Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A lecture from my son

Apologies for the long absence. Unfortunately, other commitments (work, kids, family etc) have distracted me from writing.........*smile*

Something on my mind:

Whenever I get together with old friends, there’s nothing we like to do than eat, drink and have a good old chinwag (leisurely chat / gossip)
Invariably, we end up arguing/discussing Nigeria – especially about politics and our plans to return home. This happens on a regular basis as we always meet up with friends every other week.
You can only imagine my surprise when after one such visit – and chinwag – my first son came up to me:

Prof1: ‘Mum, why do you always talk about going back to Nigeria’
Me: ‘Because that’s where I grew up and I would love to return there when I’m older because the weather is warm and there’s so much help around you’
Prof1: ‘Help?’
Me: ‘Yes…..I have more relatives there so there are more people to help me with things that I might need. For example, shopping, house-keeping….’
Prof1: (empathically) ‘Well, you are not going back!’
Me: (taken aback) …..’I’m not leaving now…I mean later….when I’m older…..’
Prof1: ‘I know. You cannot go back.
Me: (confusedly) ‘Why?’
Prof1: ‘..Because you have to stay here to take care of my children!’
Me: (smiling) ‘Ohhh…Well, I’ll come here in summer and leave in winter…How about that?’
Prof1: ‘No, that wont work!
Me: (laughing) ‘What about nursery for them?’
Prof1: (seriously) ‘They’ll go to nursery for two days and come to you for three days!’
Me: (now speechless) ‘Emmm…….’
Prof1: ‘Seriously mum, you really have to stay here all year. I will tell my wife to drop my children here on her way to work because I want them to eat jollof rice and sleep in my old bed!
Me: (stuttering in shock) ….’Em…..okay!’

This conversation surprised me because I really did not think kids could plan that far ahead. I was impressed!

However, it did get me thinking about the fact that one of our (immigrants) biggest challenges here is childcare. Nursery fees are exorbitant to say the least and take a huge chunk out of young families’ pay packet. In fact, I can honestly say that childcare is one of the reasons young families - who have no other family members living close by - struggle to save or invest for their future.

The support of family is a blessing when you have young children. Indeed, I was very conscious of this when my kids were much younger – For example, at one time, I had two kids in nursery at the same time – this cost us a minimum of £250 per week!

I now hear that nursery fees have even increased and this amount is now a distant memory.

Considering, I had 3 different children passing through nursery over the course of 8 years – one can only imagine how much went on nursery fees! I cannot count the number of times I moaned about the fact that my mum could not come over to help (my parents are quite elderly)

My son got me thinking……If I do return back to Nigeria…am I not leaving my kids to go through the same childcare challenge I went through? Is that fair? Even, am I kidding myself that I will definitely return to Nigeria when I get older?

Do tell me:
If you live abroad, do you see yourself returning to your home country anytime soon…..
If you don’t live abroad - even with all the challenges you hear those abroad face - would you consider relocating to Europe, US etc if you had a chance?

PS –
I would like really honest answers, so I have decided to allow anonymous comments for a week. Thanks


  1. I totally agree with you, I have been in the US for six years with 3 kids ages 6 to 12months and I cannot wait for my mother to come and when she gets here I have plans to hide her passpory as I do not intend to let her leave anytime soon. lol its hard paying for child care and it really breaks my heart what parents go through just to be able to have someone care for their kids. some even go as far as getting child care under the table and sometimes with people with little or no child care experience at the end of the day putting their kids at risk.

  2. Hmm.Thats good planning. What great kids you have. I live in Nigeria but when i hear how much my girlfriends abroad appeal to their mums to stay,i can almost imagine how hard it could be. Grandchildren are like extra jewels on a woman's crown so i bet you will not even need them to ask you to stay before you do.

  3. I was the anon up there just thought to leave all this anons and start afresh am a newbie on blogville and boy am I loving it, please visit my blog whenever you can.

  4. I honestly think your son's concerns are genuine. Im not married but from time to time, I worry about what would happen if I eventually have to live outside town, I'll like to have my mum around so would my other sisters, and my dad too.

    There's this peace of mind one gets if ur children grow up with ur parents, its cost effective too LOL.

