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Mother Knows Best



3generations.pic for 'Mother Knows Best'My mother is a soothsayer of some sort. Her words are so naturally laced with adages and idioms, each relaying a tale bitter or sweet, with hope that I would heed her words. Years and years have passed but her words have lingered through the different phases of my life, each proverb carrying more relevance given the circumstances endured. At a younger age I would nod as she spoke all in a false attempt to play the attentive child I barely was. That’s not to say I never heard with she said. She had said them too many times before! My ears were just more likely to itch for the latest gist from my similar-minded peers. My mother still repeats her favorite lines but I no longer experience the now-ancient inertia I felt back then because she was right all along.

“Enkay, treat yourself like royalty……If you don’t know no body else will”.

Come on, she even said that when I used a preferred chipped plate to serve my meals! It was an old dish, I know. But she didn’t want me using it even though I oozed of contentment. She wanted me to cultivate the habit of treating myself like a princess even in such supposedly minute details because, when it comes down to it, people consciously or unconsciously approach you based on the way they view you treating yourself. I probably replied, “Mummy, it is just a plate!” while nursing inaudible ramblings.

“This friend you are always going to visit, I have never seen her here o”, my mother would say. “Don’t keep visiting friends or people who do not return your visits”, she’d continue, vehemently waving her index finger at me. This particular saying always made me uncomfortable because I always assumed Taibat would surely visit me soon, at least before the holidays were over. Over seven years of ‘friendship’ and Taibat couldn’t even tell you the color of my roof. My mum was right. Again.

Around Mothering Sunday, I asked some friends to share their mothers’ favorite quotes, those wise lyrics we heard so often, some of which were all too predictable we sometimes took their depth for granted.

Here are their mothers’ lines:

Toyosi: Funny my mum also said the same on visiting friends. She also says you can become ANYTHING you want to be. But whatever you choose to do, be the best at it.

Jamila: My mother always says what an elder foresees the youth cannot even if they are on top of the highest mountain!

Yetunde: Well my mama always said “Ranti omo enti e wo se”. Translation: Remember the child of who you are wherever you go at all times. That’s what kept us in line.

Christie: My mother always said….you better listen to me!

Bomi: My mom said a lot of wise things, lots and lots…but to be honest the first that comes to mind, what she used to say repeatedly was “Keep Yourself Pure”!!! She said it all the time…lol! (enkay: Check out her fabulous website for a sure dose of laughter and knowledge for inspirational living)

Wande: “Owuro lojo”. That literally means ‘the morning is the day’. Do what you need to do early in the morning or at least on time so you can get quite a lot accomplished for the day.

Buchi: Hard work never kills (enkay: my mum said that too *wink*)

Ray: My mum always told herself out loud, “Everyday and every way, I’m getting better and better” Another was “Never wish away a day because you’ll never get it back”. Oh she also said “Always wear clean underwear because you never know when you’ll get hit by a car”.

Always celebrate those sayings, both the comical and the potent. Share the wisdom with others. I tell you, they make for good entertainment. My siblings and I have nearly made it a habit re-enacting scenes of our parents saying their lines. Each session yields lots of laughter, either parent beaming on the side if present. I can’t recall how many sentences my dad started with, “My father/mother used to say……” It gets funnier hearing them but sometimes I hear one that I haven’t recalled in a long time and I’d think to myself, “I used to know that one”. If I kept it close to my heart maybe I would not have …………

Never mind.

Hopefully amidst the shrugs, pouts and frowns of yester-years we can claim to be older, wiser and proudly refined by our parents’ consistency. Some parents have passed on –bless their dear souls-, others were not even our biological parents but they held just as much significance in our upbringing. One day you and I will become those clanging cymbals, throbbing verbal beats, warnings of caution to our children. Some of you already sound just like your mamas and papas! I pray that at each step of the way our children make life decisions that show they not only heard but listened to us.

Do share your mother or father’s favorite quotes with us!

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  1. abike

    April 6, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    My mom used to tell me: “eating fast is not swallowing”

  2. Yetunde

    April 7, 2010 at 12:33 am

    my momma always says: “never be in a hurry to grow up! you will get there soon enough”. this was a word of caution for the parties i wanted to attend, the makeup and the skimpy clothes i thought would make me hot at 13. Her favorite though was:” ti o ba mo ibi ti o nlo, ranti ibi ti o ti wa”. Translation: if you have no idea where you are headed, remember where you are coming from”. this second one always helps me when i am confused about anything. Whenever i recall this, my brow straightens, my heartbeat slows and i remember my present dilemma(whatever it may be) had a beginning. So i just go back to the root of the problem and work from there.

