The best advice I was ever given on parenting was from our family Doctor, who is now retired. A mother herself. I had just given birth to my first child who became ill with a cold. I felt she was not recovering quickly enough so I kept taking her back to get the Doctors Surgery for reassurance.
As a new, inexperienced and scared mother, the reassurance I needed and wanted from a medical expert was to tell me in simple and sympathetic language that my precious gift was not dying.
Feeling like a frustrated and confused nuisance who wouldn’t and couldn’t stop worrying, I picked up the phone and made yet another appointment for my daughter with her Doctor. Only this time, I did not need to give my daughter’s details to the receptionist. I had called so many times, she recognised my voice. She knew who I was. I felt more like a nuisance.
At the appointment time, as I walked into the consulting room, I had a weeping fit. A weeping fit that lasted a few minutes but seemed to be for ever. When my fit subsided, my understanding and nonjudgmental Doctor looked at me compassionately and in a stern voice said, “YOU MUST ALWAYS FIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD, NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT FOR HER”. There and then, I had my parenting ‘Aha’.
My parenting ‘Aha’ gave birth to a new me. The warrior mum.
As a warrior mum, I always stand up for my daughters, I always will. As long as they are in the right, I am not fearful to fight and speak up for them. This is the promise I have made to them. A promise that was never made to me growing up.
Growing up, my mother never stood up for me or my siblings. She couldn’t. My Yoruba culture forbade her from doing it. Only bad and indulging mothers stood up to the other adults or authorities on behalf of their children. Good mothers who wanted disciplined and good children were expected to be on the side of the enemy. The enemies came in the form of adults who had some form of authority in the society. An example is a teacher.
A teacher was treated as a god in the society I grew up in. I felt a teacher could do no wrong in the eyes of my mother. Speak to any Yoruba person my age and they’ll tell you the same thing. Teachers were just the perfect human beings who were never challenged so they got away with a lot.
Modestly (but blowing my platinum trumpet), my daughters are very blessed and lucky to have me as their mother. A warrior mum, who is as bold as a lion, and always fighting for them. A warrior mother who has in the past challenged people in authority, and indeed anyone else (if needed). I do it because my daughters are unable to do it for themselves – YET.
As a mother, one of my duties is to equip my daughters with the skills to stand up, speak up and challenge authority or people no matter how uncomfortable it may feel. But for now, I am their warrior mother. And always will.
To all the mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day.