Written By: Lizzy Oyebola Oyekunle
“Iya Michael! Iya Michael! I know you are inside and can hear me o. Come out now!”
I was on my bed, trying to get a nap when that familiar voice pulled me up.
“You think you can just continue to use my son as a slave and I will keep numb? The news has gotten to my side. Come out here!” She said again and I started racking my brain.
What could the matter be?
When did my mum become abusive?
“Maami, ekaasan ma” I genuflected from upstairs where I was.
“Ah, today is Monday na, why are you at home? Why haven’t you gone to work? You see what I am talking about? You stay at home with the children while your wife goes to work? What nonsense! I can’t condone this any longer” She said, gesticulating furiously.
My wife had just gone to see one of our sick church members. I was so glad mum didn’t meet her at home. She worked a nurse in our nursing home, just beside the house.
And me being at home on a Monday, my mum didn’t know I was on a leave!
Chai! She mounted the stairs hurriedly and got to my side.
“Akin, talk to me. Why has…” She was saying when I started moving to a guest room close to the children’s. I didn’t want my kids hear whatever she wanted to say since she looked so angry.
“Maami, follow me please” I said as I went and she obeyed. As soon as we had sat down on the bed, she started again.
“I was in my shop last week when one of your church members came to tell me that whenever you come to church, you can carry your wife’s handbag or the baby? Akin, why?” She asked and I frowned. I didn’t get that.
“Is it bad to help my wife with her bag when she’s carrying our baby or carry our baby when she’s carrying a big bag?” I was puzzled. She slapped my thigh as if to wake me up.
“Those are women’s work! Stop reducing your worth! Everyone is watching!” She said and I shook my head.
“Also, Bimpe that visited you people last week told me that you now cook! You will be cooking in the kitchen while your wife sits down in the sitting room!” She said and I gritted my teeth.
That was exactly why I detested allowing relatives visiting our home!
“I enter the kitchen to help my wife! Sometimes she insists that she wants to help, but with my hands, I will carry her to the room or sitting room so she could rest. My wife is like a machine doing this and that every time. Whenever I can’t help her, I am not even happy, so mama, whatever anyone has told you might be right but I can’t excuse you implying my wife is lazy!”
She arched her brows as if she would cry.
“Akinlolu, have you ever seen your dad in the kitchen? Have you seen him help with the kids or carry my bag? Have you seen him help with house chores? Have you…” She was saying on when I stood up at once.
“Maami, do you mean I should treat my wife like my dad treated you? Like, who does that mama? Isn’t a deprived mother supposed to be grateful her sons didn’t take after her husband? You amaze me mum!” I said, backing her.
My mum was a secondary School principal- well educated and all. I wouldn’t believe in my wildest imagination that she would join the train of people who thought that way!
She was obviously shaken by my words!
“What I am saying is that you are the head of your home! The head commands!” She said and I shook my head vehemently.
“You are wrong mum. Yes, I am the head of the home. I am not an autocratic head anyways! A head that rules by decrees and commands! No! I have been instructed to love my family. Love does not command mum!” I paused, reading the mixed feelings in her face.
“There are two companies mum. In one, there is a head. He tells this one to do this and do that, he only sits and watches! When they make mistakes, he roars at them and calls them name. Leading by command”
“In the other company, the head joins them to do this and that while the staff follow his steps to do it same way! When anyone misses it, he calls them and shows them how to have avoided the mistake. Leading by example. Which of the companies would you love to work with?”
“Stop asking me stupid questions!” She said, supporting a side of her neck with her left fist.
“I am not always at home. My wife ensures that all is fine and sparkling. She takes care of our children and I. When I get a leave at work, would it be bad to help fit in some of those chores?” I was angry too.
“And those ones that came to talk to you. They won’t tell you of Sundays they will see my wife struggling with the kids, the bags and the car key! They won’t! They will only pick the one they seem weird and start spreading in a negative light!” I said again.
“So, you are…” She wanted to say but I stopped it with another statement.
