16 Women on "The Best Thing Mum Ever Did For Me"
I think as we grow older and in most cases, we come into better relationships with our mothers. Hindsight vision becomes a 10/10 and you realise that they're probably not the dreadful -forever-stepping-on-your-toes -wanting-to-be-in-your-business person you thought they were particularly in your teenage or early adolescent years. As you grow older, you begin to perhaps look back on them with the childlike eyes of admiration and "oh my goodness I need my mum for this!" And when you become a mother yourself, you wonder how on earth they did all they did.
Ahead of Mothers Day, 16 women share the best things their mum ever did for them - some of which include life changing advice, support, finance and uhm one episode of hysterical laughter. But all of which undoubtedly came from the depths of a mother's love for her daughter.
The year was 1998, I had just finished primary school and I scored 475 in the secondary school entrance examinations. My mum had heard of Queens College Lagos as an amazing place for young girls and she decided that her daughter deserved a place on the school. The problem however was that it was not an easy place to get in. You needed a high score of above 500 or perhaps an inside connection to the powers that be. We had neither of this, but my mum was determined. She decided to visit the principal and ask her to admit her daughter (brave much?). Unfortunately, it was almost impossible to see the principal. Undeterred and for weeks, my mum went to the school and sat at the front of the principal's office - she'd arrive at the school before 7am and remain on there till the end of day. My dad discouraged her at some point and advised that I apply to other schools. One day, the secretary noticed her importunity and made it possible for her to see the principal. And you guessed right, I got admitted!
I was in my third year of Uni when something snapped in me and I got tired of school; so tired that I considered not writing a particular exam, as I felt I was not prepared. All it took was a phone call and she showed up, not minding the distance. She walked me to the exam hall and waited till I was done. She did not scold me, infact she thanked me for reaching out to her. She was stern, yet so loving and she let us come into our own persons. I only wish we had more time with her. Sadly, we lost her in November 2017 and our lives (my dad, siblings and I) will never ever be the same.
- Dami. O
My mum recently paid for my driving lessons and my English exam lessons when I was so low on cash. While thanking her profusely she said "if I don't spend the money on you, who am I keeping it for?". This got me extremely teary eyed because even though I'm her only child, we don't exactly bond like many mothers and daughters. So I really appreciate these little moments when they happen.
My husband's birthday was approaching and I was so confused at to what to buy for him as a birthday present. We've been together for 9 years and I felt like I had hit a "gifters block" considering all the birthdays, Valentine's day, Christmas, anniversaries and "just for the sake of gifting" day gifts I've gotten for him through the years. So I decided to not buy a gift but do something out of the ordinary. My mum is great at all things cooking. She's taught me how to bake before but because I don't ever do it, I had to consult her for guidance. All through the day, I video called her so she could check all my cake ingredients, confirm my measurements, texture of my batter etc. I got the first batter wrong so I had to dispose of it and start all over again.
While the cake was in the oven, I started panicking as it seemed to be burning but not yet ready. I went through a lot of stress - cooking for me is stressful. When the cake was finally ready, I set it nicely and waited.
As my husband got in from work, I presented the cake with a birthday song and guess what his reaction was? He said "ah, who asked you to bake a cake? You know I don't like junk food, I would really just prefer hot amala with my favourite soup". To say I was furious is really me just being mild with words. I called my mum; I was ranting to her full of anger.
All my mum did was laugh hysterically.
She made no comment, she just laughed and laughed and laughed... and then I found myself laughing along with her. She made me realise that not all things should get us upset in life. I still had a happy celebration with my husband afterwards!
When I got into Harvard and hadn't heard back on funding, I got nervous. My mum told me that she was going to do whatever it took to make sure I took up my spot - irrespective of the funding decision. She was a civil servant at this time with no side gig but I knew she really did mean those words. And she did exactly that. Though I got a significant amount of funding, she made sure I didn't lack the rest of what I needed.