  3. Bukky

    April 7, 2010 at 12:41 am

    My mom would say “tani iya tani omo” meaning “i am the mother here,and i am in charge”…lol

  4. aDa

    April 7, 2010 at 1:41 am

    My mom still says: “Good things never finish”

  5. dastubo

    April 7, 2010 at 8:57 am

    My mom says: Kante froko jein mie a bebe, jein mie ba: translates to “if a torn frock cannot be used as an item of clothing, it can still be used for a rag!!” Meaning everything has its use.

  6. vic

    April 7, 2010 at 9:31 am

    My dear mama always says ” You can get anything you want when you pray to God”

  7. Debo Ade

    April 7, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Mum said and still says so many wise things and damn she was and still is always right… so y didn’t i listen then…. remember the child of who you are… i don’t look for friends that don’t visit me…. your family would always be there for you…. watch who your friends are…. if you can’t bring your friends home, then there is something wrong…. and the list goes on

  8. YAR

    April 7, 2010 at 11:46 am

    My mum of blessed memory used this prayer for us her children a lot: ‘omo rere a toju e’ meaning great children will look after or take care of you. That phrase made so much meaning to me now that she died in 2008. Incidentally, that was her last word to me on the phone before she died.
    While growing up she would tell us ‘aja to ma sonu, kii gbo fere olode meaning a hunting dog destined to get lost in the jungle does not heed the hunter’s whistle’, after she had given her instructions and we seemed not to follow it.
    Now I repeat that often to my 26 year old girl.
    Mothers know best!

  9. abi gidi

    April 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    very wise words…

  10. Nneka

    April 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I’m totally waohed by the first quote….those are such positive words. May she RIP.

  11. abimbola

    April 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    My mom always said, ‘ranti omo eni ti iwo nse’, which means ‘remember the child of whom you are’.When i was in the boarding house in secondary school, she always has that written out like a signature.It surely got stuck in my brains,I always think about where I come from, even now!!!

  12. yem

    April 8, 2010 at 12:39 am

    my mum used to say hardwork never kills but poverty does

  13. OAU

    April 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    These are the 2 from my mama I remember so clearly. (1)Tough situations never last but tough people do !!!!!!! (2) Cut your coat according to your size

  14. adeola

    April 8, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    my mama always say ”d person dat do good to u 2day might hurt u 2moro and whoever hurt u 2day can still do good to u 2moro”

  15. Bomi Jolly

    April 8, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I love this, very well put together! Mothers are the best aren’t they? Thanks Enkay=)!

  16. Alero

    April 9, 2010 at 9:15 am


  17. ojaybaby

    April 12, 2010 at 6:44 am

    My mother told me recently “saying sorry does not take away sickness,but when the person who expects it from you does not hear it,it is seen as wickedness…” im just like mehn!y did i hear this after i had made the mistake,anyhow you live and you learn.

  18. ojaybaby

    April 12, 2010 at 6:47 am

    sickness,she explained that it is not just physical sickness,it could be emotional problems as well,bottom line is show love genuine love to the ones who care for you,it is better to have shown it than not at all,all humans want to be needed cherished and feel valued,so dont hold it back,you might leave someone dear to you wondering whether you ACTUALLY care

  19. Nezed

    July 21, 2010 at 11:11 am

    My mother says: ”This Life na per head”! Meaning, at the end of it all,
    the consequences will be yours alone to bear!

  20. bcgeorge

    August 24, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    my mum used to say some very inspirational and soul ifting words back then until recently, all i hear is Bisi, when are you gonna bring HER to us….it freaks me out

  21. lizzy

    October 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    lol @ bcgeorge, stuff like dat happen alot esp 2 d ladies. @ Enkay: wonderful piece and i really can’t wait 2 tell my kids all my mum( God rest her beautiful soul) taught me and my earnest prayer remains dat they will hear and also listen. She made such an impact that after 8 years of her demise, most of the words she said have continued to shape my life and will always do by God’s grace togeda with God’s words..

  22. chichi

    October 19, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    my mother always said: “evil communications corrupt good manners”, “bad habits are easy to pick up, but hard to drop” “a word is enough for the …(pulling her ear) wise”, “time waits for nobody”

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