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Mothers Day 2013: My Mother Told Me – “Be the Best You Can Be”



As I pulled back the curtain to let in the bright orange glow of the Durban sunrise, the first thing I thought of was the immense awesomeness of God. The sight of the waves as they gently grazed the sandy shore tugged at my heart and I yearned to run downstairs just to feel the wet sand between my toes and in the arch of my feet. If wishes were horses indeed… So I turned around and just plunked right back into bed. Omawumi’s song “The Best You Can Be” has been looping in my head since.

My mind was at rest and I was really able to think about the chorus of that song which was an ode to the amazing qualities of a mother and how they are misunderstood.

Kneel down, hands up, close your eyes
Wash the plates, and your clothes, clean those tiles
all those things and many more
Priceless values that you taught made me who I am today

So, I decided to write… to my mothers!

I no dey crase when I say make you wash the pot” -To my mother, Victoria Yusuf, I say thank you. For the discipline and the training. The trips to the market, learning the difference between fresh tripe and day old goat meat. Being able to haggle and ensure that the money you take to the market is enough to buy everything you need because you have to learn to be financially responsible and economical. For teaching me that washing dishes and clearing up while cooking at the same time will not kill me, but instead make my kitchen more organized and eventually reduce the work I have to do when the cooking is done.

All along you wanted me to be the best that I can be.” – To my mother, Asta Thahal, I say thank you. For ensuring that I studied when I NEEDED to study. For telling me over and over that I once I passed and got good grades, I’d be able to watch as much TV as I wanted. The love and the care along with the strict emphasis on humility. My heart wells over just thinking of the unending love.

One day, you go grow old and start your own family” – To my mother, Iyabo Abolarin, I say thank you. For teaching me all about the intricacies of families and the differences which make us unique and special. You taught me to be strong against all odds – that inner strength always comes to the fore. You taught me to find a joke and a reason to smile even in the darkest of situations.

You gonna have to learn before you can be the best the best you can be” – To my mother, Sarah Alade, I say thank you. For the warmth of your smile and the humility of your heart. You taught me to always aim for the pinnacle of my career. In all that, remembering to remain grounded and keeping focus on what was important, like family. Your sound articulate mind and keen sense of priorities have been passed down. I love you very much for it.

I didn’t see the tears you cried for me, I didn’t hear the prayers that you said on your knees” – To my mother Esther Taiwo, I say thank you. For never giving up on me. For being the mother you needed to be and for being my friend when I needed one. You taught me to embrace my imperfections and find that thing that made me special and wax it, till it shone for the world to see.

I love you MOMS! Now and always.

I feel so honored to have more than one mother and I pray that I’m half as awesome as all my mothers. I hope to be able to say to my daughters.
Read your books, choose good friends,
Get wise, learn to cook, be organised,
Don’t tell lies
All of these and many more
You gonna have to learn before you can be the best

Happy Mothers’ Day. Show your mother(s) some love today because they made a choice… to be mothers.

Listen to the The Best You Can Be here:

You can also buy the Lasso of Truth here on iTunes

Photo Credit:

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Chic

    May 12, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Which Mothers day does Nigeria “officially” celebrate? The British one that happens in March or the American one that happens in May? I am confused…Happy mothers day for the second time this year though to all mothers around the world!

    • noni

      May 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      My Thoughts Exactly … Happy Mother’s Day 🙂

    • Anon

      May 12, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Good question. I assumed we celebrated the british one, as we generally use the british system for most things. But then again nigerians, any excuse to party twice…lol

    • Teez

      May 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      The “official” mother’s day in Nigeria is in march, in line with the British’s. Different countries and their “mother’s day ” celebration date is in wikipedia. Guess Nigerians are just ignorant and celebrate anyone they like or remember

    • Autoprincess

      May 13, 2013 at 10:27 am

      No dear, we are not ignorant, thank you very much

    • Flue

      May 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Nigerian officially celebrates the British Mothers day, but Churches founded by Americans (e.g Baptist denomination) celebrate the American Mothers day.

