An Honest Letter to Mum

Joanna Nix-Walkup-8d51bbed

Dear Mum,

“Spare the rod and spoil the child,” you always say. I understand you want the best for me but with all honesty, there is a handful of things you ain’t just getting right. I am your daughter and first issue, yes. You bore me, yes. But you really don’t know me…not half as much as you may think.

Mom, I really wish I could say this to your face and explain things to you heart to heart, woman to woman and as a daughter to her mother. But I lack the courage to do so. I don’t want to die yet.
You spark at the slightest provocation, rant at the top of your voice and usher continuous spanking and whipping.

When you should have rubbed hearts with us, you yelled.
When you should have cautioned or punished appropriately, you spanked, threw objects at us carelessly and chased us around the neighborhood with a long fat cane, cursing.
Well mum, you just have to calm down.

I can’t say for my brothers but you’re scaring and shutting me out.
I can’t forget the day you nearly choked me to death simply because I ate at a neighbour’s house. I was age 6.

I still have the scar on my chest from the day you threw an electric boiler at me because I broke a plate; fragile dishes dad barely ate from. I wonder who we’re saving them up for. We rarely have visitors. I was age 10.

I vividly recollect the day I misplaced the ‘house key’. Hmm…you managed to break the door open with the help of papa Clement who’s a carpenter. But you insisted I sleep out in the cold night on our rickety bench amidst several pleas from the neighbours. I was age 13.

Even the day you hit Somto hard twice on the head with a ‘garri turner’ simply because he mistakenly dropped the ‘bailer’ into the well. Which earned him several teases at school and in the neighbourhood because of the ‘koko’ on his head. Abi is it the day you got Chidi bedridden for two weeks because he lost your money on an errand.
All these and more but not an apology from you.

So many scars, so much pain and trauma.
The verbal abuse is something else which I would rather not go into detail about.
Every day is unavoidably toxic.
I understand it’s hard raising six children almost alone. But mum again, you really have to calm down.
We see other children running to hug their mother at her return but we go into hiding pondering “mum is back, what next?”

Momma, the point is you have to work on your temperament…don’t be quick to anger. Your presence shouldn’t carry so much burden. You are a mother, our mother. I’ve heard successful people say their mothers are their strength and inspiration. You can be more to us just give it a chance. Believe we’re good children and try to know us better for who we are. Please try to adjust your parenting strategy.

It is wise to discipline a child with one hand and pull him closer with the other hand than to scare him away with rods on both hands. Please don’t lay your frustration on us. And don’t wear yourself out.

So many nights I watched you cry in the dead of the night. I wished I could hold you up and reassure you it’s all gonna be alright but I feared you’d brush me aside as you do.
Times I would itch to hug, kiss and whisper “I love you” (even though you’ve never said that to me before)…not because it’s my birthday (not like I’ve celebrated any) nor that it’s Mothers’ Day at church.

There are things about me I would love to share with you, my interests, my wins, my crush, my secrets, I have too many fears mum. There’s something uncle Tunde tried doing to me I felt isn’t right but I couldn’t get myself to tell you. I was age 12.

I feel like I’m never good enough though I still manage to make fairly good grades at school but the only encouragement I get from you is “7th again?…wetin I wan use am do, d person wey carry first get two heads?”

Do you understand how psychologically strained and socially disoriented I am? I struggle with myself each day, something you don’t care to see nor have the patience to correct. And this gets me really scared about the future mom.

So many questions about life and womanhood I would have loved to ask you, so many WHY? about dad.
Mom, I know you love and care about us but you’re ignorant of it. I think we both need help.

I look forward to the day you would look at me in the eyes and say you love me and that you’re proud of me. I believe you can be my mother and still be my best friend.

I am now age 15 and counting…

Yours sincerely, 


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