

A Mother's love is so beautiful
1. Many Nigerian mothers work so hard. No matter where you live in Nigeria, in case you’re female, married and have children, there’s probably not much time for you to develop an “idle mind that is the devil’s workshop” (yet another 9ja-proverb:-)). You gotta do the shopping, put food on the table, clean the house, care for your husband, your (oftentimes numerous) children, visitors and others. Depending on the family’s means, mums also need to improvise a lot in handling challenges with limited resources (e.g. carrying a baby on her back instead of giving it away). They’re physically strong, magically balancing big pots and other heavy stuff on their head (I failed miserably trying that ;) ). If you belong to the Tiv-tribe, you could be expected to do some farm work and as a Yoruba you might also need to balance a job and house chores simultaneously. In any case, many mums in Nigeria are up from early in the morning (in my Enugu campus where I stayed, the steady mortar sound sometimes woke me up at 4:30am -.-) to late in the night and I admire their strength and endurance to keep up this kind of workload for decades. If all Nigerian women went on strike for a few days, the whole country would collapse and people would die of starvation - to my mind, women are the true pillars of the house. While some men would “suffer seriously” or flee if they had to face these motherly challenges every day :-), Nigerian mums just stand strong and keep it up.

From the moment we're born, the work begins in earnest and there's no retirement age
2. Most of them do the work humbly and without complaining. Apart from the amount of daily work Nigerian mums get done every day, I am astonished how they do their work. They do their business as if it is the most natural thing in the world, without much complaining or comparing. When I offered my help a few times, the kitchen ladies in my home were extremely grateful, although it was very clear to me that they did 99% of the work. Still, they often sang Igbo songs while working, greeted people and did not boast about how much they have worked, although they have all the right to do so. Most often, she humbly puts herself last and rather goes hungry so that her children can eat. In Germany, we often keep a mental list of our good deeds, to make sure others do not get away with less work. The sacrificial attitude and 'bodi dey inside cloth' - mentality with which most Nigerian women I’ve met approach their work and cope with it is just something different.
Those rare moments when mothers actually sleep :-)
3. Mums are just present. In 1 Thess 2:7, Paul expresses his closeness to his spiritual children by stating that he was “tender among them, like a nursing mother taking care of her children”. I think the reason he uses that imagery is that mums are just perfect examples of being close to children. In Nigeria (and most other countries), kids will spend far more time with their mums than with their dads. Since many Nigerian men sometimes have to work outside their residential city, only coming home later in the day or every weekend, mothers are just far more approachable. My own father was quite involved in his career during my teen years, which naturally led me to have more conversations and shared moments with my mum. This leads us to the next point…

4. There is a special bond between mother and child. The great Chinua Achebe expresses it beautifully in the following moving poem we discussed in my “African Poetry” class:


The mother in the poem loves her child despite misery and doom. This kind of unconditional love is evident in many cases: 'A Nigerian mom' loves her children in good and bad times; when she rejoices with them and when she slaps them (even up to adulthood lol). I guess she even loves them when she 'pokenoses' into her children’s affairs, checking their cloths and books for hidden love letters, since dating until Uni is seen as wrong, yet once you’re 25 they expect you to get married “sharp sharp” :-) I bet some readers here can share their own stories of “intense motherly interest” when it comes to the area of getting hitched :-). Even though a mother’s interest in one’s life can be wearisome, I now take it with a dose of humor and still appreciate it. Her curiosity is probably just a token of her care, that’s why my mum is still my first go-to person when relationship wahala arises, while my dad’s advise (“Focus on your studies, son!”) is preferred in other less-emotional areas :-) (love them both, by the way).

Actor, John Dumelo and his mum
5. They are not thanked enough. Despite all these great attributes, I feel that some Nigerian men just take all this for granted, maybe because it has always been that way. Even worse, through novels and people I’ve heard of cases of domestic violence, extra-marital affairs and other expressions of apparent ingratitude. While German women can easily divorce their husband, most Nigerians mum don’t even consider this option, instead they endure these injustices in silence. We men, white and black, need to blame ourselves for often overlooking the heroic work our mums do every single day. We should thank them for giving birth to us, nursing us, for being there for us in a myriad of situations, for not quitting, for their magnificent love for us and for helping us to be the person we’re today. 

4 Generations of Mothers
Acknowledgment: My special thanks to a yet-to-be mum, Ola, a Nigerian friend I met here in Germany, who kindly provided me with many insights and personal experiences that greatly helped me in composing this piece.


