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Chisom Winifred: 24 Hours as a Mom

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My phone rang. The caller ID showed my elder sister. The married, mother of two energetic boys’ sister.

Chisom how far?”

She sounded like a 99-year old woman on her death bed.

Me: “I dey o, are you okay?”

Mother of two: “Mba, Aru adirokwam. I’m sick Biko I need you. I need someone to take care of Josh and his little brother, so my husband can take me to the hospital tomorrow”.

Who could possibly say no in this type of situation?” I thought sadly to myself. I already planned a date with my boyfriend for the next day.

Me: “Ehya no wahala, I’ll come tomorrow”.

Mother of two: “Biko biawanu kita, start coming today. I need to be at the hospital very early tomorrow”.

It probably didn’t help that my mom was in my room when this call came in. I was helping her reply messages on “Whatsup”. She couldn’t keep up with the New Year messages, insisting that every reply I sent must be different. I was her temporary clerk, she dictated while I typed.

Onwe Ihe Mere? Is everything okay with your sister?” She asked the moment I hung up.

I didn’t dare lie. The minute I finished talking, she was already on her feet with instructions.

Oya pack your bags, come and take transport fare, let me put rice in food flask for the children”.

I love my sister, I really do but she needs a Grammy award in shaking up my life. I wished for the umpteenth time her nanny hadn’t disappeared on her without notice, had the woman been available, this wouldn’t have been happening.

Few hours later, I was on a bus en route Ebonyi from Enugu state. The bus was stuffy, the man beside me kept trying to make conversation, my boyfriend wasn’t exactly happy with our cancelled plans. I sighed. Things we do for family.

I wasn’t expecting the situation I met. My sister and her husband were both sick. My brother in law was being the ‘man’ of the house, catering for the boys with forced strength. My sister was already on the bed, with socks, sweater and wrapper, shaking like a jelly fish. The moment I took Josh from my brother in law’s tired arms; he threw his head back on the sofa and slept off.

Wow. I felt guilty for not showing up earlier. Rocking Joshua in my arms, I looked around me. I had two sicks adults and two energetic children to cater for. Way to go babe!

I managed to survive the night, woke up a couple of times to rock someone back to sleep, change diaper, give formula, or fetch a glass of water. I felt like a hero. I had everything under control. I woke up to Joshua’s wailing by 6am and my elder sister demanding for her 15th glass of water. The day was about to go down well.

My brother in law called a friend of his for assistance, who came with his wife. The lovely wife helped me bath the boys and heat up the food for everyone, before driving my sister and her husband to the hospital. I was left alone with my two nephews.

Before I start narrating how my day went, I’d like to acknowledge every mother and wife in this world. You all are magicians!

We started the day with playing, making Insta stories and video call with not so angry anymore bae. Everything was working smoothly. Around 12 noon, Joshua’s younger brother changed the game. He started getting cranky; cry a little, laugh the next second when I bring a new toy. By 12:15, he became uncontrollable. I almost slapped myself. How could I forget? His cerelac! Josh too was catching the drift, he was beginning to cry too. Rocking his younger brother on my waist, I tried giving him new toys, I couldn’t carry them both. He wasn’t having any of it.

How in God’s name was I supposed to boil hot water for cerelac and tea with two wailing children? I was singing and speaking baby language, multi tasking in the kitchen and preparing meal for two, while trying not to show favouritism. Food prepared, I was faced with a fresh dilemma, who do I feed first? I sat Josh on the couch close beside me, gave him his tea bottle, then spoon fed his younger brother. The magic of food, little baby slept right after that. Josh took an extra hour and some minutes of circling the sitting room and singing his favourite Disney junior song. They both finally slept.

By 3pm I was tired. I had neither had my bath nor eaten anything the whole day. I rushed my bath, the most noiseless and quickest bath I had had since I was born. I proceeded to prepare noodles very quietly. I was scared of the noise fried egg would make, so I just boiled it. I sat down to enjoy my first meal of the day. When Joshua woke up, I picked him up and just gave him tea. I didn’t care, I just gave him tea till he slept again. I ate in a hurry. There was no telling how long before I was to be summoned again.

Fast forward to 5pm when we were all playing ‘ball’ in the sitting room, my brother in law came back home, with my sister nowhere in sight. We all had to go back to pick her up later, the IV fluid on her arm was almost finished. He came home for a quick bath and extra cash. He looked better. I dressed the boys up and around 6pm, we were at the hospital room with my sister. The room was pitifully shabby, a sharp contrast to my sister. She looked much better. Josh got very busy gulping down his mommy’s lucozade boost without a care in the world while little baby was suckling for all he was worth on mommy’s “natural” milk. My sister looked at me, smiled and asked,

How was your day?”

I just gave her a sarcastic “don’t talk to me” face. I had no words to describe my day yet. She simply laughed and said; “This is me every day”.

The nurse came in after that to check on her, I had to take the little baby from her, I rubbed his back for easy digestion, recalling that from the zillion instructions my mother gave me from home. Did I mention she was calling me every five minutes, asking?

“Kee ka unu mee? How are you people? How is it going? Jisi ike Inugo, you’ll soon have your own family, just be learning”.

