Today I thought I’d talk about Nigerian parents and how they feel about getting their children (especially female children) married off. I’ve read the blogs of a couple of Naija women who say that their parents (especially their mothers) cannot wait for them to get married and it’s the first question they ask them when they talk on the phone. Some say that their parents and other family members constantly tell them that they are “praying for them”.
My parents are not as obvious about it, but I think they too pray regularly that my sister and I will find good men and settle down with them. I know my father’s prayers include the wish that the man be a Christian and be fair and responsible, while my mother’s prayer includes a “and let him be Yoruba or at least a Naija man, Amen!” (which is fine because I actually want to marry a Nigerian guy).
When it comes to actually telling me “Daughter, shouldn’t you be thinking about finding a man now?” or “Good Naija Girl, I want to be a grandmother and you’re my oldest child”, I don’t hear a thing. I think it’s because they know that I’m far more
panicked concerned aware of my single status than they could possibly be. I took mammalian physiology in school, I know that six years from now, my fertility will be significantly reduced (sorry, is that TMI?) as I will have reached the dreaded age of THIRTY FIVE. You know, the age where everything reproductively goes downhill (lol). Whenever I mention this to friends they assure me that “Oh, don’t be silly! You’ll have plenty of kids by then!” or “Women are having children at age 55 abi 60 nowadays so this age 35 nonsense is silly.” Just because you can have a child at age 50 does not mean that this is the best thing to do. And really I would like to make sure that I minimize all possible risks with respect to complications in pregnancy, and being a younger mother is one of the best ways to do that.
So now that I have completely dissuaded any guy from dating me, let me get back on topic.
There are no guarantees in this life. No one can promise me that I’ll be married in 10 months or 10 years or at all. We all hope that we and all our friends find love and live happily ever after but this is the real world, not a fairytale where everything ends happily ever after. It’s this realization that made me want to buy my own place without waiting for Prince Charming to come and buy it with me because what if Prince Charming doesn’t exist? What if he’s running 10 years late (talk about Naija time!)? I refuse to continue to live under mummy and daddy’s roof until I’m 40, hoping that Mr. Charming will show up there.
I’m glad my parents aren’t pressuring us (my sister is two years younger than I) to marry. My father firmly believes that the right guy will come into my life if I pray for it to happen. I worry about the logistics of this but it can’t hurt to pray for a good man to come into my life, can it? I can’t deny I wish they were a little worried, to the point of finding me some candidates to date, but maybe I’m just being lazy.
Offhand, I know five Nigerian women age 25 and over in North America who are not yet married and are not feeling pressure from family to marry either (though they may have put pressure on themselves). Are Naija parents becoming more relaxed about this, or do they just spend more time talking to everyone but their daughters about their concern?
What do you think?