The Woman: Mother, Lover, god!

Mothers And How They Mirror Females In Nigerian Society

by Gottfried Moh

The Woman: Mother, Lover, god!

There is a view (and it is hard to fault this) that the average Nigerian mother is the most multi-layered, ambidextrous, multi-dimensional human being alive. She is the beaming light that shapes generations of Nigerians now and in the future. One month is not enough, let alone one day, to reel out the superhuman attributes of the Nigerian female parent, but no moment should be spared in elaborating on her divinity.

Time and time again, we find that the Nigerian mother has the uncanny ability to stretch herself. Like an octopus, she is able to reach out in different directions all at once to keep the family running. She cooks delicious meals, does the piled-up laundry, teaches the children most of the values and life skills they (try to put into) practice in their adult years, and above all of that, she manages to step up in playing the role of disciplinarian.

“My mother’s prayers keep me going”.

We hear these words usually uttered, not for the heck of it but,  for the deeply rooted implications of the alphabets. The Nigerian mother doubles as a prayer warrior, ensuring you’re soaked in the blood of Jesus daily while also stocking your supply of olive oil.

The Nigerian mother finds herself plagued by a curious case of paranoia. She gets around to worrying over every single detail of her child’s life, and the anxiety doesn’t end even when said child has attained old age. As long as she has oxygen flowing inside of her, she WILL worry about you. Of course she wants the best for you...and those friends she warned you to stay away from? Well turns out she was right about them. She is your support system, the pillow you cry into when things go awry. They are resilient in their beliefs and shower you with positivity. In her eyes, you can do no wrong and she will defend you to the ends of the earth.

The Nigerian mother is willing to make heavy sacrifices, whether it's in respect of career dreams or the last piece of meat in the pot. She will do anything (and that means anything) to see you succeed. She would kneel so you can stand, and she will bear you on her back just so you can escape danger. In the face of death, she is ready to lay down her life to see you live in good health. She nurses you back to health when you’re sick.

The travails and ordeals of the Nigerian mother can be regarded as a microcosm of what many Nigerian women face today. They are subjected to (emotional and sometimes physical) abuse, they are relegated to the background, they are derisively labelled when they refuse to be silent, they are slut-shamed when they dare to express themselves, hardly provided any room in politics, made to work harder than their male counterparts when it comes to striving for career advancement. Some progress has been made over the decades, but things are atrociously slow, and the situation could be a whole lot better. It’s not enough to shower encomiums or put up cute posts on International Women’s Day, the system must be disrupted to create equal opportunity. There has to be balance.