Without any warning, little baby vomited very hot breast milk on my chest, I screamed! It took all my willpower not to drop him like hot potato. My sister sensing my thought, hurriedly took her child from me. She couldn’t stop laughing at the dramatic expression on my face. My brother in law informed me with a silly smile on his face that, I had “over-rubbed” his back. I was supposed to rub a little, wait for him to burp, and then stop. Well nobody told me that.

Being a woman is not easy; being a mother is something else! I realised all this while, I had in my head been preparing for a wedding, not motherhood. I wasn’t ready for my whole life to change, my body to change, and my priorities in life to change. Barely 24hours caring for 2kids, I couldn’t find my phone, I didn’t even brush my hair, I had eaten just once the whole day, and I had no time to do anything else.

Family is consuming, it wraps you up. I started to see my sister in a new light. This was just one day as a mother, subtracting anxiety during pregnancy, stressful life events during pregnancy, traumatic childbirth experience, the “cut and join” night sleep pattern or even postpartum depression.

Women have super powers; it takes special grace to be a good mother. To all the wives and mothers out there, I see you! You’re special!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Chisom Winifred is a creative/freelance writer, content creator and a self published Author. She's also the co-founder of C&C Digital a social media management firm, dedicated helping small businesses monetize social media using smart online marketing strategies. Find her on Instagram @chisomwinifred or visit her blog www.chisomwinifred.com

26 Comments

  1. yes o!

    January 29, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Very lovey article Chisom, so much fun to read. Every mum has gone through what you’ve just described; (apart from those who are rich enough to employ two full time nannies, a cleaner, a personal chef, a driver, and two househelps). The early tears are quite hectic like that; but it gets easier as they get older.

  2. yes o!

    January 29, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    “early years

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      February 4, 2018 at 2:59 am

      I liked “early tears” too. Something tells me that early tears feature as a major part of the motherhood journey.

      Everytime I’ve ever babysat, I’ve had a renewed respect and awe for mothers all over. To do that over and over again, day to day? Una super powers no be here.

      And Chisom, you already know this…. but your writing is very engaging.

  3. Miss Fine

    January 29, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    This put a smile on my face. Felt like I was reading a novel and didn’t want it to end.

  4. o

    January 29, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Very nice write up i really enjoyed reading this; well done.

  5. RIFF RAFF

    January 29, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    I see someone who almost had post partum depression because of her two energetic nephews. Next time, you guys will think twice before sneering at a mother of toddlers for “looking so unkempt and untidy”,

  6. ibby

    January 29, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    I feel better after reading this. I prepped my daughter for school. packed her lunch and all that last night. but my mommy instinct hit on our way. Our conversation went like this. check your bag pack for your lunch bag. I cant find it, mommy. oh shoot, we must have left it at home. I drove like James Bond, back to the house and grabbed the lunch bag from the fridge and headed back to school. This is just the morning. Let see what the evening will bring……….

  7. Truth

    January 29, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    THANK YOU!!!

  8. Mrs chidukane

    January 29, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    My kids eat five times a day plus snacks. Let me just stop here .

  9. Annoymous

    January 29, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Been a mother is one of the toughest responsibilities in the world. God bless All Mothers

  10. Ify

    January 29, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    I can’t wait for my younger sister to get married and have her own kids… The babe can help you scrub and tidy up 5 storey building..lol But please don’t ask her to carry your kids. Especially between 3 to 9months. Please don’t!!!lol

  11. Bleed Blue

    January 29, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    And then you hear:

    “What does she do?”

    “Oh nothing, she’s a stay-at-home Mum.”

    Look, even when there are nannies, the amount of multi-tasking and co-ordination involved in this beautiful gift called Motherhood ehn….

  12. anon

    January 29, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Spot on!

  13. Tope

    January 29, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    This is a beautifully written piece. Well done??

  14. No Headaches Please

    January 29, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Absolutely loooooved this!!!

  15. tunmi

    January 29, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    get help, pay for it, and get some much needed me time.

  16. Amy

    January 29, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Beautiful and interesting article; couldn’t stop smiling all through. I’m just having my me time since morning and still have to wake up at 4am. And the homework keeps coming in fours and two pages each for a five year old that is always in school 7:30am- 3:30pm. And I keep wondering what they have been learning for eight solid hours that still deserves this huge amount of home work. Schools are gradually turning children to full time workers; Adults 8am- 5pm, children 7:30am- 3:30pm.

  17. bubu

    January 30, 2018 at 9:14 am

    labour of love I so desire. so help me God

  18. Shine Shine baby

    January 30, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Why did this story leave me teary eyed? You write beautifully Chisom,it was a pleasant read.

  19. Rita

    January 30, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Hahaha! If this article ain’t the truth!

  20. Adanna

    January 30, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    This made me laugh so much……i had experienced this when my sister was born and was left alone to care for her, after that I warned her that she shouldn’t try to get pregnant again.
    It was such a beautiful read

  21. Freeman

    January 30, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    This really portrays the real life of a mother…

  22. Akpeno

    January 30, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Always lovely to read the perspectives of young women who are yet to marry and or have children,

    Very well written.

  23. funke

    January 30, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Nice write up

  24. Elizabeth

    January 31, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Nice write up, there’s just that extra grace for every woman, the whole task becomes loathsome when we begin to make it look like a chore. I guess we mums and mums to be get to look on the bright side at all times. Cheers!

  25. Chacha

    January 31, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Nice one chisom. You are a good writer.

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