    Honestly, you need to let ur son know that even though he lives 'abroad', Nigeria is home too. When the time comes, u'll have to negotiate staying or not. Remember once you stay to raise one son's child, the other 2 would await same favour.

    On second thot, since u have sons only, u may not stay too long as wives prefer their mums to mother-in-laws irrespective of how close they are to the latter!

    Finally, who knows, he might just be interested in returning to Nigeria some day. He's still young and so some of his ideas would change over time. In the meantime, try asking him to work hard at been successful so he can easily afford to pay for nursery just in case by chance u arent available.

  5. *** Forgot to mention that I loved your story on
    You're one brave woman!
    Moral learnt: If something/someone means that much to you, you get up and go after it/them!

  6. hummm.... first off. saying " I will go to nigerian when I am old" is as good as saying " I will not be going back to Nigeria" I mean, why would you want to move home when you are aged? when you can be living lavida loca, traveling all over the word.
    anyways..home is where the heart is, but i think youth is the time to move if it's ever going to happen...... so many reasons for this.
    buahhh.. I like you sons comment....It's true thou... not to worry sha, you will be able to share the childcare with his future wife's mum. so you might still have time to "move" to Nigeria.

  7. I agree with pet projects. Your son's wife might prefer to have her mom stay with her children, so you'll probably not be too busy with grandkids. I've also noticed that after people have spent so much time abroad, they hardly return home when they're retired.

    As for myself, I've not thought about that aspect of my life yet.

    P.S. Your relationship story on Myne's blog was interesting and cute. Love finds a way.

  8. Me I will say, when you get top that bridge, you will cross it. I joke with my mum all the time about how I will leave my children (when I have them)with her while I go abroad on training or something. She told me I will do no such thing and bla bla. My response is always that, when I leave them with you, throw them out. Even though we are both joking (or I hope she is, at least), there is some measure of selfishness in the whole game plan. If she found ways around her own child-rearing, why should I think she would want to be stuck with changing diapers @ 67 and above? I know it is a grandmother's joy to have the grandchildren around, to show them off, care for them and all that good stuff. But just like it is when one has visitors, it eventually gets boring, tiring and maybe uncomfortable. Grandma has plans too, duh!!!lol
    Moreso, the western climate is not even naija-elderly-person -friendly at all!!! Let my unborn children berra know now! It will be my prerogative to stay/come if I want! they wont be the one telling me what they want me to do for their own selfish reasons. Tag me callous!*evil grin*
    By the way, I also subscribe to PET's line, most times, the wife is more comfortable with her mom as opposed to any other person's mom.
    But even then, we are still led back to the question, what if the wife is one's daughter? I still remain on my stance!!!

    Naijamum, I completely adore your bravery in your love story....:)

  9. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? HOPE all is well sha. Just read your story on Myne's blog. Such a sweet sweet story. I see you as a brave woman and one who has eyes for good things and never lets go.

    Back to topic, I think your son already sees that you are a stable and solid rock/shelter in his life and he also wants his children to be trained by you. He probably sees you as more mature and wise than all those mamas or youngies out there. You must be doing a GOOD job. CONGRATS!!!

    I think that if you are planning to go to Nigeria for retirement, the time to start that is now. Because if you miss it now, then it may be hard later because all 'current' family friends are here and then you may have to start building relationships from scratch with those at home.

    Relationships can get rusty however deep they may have been. I believe you can eat your cake and have it. Go to Nigeria regularly and try to take the children. Have current homes in the two countries. After a while, you will get used to it and add to your circle of contacts.

    Besides your kids will REALLY REALLY gain from combining African intelligence with Western intelligence. LOL!!!!!!!!!!! I guess you know what I mean.

  10. "If you live abroad, do you see yourself returning to your home country anytime soon?"

    Yes. I know people abroad usually sneer when someone says they're planning to return home soon, but it's the simple truth. I do not say it with any sense of superiority or defeat but it's just the way it is. If I could be more specific in a public forum, I would have.

    If one really has an intention to return home, it's a lot of planning. AND it's not short-term planning. One may need to plan a year or two in advance.... especially when you're returning as a young person as opposed to returning home to retire. You have to make sure the job you're getting in Nigeria is a stable one - not the one they'll lure you as an expatriate and not meet up to the package they offered... Then accommodation, if you haven't built a house back home or you're getting a job in a city where your house is not in. Then schools for the children. Then health insurance (God forbid you have to fly someone out for health reasons), etc...

