Posted in 5 THINGS, Culture, Motherhood

5 things that grind my gears! Motherhood edition!

Sometimes, we say things to others without thinking about how they might feel about what we have said, the state they’re in, what they might be going through e.t.c. So, I decided to address some of those things in a new series I’m calling ‘5 things that grind my gears…..’

To start us off, here are 5 things that grind my gears…. Motherhood edition!

  1. Why is this child so skinny? Aren’t you feeding her? 

What I say : *Laugh* I’m feeding her ma

What I want to say: Excuse me ma, all babies don’t look the same! I feed her when she needs to be fed and I don’t need you questioning my abilities. Also, not that it is any of your business, but she doesn’t stop eating. She eats throughout the day and on some nights gets up for her nightly fix of Weetabix/Bananas. Please mind your business.

  1. Your daughter is how old? What are you waiting for? You should be pregnant already!

What I say: *LAUGH* soon ma, soon!

What I want to say: I love my child and I recognise that she is a blessing. However, I am still trying to get through the fatigue that comes with carrying a baby for 9 months, the pain of contracting for over 36 hours, pushing her out and now trying to take care of her whilst also keeping my mental health in check. So, I’m sorry that I’m not inviting you to a naming ceremony yet, but I’ll have another baby when I am ready. Until then, please leave me alone. 

  1. The stress of Motherhood has really made you lose weight oo  

What I say: *Laugh* No oo, I’ve been exercising ni.

What I want to say: I have been working really hard to be a “yummy mummy”. It’s very difficult to find time to workout whilst trying to balance everything that comes with motherhood. I’ve been sacrificing much-needed sleep and pounded yam to try to keep my body in the best shape possible. I understand that I may not look like your idea of what a mum should look like and I appreciate the fact that you recognise that I have lost weight, however, I do not appreciate you discarding my hard work and making assumptions. So, unless you have something positive to say, please mind your business. 

  1. She’s _______ old, she should be ______

What I say: *LAUGH* 

What I want to say: SHE WILL DO IT WHEN SHE’S READY! 

  1. Why is she shouting? She must be very naughty!

What I say: She’s not naughty

What I want to say: I find it quite annoying that after spending 5 minutes with my daughter, you feel fit to tell me, her mother, that my daughter is naughty. She’s a toddler and I don’t appreciate you labelling her negatively based on the 5 minutes of toddler-isms that you have seen. You don’t see her sweetness in the morning when she asks me how I slept (even though she kept me up all night). You don’t see her independence when she insists on helping me cook or when she says ‘I want to do it myself…’. You don’t see how caring she can be when she sees me upset and asks ‘what’s wrong mummy?’ You don’t notice how observant she is when she role-plays. You see a child that is ‘naughty’, but there are so many reasons why she may have been displaying ‘naughty’ behaviour at that time. So, if you do not have something positive to say about my daughter, please mind your business!

Moral of the post: If you don’t have anything positive to say, then say nothing. If you’re truly worried, find a way to pass the message on without making us feel inadequate.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Culture, Motherhood, Relationships

GUILT!!!

I have come to believe caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”

– Audre Lorde

There is a certain guilt I feel when I force myself to take a break or rest up a little. As I lay down to relax, I can’t help but feel less of a woman/wife/mother because I chose to take care of myself rather than clean the house or spread the clothes. Often, I get so overwhelmed with that guilt that I end up putting a stop to my relaxation and getting up to do whatever needs to be done. Whilst trying to figure out where this guilt was coming from, I realised this is something that is embedded in our society and culture in different ways. 

Growing up, I watched my mother and the women around me do EVERYTHING in the household. Our mothers took care of everyone but themselves. Although my mother never specifically advised me to do the same in my marital home, the expectation was set. I followed in her footsteps and tried as much as I could to be a good daughter and help out in any way possible around the house. Whenever I showed any intentions to relax or have fun, a series of questions such as “have you tidied up the house?” or “have you cooked the stew?” followed. Only if I answered ‘Yes’ to these questions, was it then acceptable for me to ‘relax’. There was a constant feeling of ‘the home needs to be in perfect order before I can relax’. 

