My father died when I was seven. He travelled before I was born. He never came back again until his corpse was returned home. I didn’t know him. I didn’t even see a picture of him.
It was always my mom when I was a child until she married again and had my brother and sister. That marriage also didn’t work. The man was abusive. I was old enough to see what he took my mom through. He warned me not to call him dad because he wasn’t my dad.
I was very young but I hated him. I was there when he had the final fight with my mom. That evening, my mom packed everything she had and left the house with me and my other two siblings. We ended up at my grandparent’s house, where we lived until I went to the boarding school at SHS.
My mom has been the pillar of my life, I must say. She sold everything to take us to school. My grandparents helped but mostly it was my mom who did everything. I prayed for her when growing up. That God should give her long life and good health. I prayed for myself too. That God should give me enough money so I could repay the investment my mom did in me.
I worked hard in school. At every level, I strived to be on top. Right after national service, I had a job. I started paying monthly allowance for my mom and also paid the fees of my junior siblings. I didn’t even have a girlfriend because I thought a girl would be a distraction. It was always my mom and my siblings and to a certain extent my grandparents until they both died.
Three years ago I got married. My mom didn’t like the idea of my marriage. She said it was too soon and asked where I was rushing to; “At least, wait until Josephine completes school? You’re getting married too soon.” I was twenty-nine.
I promised nothing will stop me from taking care of our last born, not even marriage. I was getting married but my commitments to them would not be cut off just because I was married.
My wife comes from a wealthy background. I was initially scared, but she proved to me that her background didn’t affect how she should love a man. She gave me when I needed help. When I needed someone to support my dreams, she said, “Here I am.” Hannah. It’s God who threw her to me knowing how I’ve suffered in life.
Currently, everything we own as a married couple has its root in my wife. The car I drive was given to me by his parents. The house we live in is for her parents, though we’ve bought land for ourselves that we are about to develop. She earns more than I do and it’s because of her I can have enough resources to take care of my parents and siblings.
I visited my mom one day and she told me, “Don’t do properties and put only your wife’s name on them. You men are like that. When you fall in love, you give everything to your wife even when your mother is alive. You have siblings. I suffered before you got to where you are. Don’t forget that. Put my name on things you acquire. Marriage breakdown all the time but no mother breaks up with their children. Think about it.”
I was shocked and scared at the same time. The fact that she could tell me such a thing made me feel like she thinks I have so much and I’m sidelining her. She knows my wife and knows that whoever I am currently is because of Hannah. “Is she saying I should smuggle her name on documents of properties my wife had acquired?”
She repeated it weeks later. A couple of months later she told me she hadn’t seen anything in the direction of what she told me. “I told her, “Mom I’ve heard you. I’m still young and building a life. Once I start owning anything I’ll put your name on it. I will buy cars and put your name on it. When I build my own house, your name would be on it. It’s a matter of time so have patience.”
My mom thinks I have so much and hiding from her. She calls me and talks to me in a tone that suggests I’m being an ungrateful child. She doesn’t believe me when I say I haven’t acquired anything. The last time she shouted at me, “Are you the man in the marriage or the woman? Everything you’ll bring your wife’s name in it, don’t you have any autonomy? Is your wife controlling you? Tell me and I’ll come and warn her. My wife, my wife, don’t you have a life?”
She cut the call on me. Honestly, I don’t know where all these are coming from and why the rush. If I get money, I’ll buy land for her and build for her. My wife will even support the idea but my mom doesn’t want to hear my wife’s name anywhere in our conversations. She thinks my wife has her grip on me and is the reason I don’t listen to what she’s saying.
I decided to sit her down one day and tell her everything that was going on in my marriage:
“Mom, it’s not that I’m sidelining you ooo. Currently, we are both doing things together. Where we live is for her parents and you know it. The car I drive is for her. I don’t have anything that can have your name on it so please be patient.”
She got up and started screaming at me. “A man like you, you can’t make a statement without bringing your wife’s name into it. Is she the one who gave birth to you? Did she pay your fees while going to school? Where was she when I was selling my personal belongings just to pay your fees? You mean all these years you haven’t acquired anything in your name, a man like you? What are you using your education for? What do you do with what you earn or that too goes to your wife?”
I had good intentions but that conversation ended badly. She said, “Get up and go and serve your wife. I know I’ve wasted my time and resources taking care of you.”
The relationship between me and my mom is breaking down gradually and I’m scared it might show up in my marriage. She tells family members that my wife is now my God so I no longer listen to her.
I’m frustrated and walking through life gingerly because I’m no longer comfortable here. My mom suffered, I know. I would love to give her her flowers before I decorate her tomb with fake ones but currently, it’s not possible.
She thinks I have everything but everything I have belongs to my wife. Hannah makes life easier for me and there’s no me without her. That’s what my mom doesn’t want to hear. How do I solve a problem like my mom? How do I get her to be patient with me? How?