Like mom like me

Close up portrait of teenage girl

A popular sombori (don’t ask me who) once wrote that the highest need on a woman’s hierarchy of needs is the need to build a home as a wife and a mother. Every other need pales in comparison to that need. Well, some women would say that it’s not true, that there are women who desire to succeed in life, business and career just like the men and for such women raising kids and building a home is not their priority. Some others may say that it is the truth. To consider whether it is true or not I decided to do a little comparison between the daughters of three women.

Gina is the only daughter of a very successful Neurosurgeon, in fact one of the best in Nigeria. Her mother’s drive to succeed at her career was first before everything else. Gina saw very little of her mom in her growing years. Her mother was only at home a couple of hours in a week and most of those hours were spent in her room reading, preparing for an upcoming surgery or an exam she needed to upgrade to the next level. Her mom was never there to assist with homework or school projects; she wasn’t there when Gina saw a baby pigeon which fell from a tree while she was playing outside with her brothers and didn’t know what it was, she wasn’t there either when Gina needed an African attire to wear for her school play. She can’t erase the memory of her classmates’ laughter when she arrived in school wearing the hideous buba and iro her father had improvised from her mother’s wardrobe. She also wasn’t there the first day Gina saw that red stain on her skirt and wondered what it was. Today, Gina has graduated as a medical doctor and has no interest in getting to the peak of her career for fear that like her mom she may not be there for her own children.

Rita, on the other hand was born to a mother who is a school teacher. Her mother was there to pick her and her siblings up after school. She assisted with homework and school projects. Rita had a confidante in her mother who was always there for her. It was her mom who picked her up after school and listened to all her stories. She learned to cook while assisting her mom in the kitchen. Rita learned to cut and sew and amend dresses from her mother. When in boarding school, her mother always came to visit during visiting days. Her mother knew about her first boyfriend and even gave her invaluable advice about relationships. Her mother’s comforting arms were there after she got her first heartbreak and her mother has remained her best friend since then. Rita has also graduated as a medical doctor and can’t wait to become a consultant in Oncology.

Gina and Rita are good friends. Gina doesn’t think much of Rita’s ambition. Having been the daughter of a very successful mother, Gina knows all about the wide gulf that a woman’s success can cause in a family and advises against it. She is convinced that it will affect Rita’s relationship with her children. Gina has made up her mind to be the best mother she can be to her children and if it takes not being a career woman to achieve it then Gina is prepared to be a stay-at-home mom.

What would your advice to Gina be? In case you’re wondering who the third young woman is, just insert your own childhood experiences and decide what kind of mom you would like to be. Is it possible to be a combination of both mothers? I appreciate your thoughts.