Before Motherhood, There Was a Me and I’m Not Ashamed of It

Woman listening to earphones by coffee shop

I don’t know if this is normal, but I have been feeling surreal about motherhood these days/ I look at my kids, especially the older ones, and I’m like, “Kemi, are you sure, you gave birth to those two?

At those times, I feel like I couldn’t possibly have carried them, I mean, they are seven years old, and already as tall as my bust. How could this young me be mom to these tall people? I don’t even feel inclined to bathe them all the time any longer, as I have to hunch down to get to their feet. There are so many things about them that remind me of my life before I had them. A life that was headed somewhere else, before it took the motherhood route early in life.

My life before kids was filled with exploring my new environment; my university, the boys, the men, the life outside of my home, and out of my parents’ rules. I was literally just getting started on life. What do you really know at 22? Admittedly, it was a selfish life, filled with only what I wanted to do, and when I wanted to do it, but then, isn’t that what you are supposed to do with your 20s? Live for you? Basically, I didn’t have too many people to answer to. I assure, you, most of my choices were pretty tame and sane, compared to what some of my fellow students got off to.

And importantly, I had money. Yayyy! My parents seriously loosened the purse strings, especially my mom, when I got into the University, and I often got beyond what I needed (I hope my sisters are not reading this piece).

I found that I liked red lipstick a lot, and there was nothing stopping me from using it, especially as I could afford it. Another Yayyy for the old me.

Before babies, even before husband, I had just done my first bridal duty as the bridesmaid for my long time friend, all the way from secondary school, who had gotten married the same year I got into the University. After her wedding, there were other weddings I had lined up to be part of the bridal party, but you all know what happened next.

The Me before motherhood wasn’t all about the positives either, I was b-o-r-i-n-g. Just recently, Facebook reminded some of my former course mates of the day we wrote our final papers. You guessed right, I didn’t get any notification because I hadn’t posted anything on that day. And of all the pictures that were shared by my friends, most of who are beyond Facebook friends, I was in none. So, you can imagine how boring I was.

I got the T-shirt, but I did not want the water-drenching that was part of the whole routine. So, I stayed in class until the merry makers had tired out and left for their homes. I was that boring. Let me back track a little, for my Matriculation, when some of my friends and course mates made huge plans for us, Oluwakemi merely took a picture with the gown, when one of the photographers from the main campus decided to bless us with the matriculation experience. My fellow ‘dull’ students all took part in our matriculation photo shoot, and the ones who had the proper one cheered us on, and even joined some of the shots.

Part of my boring life was staying up late, hammering away at my typewriter, and later computer, because I did not want to spend on handing my handwritten assignments over to a typist for a fee. So, I kept the whole house awake with the cling-clang of my typewriter. What wickedness!

Sometimes, one of my sisters would wake up and look at me like she could kill me, and then pull the pillows over her head, changing positions. Sometimes, my mom would come to check and remind me that I had a class the next day. I would merely raise my caffeine fix, and off she went. Even if, like she predicted, I spent most of the next day in class slumbering, who send me? On all of these days, I felt no shame. That was my life, and those were my choices.

However, there is one thing that I might be ashamed of. Perhaps, ashamed is not the right word. One thing, I’m not sure I want to share with my kids are my journals. I lost two, and still have like four scattered in different places. These journals are treasure troves of my life, of my thoughts, of my days. They are filled with stories of the good days and the not-so-good days. They are filled with stories of people, of men, of women, of boys, of girls, who have passed through my life, some of whom have stayed till now, some of whom are long gone, and some who will NEVER go away.

They were filled with my sexcapades ☺, filled with stories of the numerous crushes, my young heart went through, the shivers down my spine at the sight of the ‘Lorenzo.’ The melting eyes, shaking hands and stuttering speech when I gpt to speak to my crush. I think I better stop on the crushes, before, “dem send me comot for house”

The few times I have gone back to read through them, I have sometimes been dismayed by my juvenile thoughts, actions and sometimes lived through some experiences better left in the past. Have I ever edited it? No. Do I want to edit it? No. That was my life as at that time, that was my reality, and even if I “doctored” it, the marks those moments had on my life cannot be erased. So, they stay.

But do I want to let my kids read it? On the one hand, yes, so it shows them clearly the life that I lived, before they were a gleam in my eyes. That they might see me for exactly who I am, no grey areas, just black and white. But no, because it might colour their views of other people, whose stories are intertwined with mine. Unfortunately for those people, only my side, my reactions are documented in the story. Even though I try to be impassionate in my writings about events, it is still my diary, 100 percent my thoughts. It will do them little justice.

So, what did motherhood bring me? Lots of activity, plenty of people who love me unconditionally, flaws and all. They think I’m superwoman (flexing my muscles here o). It put the sparkle in my dull, predictable life. It shifted my focus from one narrow path: get a Ph.D by 32. Ask me now, so I could do what with it? I really did not know. I just knew I had strength in academics, and wanted to work it, besides, my voltron, aka Mom, was egging me on, until Motherhood happened.

Do I regret it? NO. Would my mother have been happier, being called, Mama Dr. Kemi or Grandma Beji? You can bet she will pick the latter, a thousand times over. But she is also a smart woman. She knows I can have it all…not just at the same time.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can say I lived a life I don’t have to be ashamed off; both the good and bad. And it is only with the benefits of hindsight that I can recognise the fact that you cannot put so much wood in the fire at once, and not get burnt. Easy does it.

I’m going to be honest now, the surreal moments come on, when the kids remind me I’m getting old. Which is really what I’m afraid of. I want to be forever young.

Now, that, I’m not ashamed of.




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  1. To be honest Kami, I always have a way of relating ur piece with my story sort of. Probably because I’m an Iya ibeji too. Presently an trying to take my steps one at a time.


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