Over the years, I have noticed that as my children grow older and more aware of themselves, I have watched a little bit of myself disappear into them. Not all in a bad way, mind you. I just have some pesky habits, you can call them OCDs, but over time, I have realised that because of my children, I have outgrown them, or they outgrew my children and I, because we just were no longer compatible.
First of all is the amount of kiddie stuff in my house. It’s so overwhelming at times, I feel like throwing everything out. I have had to give up a whole set of drawers to accommodate their clothes and other stuff. One drawer for shoes, which I honestly don’t why we have so many pairs, and some people still think we need more pairs of shoes. Don’t ask me who buys the shoes oh. My former study table now hold their books.
And then we talk about toys; from the teddy bears I find where they shouldn’t be, to the electronic toys, some of which I have hid away so no one gives me a headache as a result the cling clang from reading ABC or endless nursery rhymes.
I’m sharing space now and as they grow more, I will share more. It’s not easy, I had to learn. While I was growing up, I was very particular about my space, my things and how I wanted them to be, but see my life now. My mom teases me about my current situation to no end. No more breaking out in sweats over someone invading my space. I literally don’t have any personal space left.
A couple of hours before I started this piece, my kids were playing one game that involved touching mom and running, I really don’t understand it, but every few moments, someone would poke me and run away. I was getting irritated and I warned them to stop but as usual, it was not going to be immediate. As they calmed down, my younger daughter came to me and said, “Sorry mommy” and told her brothers, “Stop disturbing Oluwakemi, you hear? Stop disturbing Oluwakemi oh.” She said it as though she had not been part of the people poking me.
But that was not what got to me; it was the fact that she called me by my name. You see, compared to the people who call me by my real name, the Iya Beji wailers are in the majority. Don’t get me wrong, I love being called Iya Beji and the ones, who funkified it to “Twins squared” win my heart every time they call me, but Oluwakemi is gradually going out of existence.
I mean, I had colleagues who, upon hearing I have twins, automatically revert to calling me Iya Beji, forgetting I have a name. Some of my friends, with whom I who was in school, have resorted to calling me “Iya Beji” or “Ma’am,” making me feel ancient. When, I complain, they just wave it aside with, “You don’t know things are different now?” I see the difference too, but I can’t help but think these are the same people with whom I sat in the same class. I tire jare, but I get that societal conditioning is real too.
When you are outnumbered, like I am, your identity can become about being a mom or a daddy alone. Come to think of it, if I hadn’t had twins, I seriously doubt if anyone would have known me on my street, but all you need do now is ask a child who Iya Beji Meji is and they will likely bring you to my house.
One other thing you give up when your children outnumber you is sole decision making. Not that they decide that many things, but they get a say in what I cook in the house. The truth of the matter is, my husband and I eat what the children want to eat. It’s a lot easier that way and saves momma, the hassle of making different dishes.
Gone are the days I could put them into any clothes that took my fancy. Now, I have to bring out different sets and they make a choice, even if that choice is something that has worn repeatedly. Like my younger son, who has something of a shoe fetish, because he is particular about the shoes he wears. The thing is, he picks one pair of shoes and wears it till he gets a brand new one and he moves on. There is nothing you will say to make him wear another pair, unless it’s a new pair.
I have grown a taste for cartoons, because that is what the majority of the people in my house watch. I can’t even get to watch my favourite movies.
Your Me-time is officially fried!!! Nowadays, I literally shut the door of my room, to get five minutes of just me-time in a day. Of course I can still hear them clearly, that and their attempts to barge in. Most times, they are all outside the door, leaning on it and wondering why I’m shutting them out, the question, “Mommy, what are doing?” comes through loud and clear. I have found the best time to focus on me, is late at night or very early in the morning, but sometimes during the day, I just need to a five minute break from all the shouting.
Your lackadaisical attitude to manners will surprisingly vanish. I remember those days, my mom would tell me I was being rude by not greeting someone I should have, well, I am now in my mom’s shoes and it’s not nice being there. Asides from greeting, I’m running myself ragged showing, not just telling, what good manners are, what foul language is, and how much they are not welcome. Sometimes, I think they say some things on purpose, just to see how I would react and, unfortunately, they get a rise out of me most times. I have become their maga, they know all mom’s mumu button and press it at will.
These are for me the things I have given up, because I am officially outnumbered in my own house by my kids, 4:2. One comfort I have is that it will not last. Kids grow up fast, too fast sef. I mean, just how long ago they were just babies that I was carrying everywhere, now, I’m sharing all my devices with them, even struggling to draw a healthy boundary between my space, their space and our space.
This parenting (sharing) business can be fun at times, and at times… it’s a case of throwing your arms up in the air and declaring, “Lord, take charge.”
Mommas and dads, wishing us all Godspeed and wisdom for this journey.
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