Going into my marital home, I subconsciously carried the same pressure with me. I wanted to be a superwoman – the perfect wife and mother. I wanted to do everything like the great women that came before me. So I did. I cooked. I cleaned. I took care of the baby and everything else in between. There was a sense of fulfilment and empowerment that came from looking at the spotless house, coupled with the smell of food from the kitchen that made me feel like a good wife. I had done everything on my own. My worth as a wife was very much linked to the chores I did around the house. So much so, when I couldn’t do ALL of those things, I felt I was failing in my role as a wife. I was not enough. As you can imagine, this mindset coupled with a full time job and a baby left me feeling drained with no time to myself. I was constantly tired and cranky.

…I recognise it, I am working on it, because self care isn’t selfish…”

As a human being, I painfully recognised that I needed a break to recharge; I tried to take the time out. This meant allowing my spouse to carry some of the household responsibilities. I struggled. Watching him do more around the home went against everything that I had observed or had been taught by women in the society. I questioned my ability as a wife and a mother and instead of feeling relaxed, I felt selfish and incapable. I felt guilty for taking a break. I felt guilty for not meeting the expectations that I had set for myself. 

Having acknowledged that I was trying to live up to the expectations that I had set for myself in my own marital home, I am now personally trying to unlearn this ‘superwoman’ behaviour and allow myself space and time to take care of myself without feeling guilty about it. In doing this, I have also realised that it is okay to let someone else take the reins. I am slowly learning to take a step back and not feel the need to do everything. I’m not there yet, but I recognise it, I am working on it, because self care isn’t selfish. You cannot pour from an empty cup. 

Do you feel guilt when you make time for yourself? If so, know that you’re not on your own. Do you feel the need to overcome this feeling and how do you do so?

Till next time

-A

Posted in Culture

DO BETTER NIGERIA!

ANGER. RAGE. DISGUST. HURT. PAIN. HEAVY. BETRAYAL. LET DOWN. SHAME.

These words don’t even come close to describing the turmoil in my chest right now. There is so much awareness being brought to issues that have been going on for so long ‘behind closed doors’, I’m struggling to cope. I have refrained from saying anything because I don’t feel I have the right words. Instead, I have spent the past few days sharing links, posts, tweets, campaigns, petitions etc in solidarity with our fight. However, tonight I struggled to stay quiet. 

As a black woman, I’ve always been aware of the racial injustice that we as black people face. I am not blind to it. I am lucky to not have overtly experienced it but it’s there. It’s in the way people look at me when I laugh too loud or in the way they ask me why I’m so well-spoken. It is in the way they tell me to ‘calm down’ when I am trying to speak up for myself. So, I am aware that we will be judged firstly by the colour of our skin before anything else. I am aware that the mere colour of our skin is a threat to several out there. And like so many of us, the images and videos that I have seen over the past few days have enraged me. The more information I get, the angrier I get at the systemic racism that has been put in place to keep us from changing our narratives. The more information I get, the angrier I get at myself for not being quick to realise the impact of these malicious behaviours on my people. The more information I get, the angrier I get at the people who care more about power than they care about our lives. The more information I get, the angrier I get at the people who have chosen to oppress us to make their lives easier. The point is, I AM ANGRY. WE ARE ANGRY. WE ARE TIRED. We are at war and we’re ready to stand up to our enemies. 

In standing up to injustice, we need to call out the injustice within our own communities. Recently, the rape culture in Nigeria has been all over social media. Rape happens everywhere. It’s sad but true. There are sick men everywhere*. Sick men who think the way a woman dresses, walks, speaks, where she visits etc is a reason to rape her. Sick men who force themselves on women just for being women. We know these men exist. We know these men are sick. These men sicken me. But what sickens me more than these men are the communities who have raised these men to believe that they have the right to a woman’s body without her consent. Men AND women bashing other women/girls for ‘putting themselves in situations’ that have caused them to be raped. What situation gives another person the right to violate you? I won’t get into it but when you look at the stats, it is very clear that nothing stops anyone from being raped. It could have been YOU. WE need to do better. 

Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.

– Kurt Cobain

The pressure that is put on women in our community is ridiculous. We are blamed for everything including being abused by our male counterparts. From birth, we are groomed for the sake of our male counterparts; dress responsibly so that the boys won’t look at you, learn to cook so that you can be a good wife, educate yourself because no man wants a liability etc. YOU raise us girls to be strong, independent, educated, responsible etc. On the other hand, YOU raise irresponsible men who are unworthy of the women that YOU have raised. Men that choose to satisfy their sexual urges without a care for the impact it has on us because YOUR ACTIONS have taught them that we exist solely for their sake. And in turn, YOU are telling the strong girls that YOU have raised, that no matter what they do, what they achieve, what they wear, these men will ALWAYS come before them. I AM ASHAMED. Nigeria, we need to do better. 

I plan to do better and you should too. We need to raise men that are worthy of the women that we are raising. We need to raise men that understand our struggles as women. We need to raise men that will fight for our struggles as women. We need to raise men that will hear our cries. We need to raise RESPONSIBLE men. So, start in your homes. Give your sons responsibilities; let them make dinner, let them do the dishes. Teach them respect. Teach them that they are the only ones responsible for their actions and those actions have consequences. Hold them accountable. Teach them just like you teach your daughters. 

To my sisters who have suffered and continue to suffer from the hands of the irresponsible men in our community. The community that should fight for you has let you down. I see YOU. I hurt for YOU. I support YOU. You are worthy!

DO BETTER NIGERIA!!!

Till next time

-A

*There are sick men everywhere. Obviously it’s important to recognise that this role can be fulfilled by a woman also, however this is a minute minority and generally not the case in most occurrences. Therefore with relevance to my point, I am going to discuss said sick men.

Posted in Culture, Empowerment, Relationships

New you, New Wife?

Hi everybody, hope ye are all having a good week so far. My week started off well until I came across a certain scene in a Nigerian movie. This particular scene really annoyed me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So, as you do, I decided to talk about it.

My mother-in-law was watching a Nigerian movie and I happened to walk in on a scene in which a husband was explaining to his wife the reason behind him marrying another wife. Basically, this man married another wife because he felt his wife was not suitable for his new role. He had been elected to a certain position in the community and felt he needed a more learned woman by his side.

I can understand why he felt his wife might not be the most suitable candidate for his new position. His new role put him in the public eye and required him to interact with the public. If seen with him, she will be forced to speak English, which she was unable to. However, I’m not sure that marrying another wife is the solution. If his current wife is not holding it down the way he wants her to, then why can’t he support her to be the wife he wants her to be (assuming she wants to be that wife). Instead, he chose to marry another wife, forgetting that she didn’t speak English when he married her.

marital growth

I’m just tired of hearing about men marrying new wives because they refuse to support their wives to be better. Yes, the Islamic religion permits a man to marry more than one wife (This man wasn’t a Muslim btw). I am not disputing that. However, marrying another wife to replace another seems selfish to me, especially if the things she lacks can be achieved. These women have been through the worst with you, choosing to basically replace or dump her when you reach a certain milestone is just lazy and selfish. He was very happy being married to her until he was promoted to this new role, so why isn’t she good enough now.

I’ve heard so many silly reasons for men wanting to re-marry; ‘I want a younger wife’, ‘her body is not as toned as it used to be’. They forget that they are the reason her body isn’t toned, they forget that she was young when they got married.  If her body isn’t as toned as it used to be, encourage her to exercise. In fact, exercise with her and get rid of your belly. You don’t see women re-marrying because their husbands now have pot-bellies, so why is it okay for men to do it? Marriage shouldn’t be a ‘you’re good for this aspect of my life’ thing. The person you marry should be good for every aspect of your life. An example is Goodluck Jonathan and Patience (ex-president of Nigeria and his wife). Patience wasn’t as learned as her husband but she was still known as the First Lady of Nigeria (although, I do think he should have encouraged her to improve her English to save her from ridicule). I believe that marriage should be a loving partnership in which both partners support and encourage each other to be better. Your marriage should encourage your personal growth. Your partner should be your cheerleader.