I had just graduated and on my first job. I didn’t have my own car and I had to use public transport. At about this time, there was so much fear and panic about the deadly Ebola virus. I told my mum that I was finicky about being in public transport with strangers - especially as the virus was in Lagos already and my route went through Ikoyi which had a hospital with hospitalized patients. My mum then gave me her car! She didn’t have another at the time but she let me have hers and had to use taxis for a while before getting another. She really didn’t have to inconvenience herself for me. Lots of other people still used public transport and were fine. I was just being extra and she just allowed me. Selfless to a fault! I love my mummy and I miss her so so much.
- Abby O.
My mum handed me my first feminsit blue print and I've built upon it over the years. She always told me "Get your own degree so you can make your own money!"
Best thing my mum ever did: introduce me to the Holy Spirit. How she’d wake me up from a bad dream or know when I was being abused and come home to ask if I was okay taught me that God loves me and she was willing to make sacrifices for my well-being when I thought I didn’t matter and it certainly put the fear of a God who knows and sees all in me.
Although my mum doesn't really understand my dreams and ambitions, she supports me incredibly. The trust and respect she has shown me over the last few years letting me move to another state to chase my dreams and still sending me cash occasionally when she feels I might be struggling. Honestly, this has forced me look through all our past disagreements through a different lens. I know it must have been love all along - even in my teenage years.
- Inyang .E.
After I couldn't get into University for my preferred course, I was forced to take an alternative. My plan was to retake the admission exams the next year for my original choice. But I got into Uni, blended in so well and I forgot my goals. But my mum didn't. She was the one person that made me uncomfortable - continuously calling to remind me. Many times I felt unnecessarily bothered but her calls and constant prodding definitely revived my resilience. Now in my third year of medical school - which was my initial aim, I'm forever grateful to her for not letting me give up.
- Chidinma A.
She'd always say "no one owes you anything. Be grateful for favours but don't expect them". Which is why I'm ever so happy/grateful when people do things for me but un-bothered if they don't because I don't think it's mandatory. It's a choice not an obligation; spirit of entitlement begone!
- Ify A.
Best thing my mom ever did was stay at home as a house wife to raise us right. Thanks to her we were instilled with such strong values that still guide us till today. I never realized back then how much of a sacrifice she made. We didn't always see eye to eye growing up but a lot of things make sense now.
There was a time in my life where I was a total failure. I kept having to retake a course from secondary school and it followed me into the university. I was so disappointed in myself and expected her to be too. But my mum stood by me during this time. She said "we will fail now and succeed together". I can't forget that.
My mum always says "one with God is a majority". I'm begining to understand this as I grow older. No matter who or what is on the other side of my battles, as long as I'm on God's side, I'll be alright!
- Viv AF
In my final year of secondary school, I was talking to my mum on the phone and chatting to her about how my exam preparations were going. I was lying about being okay; she notices and asks what the matter was. I broke down and opened up about how hard it all was. I thought that was the end of it. But my mum bought a ticket that evening and the very next day flew in from Calabar to Lagos to visit me. In that little act, she gave me so much power to fight!
- Eno N.
I think the best thing my mum has done for me, is showing me through her own life, that I can be anything I want to be and excel in it. She was the only woman in her class during her undergrad degree studying Urban and Regional Planning. Her colleagues teased her endlessly. But in the end, she graduated as the best student and 35 years later she continues to excel in this field. She's my hero!
Ah, such lovely words, a lot of which show just how much sacrifice mothers go through for their children - particularly in relation to education and finances. It's amazing. What's the best thing your mum's done for you? Or something you appreciate so much? And asides sacrifice and provision, tell us something fun about your mum. Something that makes you laugh randomly when you remember it!
pS: That cake story made me laugh - goodness, I'd have been pretty upset myself. If you get "gifters' block" check out 11 classes of men gifts that work all the time.
ppS: If you missed it, I wrote this two years ago - Mothers Day and the Three Mums who Raised Me.