    The planning is like researching for a dissertation. Sometimes it overwhelms me and if it was only left to me, the stress of planning it alone would have made me put it off indefinitely! It helps to have a time-table and SPECIFIC achievable goals. Otherwise, it will just be a game of procrastination. Above all, I believe the best is to walk in step with God 'cos He'll lead. No sense returning home or staying abroad if God's peace does not direct you. None is as easy as we usually think it is.

  11. Seriously!!!!??? I just read your love story on Myne's blog and just like you, I married my university love after a first relationship with him, breaking his heart, and having another relationship!

    OK, this comment should be on Myne's blog not here!

  12. wow.. your son is really deep hey..he sure knows about planning for the future :)
    i am definitely planning to return to nigeria after my education but i want to give birth to my kids here jst so they can have the citizenship status. I know most people that already have well settled lives(a house, children,work,etc) find it hard to relocate to nigeria especially cos of their kids.. so i know if i end up gettin married and starting a family over here, i'll probably never relocate to nigeria again. I'll definitely pay yearly visits but it'll be real hard to go back home to start afresh.

  13. @Anonymous:
    ....'3 kids ages 6 to 12months..! I feel you oh. That is hard work!
    I dont blame you re: hiding your mum's passport. LOL
    Problem is that all the old people who come over do get bored after a while. Again, the weather can be a bit harsh for them (in UK anyway)
    However, like you said, with your mum, you will have rest of mind
    Thanks xoxoxox

    Thanks for the compliment re: kids
    As for being a grandma...I'm hoping I have to wait for some time yet! LOL
    Thanks for stopping by

    @ Adellemaria:
    Welcome newbie!!
    I've visited your blog...and I will be dropping by again. Welcome aboard

  14. @ P.E.T:
    LOL @....'its cost effective too.' I hear you!
    My son definitely feels Nigeria is 'home' too but I'm a realist and I believe that they are more likely to remain here - because it's what they are used to.
    Like you said, I have sons only, so I'm hoping that will free me to travel more...leaving more responsibility to the girl's mum! *smile*

    Re: My story on Myne's ...Thanks! LOL @ brave - I didnt feel brave then ....more of a risk taker! *smile*

    LOL @ ....'why would you want to move home when you are aged?' Well, I see my professional career as more compatible with where I am now.
    Again, I really am not a fan of moving children from place to place - when one hasnt made suitable plans. Kids like security.
    As I have made the choice to have them abroad, I am not open to taking them back EXCEPT I have a tangible source of income in place in Nigeria. And I havent.....nor do I plan to anytime soon.
    So, I guess home is here...for now!
    Thanks for dropping by. xoxoxox

  15. @ Prism:
    Agree re:.....' I've also noticed that after people have spent so much time abroad, they hardly return home when they're retired'
    Very true

    Re: My story on Myne's ...thanks.
    Hope all is well?

    @ HoneyDame:
    LOL @ you and your mum
    Agree with...'Grandma has plans too, duh!!!
    and '....the western climate is not even naija-elderly-person -friendly at all!'
    I can see you have plans already LOL!!
    RE: My story on Myne's ...Thanks
    Like I said before..I really did not fell brave at the time!

  16. @ Anonymous:
    thanks so much. I have been okay...frantically busy but fine!
    Thanks for the complimen re: my story on Myne's...who no like beta ting? LOL
    Thanks for th kind words re: being a mum....I do my best and just leave the rest to God! *smile* I 'miss' Naija.....I will say 50/50 on that because there are so many things I cannot do there right now (professionally and personally) and there are so many things I can.

    I get what you say about having 2 homes in naija and UK but frankly, a home in Naija right now is not feasible.