That said, I’m not going to completely put this on men. As a person, it is your duty to improve yourself in any way that you can. At the end of the day, no one can care about you more than you care about yourself. In order to make sure that life doesn’t leave you behind, you need to continue to work on yourself. The woman in the movie took things into her own hands and started to learn English part-time. I didn’t stay to watch the rest of the movie but I wouldn’t be surprised if her husband came running back to her beaming with pride.

Till next time

-A

 

Posted in Culture, Relationships

Standards

Speaking to several friends/sisters about marriage, I noticed a common theme; most of them were being advised to lower their standards when it comes to men, in order to find a spouse. For the purpose of this post, ‘lowering standards’ refers to saying ‘Yes’ when you’re not completely happy.

I can understand the pressure to reduce standards when it comes to marriage. Unfortunately for us, especially in this part of the world, there is a scarcity of ‘husband material’. Yes, husband material. There are more women ready for marriage than there are men. Men our age are either not ready to settle because they are not ‘there’ yet or they aren’t finished playing the field. As well as this, the men that are available are not necessarily what we want.  So, when a ‘good enough’ man comes around, our family and friends encourage us to ‘go for it’, even if it means lowering our standards because another ‘good enough’ man might never show up. As well as this, we have the added pressure of our biological clock. As our mothers would say, ‘your clock is ticking’. We are always reminded of our age and how it may affect things in the future such as bearing children. So, ‘do what you want to do quick’. Of course, this advice comes from a good place, for the most part. Marriage is a huge deal in our culture and it is their dream and happiness to see us married.

yin and yang

However, I have to disagree with marriage under these terms; lowered standards. Marriage is many things. It is a beautiful dream but it is also hard work. It can be difficult, frustrating, stressful. There is a huge difference between being married and being happily married. Lowered standards can be that difference sometimes.  When I reflect on conversations I have had with women who are unhappy in their marriage, I realise that they all say the same thing; the signs were there but they chose to ignore them and settle. In marriage, you will have to compromise on some things, the man you marry shouldn’t be one of them. Everybody’s perfect man differs. What is good for me isn’t necessarily what is good for you. Compatibility is very important in marriage. It is so important that you share the same core values, are able to understand each other and help each other through whatever life throws your way. Marriage is difficult enough, you do not want to add more pressure to it by having a spouse that is not on the same page as you.

Before getting married to my husband, I had several conversations with him. These conversations dealt with things we knew we wanted from each other; things we knew we couldn’t compromise on. We spoke about our day to day lives, our goals, our expectations of each other and our understanding of our roles. We spoke about religion, ambitions, children. All these conversations gave me insight into the man he was and whether he suited me. Learning from my past, I made sure that we shared the same core values not excluding humour. Funnily enough, one of the main things we talked about after Islam, was cleanliness. It’s very important to the both of us and so needed to be addressed. From these conversations, we decided that we were compatible with each other. So, although we have disagreements, our ideas on important issues such as raising our daughter is very much the same.

When thinking of whether to settle or not, I’d advise that you have a list of realistic things that you cannot compromise on; things that are absolutely important for you to make your marriage what you want it to be. This will help you to deal with the pressure and keep yourself in check when deciding on a spouse.

Remember it is better to marry ‘late’ than to marry wrong. Be patient. Think of the end goal, your happiness is important.