Reading this piece took me through a pleasant memory journey of how much my mum has done, how much she has sacrificed, how she has expressed her love to her children in so many wonderful ways and how I know that no amount of praise or thanks, no degree of action could ever do enough to let her know how much I love and appreciate her... How much so, I thank God for blessing me with such a phenomenal woman as a mother - a nurturer, a care-taker, a magnificent woman. Everytime I have the opportunity, I will say over and over again - I love you Mummy, Je t'aime Mama, Mo ni fe yin pupo Iya mi. Happy Birthday my Princess Lulu! You deserve only the best.

I have to say a HUGE thanks to Sebs as well. He has captured the beauty and strength of motherhood so well. I am sure as you read, you could identify with many of the things he wrote and even if not exactly, you know that our mothers are indeed jewels of inestimable value. It's so important to remember never to take them for granted and consciously acknowledge them because Sebs last point is so true, often times, we don't thank them enough. I celebrate all mothers today. You are pretty amazing! Thank YOU.


PS, May I please ask that you kindly do not reproduce/reprint pictures in this post as they are copyright protected. Thanks :-) xx

For all previous Chronicles of Sebastian posts, please click HERE.. Join Sabba again next week Wednesday..I look forward to what he will be sharing with us!
Please visit Sebastian's blog It's in German, however you can use 'Google translate' if English translation is required - Lovely lovely blog!

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Follow on Twitter: @1plustheone


  1. Happy Birthday Ayo's Mom!!! God bless you today and always.

    I second Sabs statement on Ayo, she truly is a kind and beautiful person and her Love for God and the principles of God is evident. They say an apple doesent fall too far from the tree. Ayo is a reflection of her Mother's virtue and principles.

    There is nothing like a mother's love/sacrifice. God Bless ALL Mothers.

  2. Awww, see Derin :)

    Hayo :D (I bet u know who this is), Happy birthday to ur Mum, many many many more to come!

  3. @HF: Yeah seeing the pic and her description; the apple definitely did not fall too far from the tree!!

    May your own mother be highly favored as well! Thanks for your comment! :)

  4. Happy birthday again our gorgeously fabulous mom of Ayo GT. I celebrate you.

    And well done again and again Sebastian. God bless you for especially reminding us all to constantly appreciate our mothers while we still have them.
    I always say to most young people that not matter how difficult you think your mother is, most of what she does is out of love and that may just be the best way she knows to express herself.

    I love and celebrate you mom, and all other mothers and mothers to be around the world.
    May we always reap the fruit of our labour over our children in Jesus name.

    Thanks again Ayo dearie

  5. Happy Birthday Ma, wish you many more years in good health and abundant blessings

  6. Thank you all so much for your birthday wishes! And Sebs thanks as always for a great post!
    @LOLS! Yayyy! My sister in the building! Oh by the way guys, that's her and my gorgeous niece in the first mummy-daughter picture :-) xxxx

  7. Many women in Nigeria dey try o. They suffer so much injustice, and are many times not appreciated.

    Where I served in the middle belt, its the women that work most. They run the farms, markets, etc., while the men wake up early morning and drink palm wine till like 3pm, no jokes o. Sad, i say.

    The picture of the 4 generation is the bomb men. You can try watermarking it if you don't want anyone to steal it, cos it will appear on google images without anyone seeing your copyright message, and then, it will be used elsewhere.

  8. Ayo, happy birthday to your beautiful mum. I agree with Sabba on the fact that women are not well appreciated in Africa. God bless our mums and May they all live long to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

  9. Beautiful post! Happy birthday to your mum :)

  10. Thank you very much everyone.
    @ilola, I will look for a way to watermark.. Thanks hun xx
    PS I didn't know you were performing at Eko Hotel yesterday, I would have come in to watch! We had an event next door - God's Children Got Talent.. xx

  11. Thank you dear Sebs for helping to watermark the picture! God bless you loads :-)

  12. Happy belated birthday to your mum, Ayo. May she enjoy many more merry decades in peace, health, happiness & prosperity; may she reap the rewards of her labor of love over you, here on earth and in heaven.

    She's beautiful..echoing the words of Highly Favored, the apple really doesnt fall far.

    Thanks too, Sebastian.

  13. AMEN and AMEN! Thanks a lot Abiola.. God bless you loads :-) xx

  14. Happy birthday to your Mum, Ayo. May her joy never go dry. She is so prettyyyy. Now we see were Ayo came from.

  15. Wow
    Moms rock
    And I read the post about your sis and I pray same for my kids. I want them to be best friends with each other.
    So yay at u and Ur sis. A bit envious but hey, I got some real tight friends.

  16. @The Winlos, Thank you so much.. Very grateful :-)
    @E, Mums do rock! Aww, E you have too many fab sisters, you make readers very jealous and also pray to have such blessinsg :-) xx


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