    • Ngum

      May 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm

      bwahaha! true. this thing confuses Africans. i think everyday is mothers’ day in our continent. i doubt anywhere else in the world uplifts motherhood like African. meanwhile, let’s spare a thought for the women who desire this wonderful gift but for whatever reason can’t have it naturally. we need to be more accepting of adoption and IVF.

    • Joshua

      May 15, 2013 at 11:15 am

      celebrate everything dearie…you and other mothers deserve to be celebrated everyday of the week***missing mum and the good gals…

  2. joy

    May 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I read this article n I’m in tears,my mum has tried her best to train me.Oh Lord,My God help me in my endeavours so I make my mother proud.AMEN!

  3. Kiki

    May 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I can celebr8 as many Mothers Days as will come.. Atoke this is so inspiring… Coming from a polygamous family, I really understand what it means to have more than 1 mother.. What ever wrong I did and for every mother that scolded me, I was sure to hav 1 that would give me bread and coke in a bid 2 stop my tears.. I can’t thank my biological mother enough. I can remember goin to the market with her one day and she stood there staring at a pair of gold slippers . When I asked her why she wouldn’t just buy it, she just smiled and said “let buy you school scandals first… I ll manage d 1 I have”.. That was the day it dawned on me… She was giving up comfort for me.. Or when I told my step mum I wanted a barbie doll for my 7th birthday she bot me 1green plastic doll.. Even her hair was plastic. I was so angry as I had bragged in school about he I will com in with my barbie the next day.. On my 22nd birthday, I got the barbie doll… She never forgot. To our 1st miracles from God, I wish all mothers a lifetime if celebration .

    • deep

      May 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

      I know those plastics dolls, they’re useless and frustrating for any child! lolllllllll The children where I used to go and make my hair used to have them.
      Ur story is touching n I’m glad u got ur Barbie =)))

    • tatafo

      May 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      this is so touching, God bless you for appreciating your mom & step mums. I pray God grants you the miracle of a daughter so you can pass on the wonderful legacy to her as well

  4. riri-rose

    May 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    i knew dis was gonna b another winner. i look 4ward 2 reading from Atoke. Every day is a mother’s day. 2 my own dear Momma, continue to rest in peace. Love always, me.

  5. Comfort

    May 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    This Omawumi song is amazingggggg..And I love how she switches to pidgin all the time 🙂
    Where can i get/ download her album????
    Nice write up Atoke. I love love love you!

    • Partyrider

      May 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm


    • deep

      May 13, 2013 at 10:25 am


  6. Precian

    May 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    well we should celebrate our mothers everyday of their lives ..
    no qualms in saying HAPPY MOTHERS DAY once again….
    we love u all


    May 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Me thinks mothers are a ‘race’ of their own. A special breed of humans who are not nearly as celebrated as they ought. Rich or poor, there’s a common thread that runs right through every mother and I don’t think it has yet been understood even though it is so obviously very strong and unbreakable. I salute every woman and every mother. Happy mother’s day

  8. Adedayo

    May 13, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I witnessed my sister go thru child labor last month, and i gatta say,i have a new respect for women.mothers especially

    Not sure how my mom managed to hav i had to ask her..

    Me: Mom,u tried o, how did u have seven,didn’t it hurt,were u not in pain? Yet,u were pregnant every 15months for over 10yrs
    Her response: well,after the first three, the rest of you just kind of walked out…

    Bless her heart.she is the epitome of woman esteemed

    Happy Mother’s Day Queens…

  9. diana

    May 13, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Happy mum day dis is d time dat we should show our mum love is nt easy to be a mother

  10. AA

    May 13, 2013 at 11:43 am

    If that’ s the only other song you listen to right after her “if you ask me” on that album, you, my dear would have done well

  11. AA

    May 13, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Trooper! One helluva trooper, the things they endure without bitching sets the rest of us up cos u’ll be neck-deep in it before the reality hits you, BAM!

  12. MTY

    May 13, 2013 at 11:55 am

    i wuld celebrate my mum any day any tym. Dont know how she managed to have n raise 8 of us wonderfully well. She is the bestest! Each tym i forget to say my prayers in d mornin, i still alwaz feel covered cos i know she will neva forget to say a prayer on my behalf. LUV U LOADS IYA TOSIN! My Dad rocks too though!!!!!!

