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“Let your words be soft and sweet”

People give this advice, it usually ends with ‘in case you have to swallow it’.

Good people, there are sometimes you have to be selfish and not care about the taste of words anyone may have to swallow back. There are sometimes you want people to ensure that their words are soft and sweet…so you dont slap them!

When you are pregnant or carrying kids, some people take it as an automatic invitation to come and purge their mouth diarrhea. They just open their mouths and filth is let loose.

It is good to care and reach out when you think a parent may need your advice,  but I tell you most solemnly, 97% of the time, we dont wanna hear.

My top three reasons;

  1. You cannot love or understand my child more than I do.

  2. You look very stupid when you correct my childrens’ super hero in their front. I am Mommy, therefore,  that puzzled look they give you is a very simple ‘what rubbish is this person on about?’.

3.Half the time, parenting advice comes across as judgmental. You are likely to lose your message if it doesn’t come out right. (And it hardly does).

The moment someone walks up to me to opine nastily on something I am do to my kids, or a behaviour they are on, I switch on my filter.

Filter one: Is this individual single/married?

I do not know how to put this nicely, I plead in advance not to be misconstrued but parental advice from single people irks me.

Babysitting your nephews and nieces, is good experience garnered for your own good…not mine. I can’t stand it, sorry.

Filter two: Not everyone who is unmarried does not have a child. So the single moms/married fall here. I am more tolerable of this category, but I cannot resist thoughts of ‘Show me your perfect child’.

Filter three -The new mothers: Being a baby expert is not attained automatically by pushing and keeping awake for some nights.  This is not to say that women who have a lot more kids do not have a thing or two more to learn, but sorry, it does count for something.

Illustratively, it does looks silly when a new mother of a two months old baby tells a mother on her fifth child, that she doesn’t know how to change her baby diapers properly.

Filter four -The fellow mothers/comparers: See;

“Your baby is not sitting yet? Are you sure you are giving her enough water? My daughter began sitting drom the day she was born o.”

You gerrit?

You pinch your child small something, in public, there is someone lurking somewhere waiting to give you a lecture on why you should never smack your child in public. Take it from me, there is never a wrong place for the right correction. You dont? Someone is waiting to tell you that you do not discipline your child enough. Take it from me,again, that it is not everytime you smack a child in public, sometimes you take it home.

I remember how upset I was, when a woman told me I was wrong and made a fuss for not having my baby (of over four months) in a shawl, in my house.

In this Nigerian weather? And then an Aunt too once told me that my child’s age didn’t matter, and all babies must not leave the house except fully clothed in overall.

Achalugo: But Aunty, she would be very hot”

Aunty: Heat rash is better than her not wearing overall.

This analysis makes a mockery of logic.

Next, there are people in this Lagos who tell you strongly, that you are wrong for speaking English to your children. I find this highly offensive,  I cannot even stand this one.

We are bilingual, English, plus we speak the language of our ethnic group as well, with my weak french sef once in a while.  The idea that you throw the speaking of English in your house away, because you must preserve your culture and traditon beats me.

I speak our language to my kids, and they understand to their level as kids, and I have no doubts that they will pick it as they grow, without my making an unnecessary fuss about it. It gives me great joy to hear my son say

“Oh mommy,100watts has got me really exasperated” and then have a little conversation too in our native language.

That is the dream, that they become proficient at the languages they speak.  That is why when people come into my house and say

People: Speak vernacular to that child!”

Me: Civil smile, you dont live here 24hours, we have our moments.

(What is really in my head- Anuofia, oya give me back my Malt and be going to ya house)

There is another group, the ones who see you bribing your kids with candies and begin the dental lecture.

In my head again, I’m thinking “Shut it!”

Children will be children, and candies are part of growing up. It is also wrong for you to assume that the little bribes I carry out with me, mean that my kids take candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

That child is too clingy, do something about it.

That child is lefthanded, do something about it.

That Child keeps her hair kinky: true story. Rant for another day, maybe? On how somebody pointed that my daughter’s super super coily hair was ‘uncombed’. I really think that a child’s hair ought to just look healthy, leave the mother who let’s her child rock kinks, dreadlocks, texlaxed or even braided extensions.

That child likes Goldenmorn a lot, do something about it.

That child doesnt eat Akara, do something about it.

That child plays too much, do something about it.

That child doesnt play with everybody,  do something about it.

Ooh goodness, you pokenose too much, do something about it!

Motherhood isnt all rosy already, we can do without your unsolicited thorns, leave a mother alone.

Achalugo.

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