 

Till next time

-A

 

 

Posted in Culture, Relationships

A Year and counting…

Hi everybody, hope ye are all having a great week. This week, I’ll be discussing what I have learnt in my marriage so far. I have only been married for a year and a month, so I still have a lot to learn. But here are some of the things I have learnt so far…

  • Marriage is NOT always 50/50- Marriage is not always 50/50. Sometimes, it is 70/30, sometimes it is 60/40. There will be times, more often that none, when one partner will need to do more than the other in order to keep the relationship afloat. Sometimes, your partner just doesn’t have 50 to give. In cases like this, it is important that you pick up the slack. A perfect example is my pregnancy. If you have been following my posts, you would know that I had a terrible time and my husband had to step up greatly. He was doing things that I would normally have done as well as his duties in the household. The main thing is that the relationship was kept afloat. If he had done otherwise, our relationship probably wouldn’t be where it is. Pregnancy is an obvious one. How about a situation where one partner can’t give 50 percent because they are simply tired? If one waits for the other person to put in 50 all the time, things won’t get done. However, if each party gives in the best that they can in order to make the partnership work, the likelihood of things getting done are much higher. If the relationship is important to you, then you should go in with the mentality of wanting to put in the best you can everytime to make things work.

“And one of His signs is that He has created for you, spouses from amongst yourselves so that you might take comfort in them and He has placed between you, love and mercy. In this there is surely evidence (of the truth) for the people who carefully think.” (Quran 30, Verse 21)

  • Love takes work- In the beginning, there was love. Fiery passionate love. When I got married, things got busy really quickly for us. I went back to finish my postgrad in the UK a week after we got married. My husband went back to work. I fell pregnant while doing my postgrad and he fell into the role of the travelling – doting husband. We went from the honeymoon phase to ‘I need to catch a breath’ phase. As you can imagine, things were emotionally tiring for both of us during this time. However, I noticed that it was the little things that kept us going. It was the little things that we did for each other that kept the love going. It was the ‘I took out the bin because I know you hate taking bins out” or the “I bought you werthers because I know how much you love them”. It is the work that we both continue to consciously put in that filters our long days with love. It is the mentality of “what can I do to please my husband today” or “what can I do to please my wife today” that allows the love continue to grow.

happily ever after

Good men are for good women and good women are for good men.” (Quran 24, Verse 26)

  • You get what you put in: If you want an extraordinary husband, then you need to be an extraordinary wife. Just like everything in life, you get what you put in. A great man deserves a great wife and vice versa. We all want the best for ourselves but in order to get the best, you have to put it in your best. If you want a husband that goes the extra mile, you need to be a wife that will go that extra mile. You cannot expect breakfast in bed from a man who barely gets food when he comes home from work. A great man will continue to be a great man if he is supported and appreciated by a great woman and can even become a greater man and vice versa. Show your appreciation for your great man through your actions; saying I love you doesn’t always cut it.

 

  • Other relationships can affect your relationship: If you’re Nigerian like I am, then you know we come from a culture where you don’t just marry the man but you marry the family. Personally, I have always liked this aspect of our culture. I used to always say that I wanted my husband to be able to feel comfortable visiting my family without me having to be there and vice-versa. However, having these close-knit relationships means that arguments and differences can happen. I have found that situations, where a spouse has to deal with recurring differences between his/her partner and another close family member can impact the relationship. It can get tiring having to sort disputes and arguments especially when both sides feel they are in the right. Try not to put your spouse in a situation where he/she feels they have to choose between people that they care about; it can add pressure and stress which can then filter down into your relationship. As well as this, in trying to not take sides, it can cause the build up of walls in a marriage.

 

I’d love to hear your opinions. What have you learnt in your marriage or from others? Tell me in the comment section below.

 

Till next time

–  A

Posted in Culture

Boys V Girls…

Hi guys,

It’s been a while! I’m sorry. I have actually been working on a podcast in the meantime. I talk about the differences in the way boys and girls may be brought up in the Nigerian culture. Have a listen and tell me what you think! It’s only my first one, go easy please!

P.S Many thanks to my production manager!

Till next time

-A

 

Posted in Culture

Put the dunlop away…

Hi guys,

Hope you are all doing well.

Today’s post is going to be about the typical Nigerian way of bringing up a child.

