Growing up, there were surely moments when the way your mother coined her words, did some things, and even organized her body language, that got you believing that her main destiny in life was to frustrate you. Those are the times you wondered why you were placed in her care on earth. You silently promised yourself that you would not only be different, you would never do things the same way she did hers.
Unfortunately, twenty years later when you are an adult – married or living on your own, you find yourself doing those same things that you loathed when your mother did them. Not that you have seen the error of your ways and it all now makes sense to you. No.
It’s still BS, you know it, but you cannot stop yourself from doing them. You subconsciously absorbed them while growing up and somehow it has become natural instincts.
Washing underwear by hand instead of machine
For some reason, when you are doing your laundry, you find yourself picking out your bras, pants, and other kinds of underwear for hand washing. You don’t even think about it, you just know you cannot wash it in the machine because it would mean you are lazy and dirty.
Subconsciously, your mother’s voice back in the day rings in your head, telling you that only a girl without home training would wash something as intimate as their underwear in a machine as the machine will not wash it properly.
Please, if the machine can wash away stubborn stains, why can’t it wash an underwear clean? Even when you have a washerwoman, you never give her your underwear to wash for you because, why would you let her touch what you wear so close to your privates? But then, if she can wash your pj’s and night gowns, why can’t she wash your panties really?
Unless of course you don’t wear panty liners, you have goo or that brown line on your underwear and you find it embarrassing.
Freezing/warming leftovers even when you know you won’t eat it
“Finish your food, we don’t waste food”, “if you cannot finish the food, cover it and put in the fridge, you will eat it later”,
“If you are hungry, there is left over jollof rice in the fridge, go and warm it”.
We literally grow up with our mothers voices always yelling to us that food cannot be wasted. There are Ziplocs and plastic containers for you to store them away in. No matter how small, you cannot throw it away.
As an adult earning your own money and paying for your own food, you find that you just cannot get yourself to throw away any left over – even when you know you will not eat it later. No matter how small, you scrape it and put in the freezer where is stays until your freezer clean-up day when you throw it away anyway, because it “has been in the freezer for too long”.
Even when you go to restaurants, you ask them to pack the left over. You fail to remember how embarrassed you used to feel when you mom did the same thing back then. How can you be embarrassed, you are doing it?
Counting the meat in the pot and serving only adults more than one piece of meat
You live alone, there is nobody dragging your pot with you, yet, you are counting the meat in the pot and even marking the shape to know how many drumsticks, how many ‘pomo’ and how many ‘tozo’. Why do this to yourself?
As a child, you found it frustrating anytime your mom said: “go to the pot and take the smallest meat there, I have counted it so warn yourself.” But you might as well be saying that to yourself now.
Even worse is when you find it difficult serving a child or teenager two pieces of meat when they are among adult visitors, because you have been raised to believe that only the adults can eat two pieces of meat in one serving. The child will come and ask:”Aunty can I have one more piece?” and you vehemently say: “No! One is enough for you” when you actually have more than enough meat and can comfortably give that child/teenager more. Why? Why oh why?
Going to church every Sunday
Going to church on Sundays is a do-or-die affair – whether you feel like it or not. Now, staying at home gives you this underground feeling that you are beginning to develop witch-like tendencies and you are warming up to the devil. You cannot let yourself do other things like brunch at Oriental hotel instead, chillz with the boo or film marathon on Sundays because…well, it is Jesus’ day and you have to keep it holy.
Your mom’s voice rings at the back of your head “How can you miss church on a Sunday? What will your father in heaven say” “How can you be going to a party on a Sunday, Oh chi m oh! This child is gone!”
It’s easier to just dress up and go, than stay back and wallow in the guilt that you are becoming a bad child. It’s like you have control over what you do with your life on weekends, but you really don’t.