  13. Eva

    May 13, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Hi,discovered BN website last month & I like it a lot.
    Moms rocks!
    Eva from Cameroon

  14. eniola

    May 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks again Atoke, more power to your fingers and knowledge to your brain. To those criticizing others for the number of times we celebrate mothers day, na wa for una o. As for me, mothers should live forever. Cant even recount the many sacrifices my mum made for me and my siblings and members of our extended family who stayed with us at some point. One very funny yet touching one i remember is when i got hit by a ”beetle car” when i was very young, when my mum got to the hospital, she was already crying and wailing and when she found the man that drove the car, she went for his d***k saying ”he has to know how it feels o! o fe pami lomo” lool. The time she flogged my elder brother all the way to school because he used our lunch money to play snooker the previous day and was beaten for starving me and my kid brother till she got back, so to hurt my mum, he said he was no longer interested in been educated. loooolz. Then talk of my learning household chores days, ah no, una no wan hear. I’m happy she’s the one i came through and wouldn’t wish for another. I’m glad she got the best man in the world to be her husband. I pray for a happy home like theirs everyday LOVE HER FOREVER AND ALWAYS. Iya Seyi Seyi as we fondly call her now.

  15. amy

    May 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    my mom is an epitome of love, strength, endurance and tolerance. i come from a family where we are girls only and i knew what she had to go thru just because we were girls but thankGod we are all standing and doing well by God’s grace despite all the saying that we will not amount to nothing but she made know that we must become something in life. i love her and my prayer is she lives long to see all our children

  16. Mz Socially Awkward....

    May 13, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    BN and Atoke can celebrate Mother’s day every Sunday and it still won’t be close to nearly enough to pay homage to mothers. @ Teez, hush up with your own ignorant self and take you lack of “Mother’s day” appreciation someplace else.

    We gave my mum an iPad and she’s discovered Skype. The joy of speaking face to face with Mummy anytime I want to, regardless of distance! Bliss!! Although, she spends the first 10-20mins critiquing my hair/clothes/general appearance… Only a mother can boldly make the comment “Ah, but you children were finer when you were younger, what happened?” and cause you to laugh and shake your head at her unrepentant yabbing. I love you to bits, my very own Nne oma!!!

  17. OKay

    May 13, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Great. Thanks, All things being equal

  18. Itohan

    May 14, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Best inspirational music to come out from Nigeria in recent time. God bless you Omawumi and God bless the mother that bore and bless even more the children you would bring into this world. God bless all mothers and all seeking for fruit of the womb. Your wombs shall rejoice and the joyful cry and laughter of children shall be heard in your house and homes in Jesus Christ name amen.

  19. Wale

    May 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Why does the date matter? Shouldn’t you celebrate Mothers everyday? Even if we dedicated 300 days to celebrating, is it enough?


  21. micheal

    May 19, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Looks like your mum love Amstel Malt o.

  22. Rullies

    May 20, 2013 at 12:56 am

    Aww. Beautiful

  23. Benson

    May 20, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Great.Mums are like Gold very precious filled with love and understanding.Happy mother’s day every day.Aint gonna be enough i love all the mothers yau.

  24. Cee

    May 21, 2013 at 10:43 am

    “Your marriage shall be better than mine. God that gave me children when they said I will never give birth will give you yours.” Who will ever say that with all sincerity and ensure that God hears it every day if not a mother? Who will beat you for what others did wrong and tell you that she has so much trust in you to ensure that everyone else conforms? Who will beat you and cry with you begging you to please do better to avoid punishment? Remember the uncountable sacrifices? Mothers! Ohhhhwwww!
    Then during youth service I nearly drowned. The one thought that came to my mind was “will my mother survive my death?’. To God’s glory, I was rescued. The thanksgiving when I let her know some months after youth service, I leave us to imagine. Hmnnnn….. Mothers! Ohhhhwwww!
    Salut’ to all mothers (biological, surrogate, foster, step) who have done what they should as mothers. May you all know joy in abundance. Happy mothers’ day, Happy every day! Salut’

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