There are mothers-in-laws from hell and some from heaven. In this interview with SADE AFE, Mrs. Christianah Aladesaye, a retired teacher shared how truly angelic her mother-in-law was.
Can you tell us about your background?
I was born sixty four years ago, to the family of late Mr and Mrs Adegoroye. I schooled briefly in Akure, before I followed one of my aunties to the then mid-west. That was where I had the greater part of my early life, before I came back to the West here to attend Akure Secondary Commercial School, Akure.
From there, when the UBE started, I went to the Apostolic Teachers Training College, Ilesha. After that, I taught briefly for just one session at L.A. Primary School, Ondo, before I gained admission into Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo.
I had my NYSC at Ilesha Muslim Grammar School, before I came back to Akure.
And while in Akure here, I was posted to CAC Grammar School, Akure, where I taught English and Literature.
In 1982, I met my husband. We met in February and got married 11th December of the same year, and since then we have been living together. The Lord blessed us with the gift of four boys. Three are in their places of work and the last born is here with us.
After teaching for two years in CAC Grammar School, I got an appointment with the Federal University of Technology, Akure in September 1984; there I was till August 2011 when I retired. And since then, in order not to be idle at home doing nothing, I opened a shop where I am selling crates of soft drinks so as to while away the time.
Where are you from?
I am from Akure and my husband is from Oda town. We are from Akure South Local Government Area.
Was it immediately your husband proposed to you that you agreed to marry him?
No, he first came in a “corner corner” way. He did not come directly, he came through one of his aunties. She happened to be a friend to my aunty from my mother’s side. That was how they started negotiating among themselves without letting me know. The day I met him formally was when that my aunty sent for me that I should see her, so I went to her but she did not tell me anything tangible.
I then asked her why she called me when she has nothing important to discuss with me. According to my sister who accompanied me, my hubby was sitting behind the door just looking at me, and told him to take off his eyes from her sister.
So I left, when I wanted to go, he wanted to take me home. Then I said, “how can I follow you when I do not know you, I cannot go with you”. Then he said, he knows where I live, which means, he has been watching me for a long time. After that night we did not see for the next two months, because I was serving at Oyo State then. He came to visit me about two times when I was serving at Ilesha. That was when the normal proposal took place.
And since we have entered into the marriage relationship, we have no reason to regret rather than to thank God for bringing us together.
Are you saying there has not been any challenge or quarrel in your marriage?
I would not say I had any challenges, we have never quarreled. He has never used hurting words on me. By December, our marriage will be thirty five years old, and he has never said “Ori e o da” to me and I have never said the same thing to him. We have just been living together like brother and sister.
What is the most challenging aspects of your marriage that you will never forget?
Challenge, did I have any? I do not have any. I call my husband, “daddy”.
Daddy is like a brother to me. When we got married, the mother was alive and she was living with us. She used to pamper me, she would give me anything I wanted and he too did likewise.
Is he the only child of his mother?
Yes, so the mother used to see me as the second child, and it was what I wanted that the two of them would give me, they never denied me anything.
If I sit down as if I am not happy, you will see the two of them running helter-skelter, so I do not think and I pray I would not have any challenge.
What is your take on women trafficking?
I am against it and I do not like it at all, it is a bad business. My advice is that those who are doing it should put a stop to it. That is a second slavery, they are trying to enslave those children.
If is a girl, they will introduce her to harlot business, if is a boy, he will be working and they will be collecting the money, I hate it and I will never dabble into it and I pray that God will touch the hearts of those doing it.
Do you encourage engaging house help?
I do not, because we experienced problems.
With my third child, I had a bitter experience. If not for God and the power of prayer, our maid would have crippled my child for life. Because normally, when I give birth to my babies, at seven months they will start walking.
By the time I had my third child, my mother-in-law was already old.
So I discovered that she could not take care of the child the way she used to, so, I had to employ a house girl to be assisting her. After six months, my child will never go to her willingly. If we say, “Fisayo go to aunty”, he would cry. We normally forced the child on her. Daddy was a member of one club then, and I happened to belong to the women’s wing, the club was Echoe Circle. So, we went to the club to have a meeting and a woman came there to pray for us, the woman just called me that I have an elderly person living with me at home. I said yes, my mother-in-law. She said no, apart from your mother in-law? I said that I have an house girl and she said it was that house girl who was the elderly person. I said no, she is a small girl now! She insisted she is older that everyone in the house.
So, she now told me that, I should pray. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law too had prayed, because she happened to be a prophetess, but she did not want to tell me. She was arranging on how to deliver her of the evil spirit. So when my mother-in-law prayed into water, she wanted to use it bath her, the maid just entered the bathroom and poured it over herself and my mother-in-law said either you allow me to use it or not, God has conquered you.
So about five days later, the maid just woke up and came to me, saying “mummy, you know I do not sleep last night”. And I said because you were not feeling sleepy that was why you did not sleep. And she replied,” no, it was mama that used the Bible to slap me. I said hee! When she was saying it I did not understand. I said but you are not sleeping in the same room, how would she do that? Then my mother-in-law just came in and said kneel down there and tell us what you know about Fisayo.
It was then that she said she has been carrying the baby with back hand, I said no you use your hands, she said no it was with an evil the hand that she has been using to carry the baby and that she has soaked the baby into the dreg of palm oil (ikete epo). I said no, she said yes, it was then I remembered that my children used to walk at seven months. But this boy always had rashes on his skin. I kept on buying Nycil powder and he could not even sit down straight. I have to get him a special baby sitter, which I always tied him not knowing, she has soaked him in Ikete.
I have to ask my mother-in-law what is Ikete? She now said the dreg of palm oil. I returned her to the person that gave her to me. Then my mother in-law started prayer session, praying into the water every day. When my mother-in-law started bathing the baby, my mother in-law bathed him like that for seven days. And a boy who could not sit well on his own, you have to gang him up, he did not even crawl, at exactly ten months, he just stood up and started walking.
And I give the glory to God. Since then, till now, no more house girl. So I do not encourage people having house helps, even my children’s wife will ever have it. They should send their children down to me if they cannot cope alone; my husband is good at taking care of babies.
Are you saying that young ladies should pray to have good mother-in-law?
Yes, they should. It will help them. When I was raising children, nobody knows that I have a child. There was even a woman in our church that called me and said “please my daughter try to be looking for the fruit of the womb”, I said what mama, my children are a at home. She said “sorry I only see you with pregnancy but not with child, after dedication, I do not see you with child again,” I said it is my mother-in-law that takes care of them for me.
I do not know how to do anything before my marriage. It was my mother-in-law who taught me how to cook and she would never abuse or insult me. I love her. In fact if it is possible for me to come to the world again, I will look for that woman and marry her son.
What is your role in the training of your four boys?
I help as a teacher in coaching them at home, after that I do not do anything. Financially, it is their father that does that. I only assisted when we have a project to do, he did not even ask me but I do it.
Your advice for women?
They should work, get something doing before going into marriage, we cannot all be lucky the same way. No woman should be idle.
And your best food?
Initially, my best food was Eba, but now I eat anything good, anything delicious.
Your best colour?
My best colour is any shade of blue.
And your philosophy about life?
My philosophy about life is that we should take things easy. And hand over whatever problem we have unto God. We should be prayerful, cast all your problems on the shoulder of Jesus, he will surely care for you.
Would you advise women to go into politics?
If they have the zeal, why not? Once it is in their blood and they know they can play it well, they should go into it but they should not allow it to affect their homes. Don’t employ house maid to take care of your husband, take care of your children and prepare his meal or play your role as a wife to him.