Looking the other side when a man cheats
“Leave him, he is a man, that’s how they are.” Our mothers made this statement one too many times either excusing our fathers’ polygamous habits or supporting our brothers’ philandering ways. And as annoying as we found it back then, we have somehow now have grown up with the same mindset that it is okay for the man to cheat and behave anyhow. It’s in his nature and so it doesn’t matter as long as he provides and care for you.
So now, we are wired to look the other way, and accept all kinds of BS from men. Your boyfriend spends 1 hour on the phone with another girl laughing and gisting coded love gist, right in front of you and you don’t call him out on it because: one, you don’t want to seem like a nag or too clingy; two…hey, you are the main chick and you are the one whose pictures are on his Instagram page. You are okay with a guy disrespecting you because he is a man and he is polygamous in nature.
Please, who has heard of polyandry? Who says girls don’t have such proclivities as well? Why should we be the ones to look away. Why are we still wired this way?
Greeting people you don’t care about
Your mom will just finish complaining to you about an aunty or relative, but the next minute she is hugging and welcoming the same people to the house and even asking them to stay the night; her excuse is always: “Let’s keep the peace”.
As an adult, you know the value of time and staying true to who you are and how you feel, but for some reason, you also still find yourself smiling and making small talk with members of the extended family you do not care about.
Sometimes, you even find yourself listening to their problems and sending them money. Why you put up with all that beats you. You remember your mother did the same thing and you should know better…but you just can’t help yourself.
Forming strong woman even when you are tired of being strong
This is a big issue. Somehow, our mothers have made us believe that as a woman, you have to be strong and endure everything. Meaning, even when the situation is not conducive and it is biting you, you soldier on. When your spouse has refused to provide for the house, you take on the burden and stay strong. When he starts to hit you, you take it for the children and keep moving. When you are being lied on and maltreated by your in-laws, rather than speak up…you endure and wait for the sun to reveal it all because nothing is hidden under the sun. When you are tired of doing house chores and need your husband to pitch in and he doesn’t, you struggle on. You stay strong until you literally die of strength.
On Mother’s day you hear people, especially sons and husbands, testifying of how strong their mothers and wives are, what they have gone through for them and all, and you ask yourself: “Please, Didn’t Jesus die for all of these kinds of sufferings? Why are these mothers wasting his efforts like this?” You struggle with being strong and say to people “Please… I cannot come and go and die, it’s not that deep”, but you inside your heart, you know all sorts of rubbish you are still enduring . *sigh*
The expensive china is only for special occasion or guests
As a child, you always wondered why you were never allowed to use certain plates when some ugly uncle with a rotten tooth can. You mother will dish your food in a plate that is not so pretty, but when people come to visit, the fabulous plates come out from hiding. You realize it is BS because a plate is a plate, right? But fast forward to you as an adult. The same way you have “house clothes” and “going out” clothes, you have cheap plates for everyday eating and the expensive ones that you get to use only once or twice a year …or even the one you saving to use when you get married and move to your husband’s house. But why? If you are working hard for your money, why can’t you just use those expensive plates every day and feel fancy? Why do you even feel the need to be pretentious and use special plates for guests anyways? The whole differentiation of plate does not make sense to you, yet you find yourself doing it because annoying or not, that’s how mama did it and somehow, that’s how you’ve got to do it too.
Talking in proverbs and metaphors
As a child, you always secretly wanted to ask your mother: “why do you use these proverbs and metaphors when you can just say it up front and tell me what exactly you mean?” Perhaps it’s the way a woman is fashioned or some mothers just derive joy from getting their children to think deeply, but our mothers would always look for a way to add something extra to what they want to say or even say something that sounds completely different from what is actually means. ‘ Ah, a butterfly thinks himself a bird”, “The disobedient fowl obeys in a pot of soup” they say all sorts and usually in your local dialect. As a young adult you most times had to read her body language and crack your brain to put two and two together and that made it all so irritating. But now,we use same proverbs on friends and our children as well, don’t we?
Do you agree with these points?
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Noriko Cooper