I recently went to a naming ceremony and there was something the Imam said that stuck to me. He said, “Be friends with your children, or they will find friends elsewhere”.

From personal experiences and observing other families, I have noticed that children are brought up with fear and threats. It is the Nigerian way. Fear and threats are used to make sure that children are kept on the straight and narrow. When I was younger, you wouldn’t dare look your parents in the eye or even think of talking back to them. You hear parents bragging about how strict they are with their kids ‘my Tope wouldn’t dare do that, she knows I’ll deal with her’. All a parent would have to do is look at you, and you’d be shaking in your Dunlop slippers.

This system worked in Nigeria for various different reasons. It is a part of the culture. The system is used everywhere in the country including schools. Everyone is singing from the same hymnbook. So, wherever you go, you’re fed the same mantra ‘if you don’t do this, you’ll have me to deal with.’ You can’t seek solace anywhere else, as you’d only hear the same thing. You get in trouble with your parents. They report you to the rest of your family and they give out to you. Next, you’re reported to the neighbours, who give out to you. Next day, your mother drags you to school to report to your teacher, who then gives you more punishment.

Here, the way children are raised in the western world is completely different. Threats and fear don’t always work. If anything, threatening them is only going to push them away further, because of the different avenues they have access to i.e social services. Although, the Nigerian system is done with love in mind and the aim is basically trying to bring up the child to be the best they can be morally and in all aspects of life. Bringing up a child with fear in this part of the world only puts a wall between a parent and a child. Here, you give out to the child and they get upset. The child then complains to a person who might not necessarily understand how a Nigerian home might work. The person condemns the way the child is being treated and gives the child a ‘safe place’. A young child does not see threats and fear as love. They are too young to understand that it is coming from a good place. Especially when they’re getting cuddles and freedom somewhere else.

I don’t completely disagree with the Nigerian way of raising children. But I do think the Imam did hit the nail on the head. “Be friends with your children or they will find friends elsewhere”. Be softer with your children, so that they don’t run into the wrong arms.

What do ye think?

Till next time

-A

Posted in Culture, Empowerment, Relationships

Stop being so ‘Westernised’.

I am often referred to as being ‘too westernised’. I have lost my Nigerian roots and therefore need to reacquaint myself with my roots and culture.

Generally, statements like this wouldn’t bother me. However, in this particular case, it did. The last time I was referred to as being westernised was during a discussion about marriage. Basically, I had complained about the lack of consideration that I sometimes noticed in Nigerian marriages and I was making it clear that I was not going to stand for it. I gave a clear example of how husbands inevitably treat their wives as slaves. I’m not saying all Nigerian men do it, but it is definitely something that the culture encourages. The woman’s job is to keep the home and the man’s job is to bring money into the home. And this is taken as the norm regardless of what the situation is.

This might have worked in our parent’s age, when the man worked and the women were housewives or as I like to call it now, ‘domestic engineers’. But in these times, when both the man and woman work or the woman is the breadwinner, are we still suppose to stick to the old mantra? The response I got back should not have surprised me, but it did. It surprised and angered me. To summarise it, I was told that I needed to go read about women in the past and study how they lived their lives. A woman’s role was to take care of the house and her husband and she should be happy doing it regardless of the situation.

I’m sorry, but no. I want to make it clear that I have no problem taking care of our home. I have absolutely no problem taking care of my man either. In fact, it will give me great pleasure doing it. However, I don’t see how asking for your partner’s consideration is westernised. It isn’t just my home, it is OUR home. In a situation where the man isn’t working, he still expects her to come home after work to make pounded yam and efo for him. The efo is in the fridge, processed pounded yam is there, why can’t he boil water and make food for himself or even better, for the both of them. Why does she have to come home and do all that? It is acceptable for him to sit in the house and do nothing all day, and still, wait for his wife to come home and wait on him. Because he is the head of the house. Lies. That’s not marriage. It’s slavery and I’m not interested.