“The Bimpe that says she sees me in the kitchen and all, she won’t tell you that she never helped my wife while she was here o. She would wake up, bath, sit before the TV and laugh away. To even help feed the children would be a problem. My wife won’t complain to me but I saw it all maami. I did!” I explained the more.
I had sworn to God to make a better home than the one my mum and dad built! There would be no intrusion of any kind even if it was from my dear mother!
“And Lola even loves you! She comes over to your place every month! She gets things for you from her own money to make you happy! She would be disappointed to know you are just one of those Nollywood mothers-in-law.” I stopped eventually, pulled a chair and sat in there.
“Akin, choose between Lola and I” she said and I was shocked.
What sort of a comparison!
“Choose between your wife and your mother. Your mother that bore in her womb for nine months! She breastfed you and gave you life! When you don’t eat, she won’t eat! When you don’t…”
“I love you mum!” I said and she looked up at me, tears rolling down her eyes. She obviously knew such comparison would not be done.
“I love my wife too” I said but she shook her head.
“Who do you love most?” She asked almost angrily.
“Mummy see, I appreciate all you have done for me. But as the Bible dictates, I am supposed to leave my father and mother and cleave to my wife! She becomes my wife, mother, love, teacher, sister and my all!” I said and she sighed.
“You bore me in your stomach for nine months, my wife bears my dreams, visions and passion forever!”
“You breastfed me for nine months, my wife still breastfeeds me and the Bible says in her breasts shall I find pleasure! She will breastfeed me forever!”
“You backed me for three years, she backs my children too. She weeps over them and nurtures them!”
“You gave me life, no you didn’t! The Lord gave life! So, mum, asides my wife and baby girls, you are my favorite woman in the world!” I said and made forward to peck her when she pushed me away.
“You have chosen your wife over me! Hmmm, ah, Akin, how could you do this to…” She was saying when I knelt before her.
“Mummy, you have four big girls too, everything you wish Lola, can you wish them for them also? Can their mothers-in-law treat them the way you are treating Lola?” I asked and she faced the wall. She wept for a while and I had to speak again.
“See the situation as this mum. God took your son and gave you a more precious daughter! When you see it that way, the better it would be for us maami” I said, touching her shoulder. When she didn’t push me off, I knew she had become better.
As we talked about some other things, there was a knock at the door.
“Sweetie, Emerald said mama is here. I ran home excitedly” she said as she ran to her, fell on her knees and hugged her tightly.
I looked into my mum’s face and she had a large smile on. I smiled then.
“Mummy, what have you eaten na?” She asked, gleefully.
“I was waiting for you o jare my daughter in whom I am well pleased” she said and Lola slapped my knee playfully.
“You couldn’t even help stand in the gap huh? You couldn’t take care of my mum while I was away?” She asked, raising her nose at me.
“E ma binu o. Mother’s daughter” I said and smirked.
“Mummy, what would you like to eat?” She asked.
“Pounded yam and Egusi soup with assorted orisirisi” she said in a totally different style and we started laughing.
Lola stood up.
“Thank God. I just got some iyan yam from the market yesterday. Let me leave you and my boyfriend to talk. I will be right back” Lola said.
“Hey come my baby. You will need the help of your boyfriend in the kitchen. Abi what are the muscles for?” Mummy said and hit my firm arms. I gave a sweet wink.
“I don’t just want you to be bored ni mummy” Lola argued.
Mum stood up too and adjusted her wrapper.
“I will be with my children in their room. They must be so busy with Nickelodeon for them not to have come to say hi to grandma” she said.
Lola went out of the room.
“Emmy, Zoe, come say hi to granny” She announced. I gave my mum a thumbs up. She smiled and tried to push me off the way. I hugged her firmly and pecked her. She pushed me away and wiped her face.
“Go and peck your wife and do every doables with her. Leave me jare” she said. I tickled her and we both started laughing hysterically as we descended the stairs.
My mom is my mom, my wife is my wife!
I love my mom, I love my wife!
My mom is special, my wife is special!
There is no comparison between both of them. They are simply unique in their own ways!
But the queen of my heart is my wife!