Parenting

Ọmọbinrin mi olufẹ – My dear daughter

Concern yourself with being the best woman you can be in all things.

Dearest daughter,

Let me tell you a little bit about this world I brought you into. It’s full of the good, the bad, the ugly and the absolute hideous!

There’s this thing called the media! It comes in different forms such as print, radio, television and social media. Now, you will start to understand that I like communication, as I’m always communicating with you and others around us. I even believe that different types of media can sometimes be seen as a source of inspiration.

When I was a young girl, my mum (your nana) barely allowed me to watch TV. However, I remember tuning in to watch the Oprah Winfrey Show one sunny afternoon. Although my mum has always been and will always be the biggest inspiration in my life, there was something about Oprah’s achievements as a media tycoon that motivated me. For a moment, even as a young girl, I felt as though I was literally watching the woman I wanted to become. Your nana was sat on the other side of the living room. She didn’t show much interest in what I was watching, but my undivided attention to the TV screen led her to ask me “Who are you watching on TV?” I replied “Mum, it’s Oprah Winfrey, did you know that she’s the richest black woman in the world!!?”

The next question my typical Nigerian mother asked me was “Ahhh Oprah Winfrey, is she married yet?” I stated “She isn’t married and never has been, besides it doesn’t matter because she’s successful now.” My mum’s reply was “Kosi bi obirin ṣe kọ ẹkọ to. Ọkọ rẹ ni ade rẹ.”(No matter how learned a woman is. Her husband is her crown). My mum went on to explain that a woman amounts to nothing if she doesn’t get married and know how to raise a family! So I was essentially brought up to believe that a woman should always aspire to marriage as opposed to being overly ambitious or better yet, aspire to obtain both!

Sweetheart, this is a conventional way of thinking. The ideology of marriage being more important than success has been engineered by society. However, not all woman think this way. People get married for different reasons, some for the sake of the children, many do for the sake of family/societal pressures, some for financial support and a few out of genuine love.

I want you to know that as a girl you are no less than a boy. You will grow up to have zest and passion to conquer the world, chase your dreams and make them come true. Yes, your dreams are valid my dear and with all my support and encouragement, you can be anything you wish to be. Should you chose to get married, your marriage will be a day to rejoice no doubt, as you step into a new chapter of life and we welcome a new member into our family BUT your achievements are NOT limited to getting married.

There is so much more to life and I pray that I will help you to recognise these small and big achievements. I will not raise you into believing that marriage is the greatest achievement a woman can aspire to but rather I will teach you about the importance of marriage, the need to marry without the overbearing, pontifical and opinionated stance. A stance that pushes many women into marriage rather than them understanding it properly and getting married based on knowledge, readiness and love. Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, marriage is beautiful but I also want you to recognise that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman who has chosen to pursue a career, attain higher degrees and travel the world. Women just like men are breaking records and accomplishing great things across all sectors. The only difference is that some may come before others. We all have different purposes in life, while some are celebrating getting married, some are celebrating a new degree, a promotion at work or even an innovative accomplishment etc.

I want you to have everlasting happiness and that can only come from you, nobody can make you genuinely happy except if you choose to be happy. As I said before, should you decide to get married, I would like you to live your life before then. Set new goals, celebrate them, visit new places, meet new people, work hard, start a business, get a promotion or a new job and just be happy and enjoy life.

Concern yourself with being the best woman you can be in all things.

You are the sweetest gift and I adore you unconditionally. Take things as they come and you will weather well. Keep your eyes, ears and heart wide open. Look for the goodness all around you. If ever you feel small in this great big world, be still. Think of your beautiful roots. So deep and true and they’ll enable you to stretch far. Go into this world and let your light shine. Remember you are loved and blessed.

The littlest one that ever stole my heart.

The world can be better because of you.

From your one and only,

Mum x

12 comments

  1. An interesting read ..Our daughters can be as great or even greater than our sons and they can accomplish both (marriage ,career et Al ) as long as it makes them happy .Their everlasting happiness is what truly matters and being good people in the society.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. This is the discourse we need to open up as parents but more important as mothers to these beautiful children. It’s about challenging the societal structures and allowing them to learn how to think for themselves.

      Like

  2. This is a beautiful letter. Oprah is also my idol and she is inspirational in all that she has achieved. Maya Angelou is another one of my idols and in one of her books she references her daughters. Whilst she never gave birth to any girls, she played an instrumental role in their lives.
    Being happy within and having life experiences should come first. If that includes marriage and children then that is fine but that shouldn’t define a woman’s success.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very touching. I like the format. I see a lot of “letters to my son” but a letter to your daughter was soulfully enriching. It’s going to be a challenge to push against conventional wisdom as a black woman but things like these are always positive first steps. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Allison. You’re right! It’s going to take a lot to challenge it. However, I guess parents will always do what they deem is best for their child(ren) and we won’t always agree.

      Like

  4. This is a beautiful letter for your daughter. I wish I would have gotten one! I am happy that you shared this with us, because it’s speaking to me greatly. In my family all the women have married young and didn’t experience anything or went to college. I’m the first in my family to have travel outside of the country and graduate university and this is something I struggle for them to understand.
    “Concern yourself with being the best woman you can be in all things.” I LOVE THIS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, that means a lot to hear.

      Change is not always embraced especially against choices that are seen to be culturally wrong. As time goes on they’ll have no choice but to accept it and they’ll love and respect you for it. Just concern yourself with being the best you can be in ALL things. The sky is NOT the limit, but in fact the beginning.

      Keep smiling and keep soaring, but most importantly, be happy :-).

      Like

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