I don’t understand how a person can claim to love another person, while putting them in constant discomfort. If a person truly cares about you, they should want to make things easier for you, not more difficult. And sometimes making things easier, isn’t about giving me money to cook. Sometimes, it is about picking up the hoover and hoovering. Sometimes, it is about cooking a meal because I am wrecked. Sometimes, it is about cleaning the bathroom. Sometimes, it is about attending to the crying baby, rather than passing the child to me (why can’t you change the nappy? it takes two to tango!). Sometimes, it is about letting me sleep in on a Saturday morning. I don’t care what culture says, times have changed.

Sometimes our roles in the home changes. When it does, what worked before might not work as well anymore. Sometimes, couples need to go back to the drawing board and find something else that works for everyone. I don’t see this happening in a lot of Nigerian marriages. I see a lot of unhappy and tired women. For me, it is a problem. One that I am not willing to get myself into.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Culture, Empowerment, Relationships

Where is he?

do not choose the lesser life.

do you hear me.

do you hear me.

choose the life that is. yours.

the life that is seducing your lungs.

that is dripping down your chin.

-Nayyirah Waheed

Let’s talk about the Idea of Nigerian parents, not all, but most expecting you to get married as soon as you’ve graduated. It seems that they assume that with your graduation certificate comes a marriage license.

Now, if that is what YOU want for YOURSELF, and YOU have found a man that YOU are happy to live with for the rest of your life, then so be it. However, if you don’t have a man or you don’t necessarily want to get married straight out of college, this could be a problem.

As Nigerians, we get the “extra parents”. The community where everyone thinks they are your parents. Every person assumes they have the right to talk to you anyhow they deem fit because ‘they care for you and would say the same thing to their daughter’. So, even when your parents aren’t pushing you to get married ASAP, you have the aunties and the uncles at mosque/church asking about it. And if you’re lucky, you have the aunties that are really close to you pestering you to find a man and even telling you which mosques has more men. Every text or call you get is assumed to be from this ‘husband’ to be. You hear a lot of ‘You’re finished uni, what are you waiting for?!’, ‘See, your friend is married now, what are you waiting for?!’.

This might not seem like a big problem if you’re a person that doesn’t really read much into what people say. Like my friend says, just laugh and nod. I tried that, it didn’t really work for me. My laugh and nod were followed by a ‘Why are you laughing, you’re not getting any younger’. If you’re like my friend and it isn’t one bit of a bother to you, then kudos to you. Keep doing what you are doing. However, if you’re the opposite, then this post is for you.

It is so easy to convince yourself you are ready for something because everyone around you is telling you that you should be. But try to take a step out of it all and listen to yourself. Think about what you want. Please do not let people put PRESSURE on you. Everybody has their own path and things will happen at the best time. Do not let people rush you into something you’re not ready for. There is absolutely no need to rush, it will happen when it happens. Do not let them make you feel bad because you haven’t found the one yet. Life is not a race. It’s much better to take the time to find the right guy than to end up with a guy you’re not sure about or unhappy with.

‘women don’t have time, do what you’re going to do quick’

Lies! Take your time! Marriage is not something you rush into or should rush into. And it most definitely isn’t something you can rush out of. It is a life contract! Think about it! Remember that the people that are pushing aren’t the ones that are going into the marriage. It’s your life and whatever happens in it is your cross to bear. Our parents put pressure on us without realising they are doing it. It is up to us to try to withstand that pressure and focus on what we want.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with not having a man, yet. Don’t beat yourself up because you don’t have anyone to bring home yet. Don’t allow them to make you feel bad over something that you have no power over. Focus on being the best person that you can be and the right man will find you when the time is right. Take the time to work on yourself. Know what you want and do not compromise on the important things. Be patient with yourself. I truly believe that things will happen at the right time.

My advice is to stay true to what you want and stay true to yourself. At the end of the day, it is your life and you should do what makes you happy. And whatever you do, make sure you do not settle. When you do make the decision to get married, make sure that it is your decision, not someone else’s.

Till next time

– A