    LOL @ ' combining African intelligence with Western intelligence' Tooo true

  17. @os:
    You are absolutely right when you say ' it's a lot of planning........'
    LOl @'The planning is like researching for a dissertation'
    I like your idea of a time-table with 'SPECIFIC achievable goals'
    Like you said it's all about planning and allowing God to take control.
    Thanks for commenting.

    re your love story:
    I wish your marriage many more years of hapiness and peace. Amen

    @ kitkat: son is deep..That's why we call him Prof LOL
    I appreciate your dilemma - having the kids abroad and still having a connection with Nigeria - not as easy as it sounds!
    Thanks for commmenting

  18. Niways, I don't think I will want to relocate to US or UK o, cos those countries are already developed and the economy already has a cap on it. Nigeria is stil developing, which meand this is the place where money can be made easily if one can just make use of the numerous opportunities available.
    Also, if all the great mind like yours relocate, who will develop our own country naa? Abi is it this present government we are going to keep putting our hope in?
    I will only travel for holiday, but not to live there permanently.

  19. Your convo with prof is just too sweet for words. Argh...childcare issues - bane of our life in diaspora. You raise an important issue about our children in later life...Hopefully they would be fine and parents would be able to live in Naija and visit regularly. If they need the support, I guess the answer is clear. Personally, I'd prefer for my grandkids - when that time comes - to attend secondary school in Naija. But it would be up to their parents to make that decision. When they are little, it is usually a struggle one way or the other...but it is well.

  20. Relocate back to Nigeria? Tufiakwa!!!!
    I am sick of people telling me that. My home is wherever I find hapiness
    Why should I be the one to 'build' up a country - a country that does not even appreciate its people?
    Abeg...I am with your son!
    The best moment of my life was when I gave birth to my daughter abroad ....Knowing that she now has dual citizenship was my greatest gift to her as a mum
    Let us stop deceiving ourselves...Nigeria has failed its people.
    If you get a chance to leave and have your kids abroad...LEAVE
    As for holiday or second home in Naija...That's a waste of money.
    Not will all the bad roads, hungry money-grabbing relatives and kidnappers.

  21. Your Prof1 really has plans oh!

    I visited my sister who is based in the US. She has no plans of relocating but I saw how she struggled with daycare, work, nanny and all the likes. I, on the other hand based in Nigeria, know how easily I call on relatives, especially my mom when I need them.

    However, there is alot to gain by living in the UK or US such as infrastructure, excellent education, etc especially for raising kids so if I have the chance to relocate to US/UK, I would. Despite the challenges being faced by being far away from family, I guess there are others who have successfully overcome them and we will learn from them.

  22. hmmm i going to be saying something new here. I was raised in both US and Nigeria. I completely see where @ilola is coming from because being a business man/women in a developing countries makes more sense. I love both The US and Nigeria for different reasons. After traveling to Asia, i decided that i will NEVER be a old person in the western world. Compared to Africa, South America, and Asia, the western countries in my opinion treat old ppl like they are useless trash, awaiting their death. Also i HATE the cold with passion.
    I currently live in the states, but my dream would be to get married and live in a developing country where i can really give back. I would prefer a developing nation that had good healthcare.

  23. Another i would like to add is, African mamas should be able to enjoy their lives. They have raised their own children, let them be free to choose what they want to do.
    Also your community and ppl you trust don't always have to be blood related. There is a lady in my church that loves Children of all ages. She is now a grandmother and is retired. Many working mothers in my church give their children to her and she loves every minutes. I want to emphasize the fact that this is what she loves doing. I have met many older women like her. Look for community where ever you are and be willing to help the ppl in your community also.

  24. I agree and understand @ilola's point of view however, when you finally get married and Megida decides to move, you'll not have much of a choice would you?

  25. @Ilola:
    i do understand your point about staying in Nigeria to help develop the country. However, if/when you do get married and your hubby wants to live abroad. What will you do?
    Like all things in life - it's not always black and white! There are often shades of grey...abi?
    Thanks for dropping by.

    Re: 'Argh...childcare issues - bane of our life in diaspora'...Totally agree! A neverending source of stress for me!
    You mentioned that you would prefer your grandkids attend secondary school in Naija - will have to deal with your kids' reaction to that oh! Especially if the daughter-in-law is against it! LOL
    Thanks for commenting.

    funny enough..your reaction is the same as one of my friends. I guess we all have different experiences of Naija!
    I do see your point about insecurity and demanding relatives. However, it is a good idea to still visit the place you have your roots.
    What do you think?....

  26. @Rita
    LOL @'Your Prof1 really has plans oh!

    I'm glad you experienced firsthand what your sister goes through.
    I do agree that there is a lot to gain from raising a child abroad. However, you have to constantly fight against some negative influences i.e. different culture and belief system.
    All in all, we can only do our best as parents!
    Thanks for dropping by!

    @ Chizzy D:
    I also agree - to some extent with Ilola
    However, as someone who has done business in Naija, I can tell you that it is not easy to run a business there. You have to really persevere.
    For example, with the business I was running; a large portion of our profits was eventually devoted to fuelling generators.
    For your business to survive, you must have some sort of 'financial cushion' i.e. another source of income or a buoyant backer.
    Doable ....but not easy!

    @Chizzy D:
    LOL @ ....'let them be free to choose what they want to do' ....Preach gal!
    I concur.
    I see your point about 'your community and ppl you trust don't always have to be blood related'
    Totally agree.
    Thanks for that

    You have just hit the nail on the head - that's exactly what happened to me!! LOLLLL
    That is why I said one cannot really see any issue as black or white - there are always shades of grey inbetween
    Thanks for that

  27. Good that your son is thinkin ahead.
    I live in Naija and have had several opportunities to live in the diaspora and have chosen to remain home because this is the best place for me right now and as a mum I can't tell you how much support I have from my mum and 2 live-in care givers(same for the past 10years),
    Will I relocate? Maybe if there is good enough reasons to eg if hubby becomes an ambassador but will certainly come home to roost and spend my later years as Naija is more fun and even my sis who relocated 2years ago when she got married can't wait to come back and wants to raise her children here as I believe our children are better balanced

  28. *a rocking laff @ your conversation with Prof.. i had to quickly stop reading to comment before going back to read more, becox i just can't control myself as i type! I just love your son's tenacity ooo!..hahahahhahaaa

    p.s,,hey sorry for commenting late, the palava at the shop is dey back to reading..hehehhe

  29. Finished reading, i understand the problem more even as i live in Nigeria, but as you said, we do have help from relations & friends & your question, NO, i won't relocate if i have the chance, infact, this had been a bobe of contention btw i & hubby for years, we simply refuse to agree, he is concerned about our kids education..& since his brother is abroad, he believes it would be much easier for me & the kids while he stays behind because of his job..i bluntly refused, when we traveled last year, he thought i would be impressed & have a change of mind..but i still refused becox there was a problem i saw which he did not; WHO WOULD LOOK AFTER MY KIDS WHEN AM AT WORK & THEY ARE BACK FROM SCHOOL?.. nannies?...can i afford them? & the idea of having strangers in my home for hours long was not comforting..with some many stories i hear, because i remember a family friend sending her son to nigeria to meet her mum because most part of her salary was going to nannies..& i saw too much of freedom to kids & restriction to parents on how to instill disciple in them, though the land is flowing with milk & honey, it is 'cold' & even 'colder' to strangers. my 2 kobo. I like this post.

  30. Its not only child care, how bout quality of life, excess work yet little savings, and the fact that your life has been planned and curtailed by the goverment hence ur life is a circle .. sleep, eat and work, heaven knows i can't do that for much longer
    well i'm definately going back to my country, though its rough there, i just need to live my life to the fullest

    Anyway check out my blog and follow me if you like it

  31. @ ayabaodusote:
    I agree that you are lucky to have support of your mum and 2 live-in care givers
    However, I must disagree when you say children raised in Nigeria are 'better balanced'....from what I've seen, it depends on the home.
    Unfortunately, some home - wherever they are - are not conducive to a child's growth.
    Many thanks fopr dropping by

    I hope all is well with the shop.
    It's not easy being a working mum.
    I totally understand when you say you will not elocate if you had the chance.
    LOL @'....though the land is flowing with milk & honey, it is 'cold' & even 'colder' to strangers.....' I have to say that the land wey I dey no get milk and honey at all, at all!
    However, like I mentioned to you sometime ago....disciplining a child is still possible here.
    I have nieces and nephews who have only being to Nigeria once or twice in their life.....and have grown to be very impressive adults with respect for elders. It truly depends on the home.
    Thanks Ibhade

    @ Chizy K:
    I hear you regarding ' quality of life, excess work yet little savings....' Too true
    That is one attraction about Naija.
    Thanks for dropping by

  32. I live in the US and hope to move back to Nigeria some day, sooner (after the children maybe?) than as a retiree. The childcare stuff na wa. It was part of the reason I decided on a career as a writer so I can be a SAHM. My other passion for public health can wait.

  33. son is thinking ahead. I do not have kids now...I have just myself in the U.K.I resigned from the bank to start my masters programme. Initially I was loving it but later I began to pine for the life I had left back home in naija. It was so funny cos all the things I had complained about back then, I wanted them all of a sudden! waking up at 4:30am,the long drive to work, customers and their unique issues, colleagues at work, friends, traffic on 3rd mainland, staff bus issues,catch your fun anywhere and how u like it, etc, I guess I had gotten so used to that type of life before coming fact, recounting all this just make me want to pack my bags... but the good thing is this, if I hadn't come here I wouldn't have discovered blogsville cos it was out of boredom I stumbled on the beautiful world of blogging. i had been stalking quite a lot before I decided to join the train

  34. @Myne:
    I totally understand that being a SAHM was one of the attractions of becoming a writer.
    You are blessed to have such a talent
    Childcare issues are one of the reasons why we lose sooo many females from our workforce each year.
    Thanks for dropping by

    Congrats on starting your masters programme. Hope you are not finding it too cold.
    LOL @ you missing Naija. My sister, I have been here for quite a while - and I still miss Naija!
    I wish you all the best with your degree and I hope you have a really good time in blogsville.

  35. Thanks naijamum.I do hope to have a good time in blogsville. as for the cold, I have decided to give it the silent treatment...hehehe

  36. I tagged you in an award :-), come to my blog to claim it!


  37. I keep seeing your blog just about everywhere and after taking a peep at your love story on Myne Whitman's blog, I fell in love with your persona and blog.

    Xisses, Onyxsta

  38. @Onyxsta:
    LOL @'I keep seeing your blog just about everywhere....'
    My dear sister...I have to confess that I like to 'escape' into blogs...whenever the stresses of life become a bit much!!!
    Thanks so much for your really sweet words.

  39. @ Naijamum; I gave you the lovely blog award, please go to my blog and see whats required of you, I hope the family is doing great have a great weekend.

  40. i guess you will be a travelling grandma
    in for 3 months
    out for 2 weeks

  41. @Adellemaria:
    Thanks for the award. I have being a lazzzzzy blogger - I'll def respond to this now. Thanks again

    Welcome back!
    'Travelling grandma'...I like the sound of that..LOL
    However, I think it'll be in for 2 weeks and out for 3 months *smile*

  42. hey naija mum, i love ur blog and so i tagged you in the ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD.
    check out the details at my blog -

  43. Hi,

    What's wrong with your blog? The comments are blank, can't see it. Woz up! Maybe you are working on your next blog post. See ya!

  44. Hi,

    After posting a comment it became visible. Wow!

  45. @Anonymous
    Thanks for dropping by.
    I was giving the blog a facelift seeing as we're offiucially in Springtime.
    Hope you like it!

  46. Purpliecious Babe (DOZ)29 March 2011 at 20:31

    lol... such a nice convo with your son..i can only wonder how old he is with that mind of his....

    He's actually 10...almost 11 now
    However, he does think like an old man at times :)
    Thanks for coming over

  48. as u get older the chances that you'll be expected to look after someone elses kids (either back in nigeria or here) are bigger then chances u'll be looked after... :)

  49. hmmm... yes child care is definitely expensive. I know of a couple that had to move heaven and earth to get the wifey's mum over for @least six mths 2 help care for the new babe.
    Over here(naija) we are fortunate to have nannies, relatives, etc to help. but having stayed there for some time, would you really be willing to go and leave your son's family??
    for me, right now, i will prefer staying back in naija esp. as am still trying to get settled and have the kids to consider.

  50. ROFLAO! I have no doubt in my mind that children are officially wise beyond their years. They officially have "opened their eyes". Imagine a child already planning for his childcare! lol. Wish I had that foresight at that age!


I always look forward to reading comments from visitors - so please leave yours. Many thanks for dropping by....xoxoxox