As a young Nigerian who still lives with her parents at 25, there are many daily struggles I face for being poor and not being able to afford to live on my own yet: curfews, dress codes, etc. I know there are many people like me out there who face these ghetto struggles on a daily. So I asked eight 25+ Nigerians to tell me their biggest struggles living with their parents.
My parents will call you if you are not home by 10 p.m., and keep calling you until you get home. They do this for the daughters, but the sons can just decide not to come back. For us girls, unless you tell them beforehand that you won’t be coming home or that you’re travelling, they’ll call you to death.
Also, one annoying thing that my mother does is call me on the phone to come upstairs to ask me if the doors in the house are locked, then she asks me to switch off her bedroom light, which we both know is the major reason she wanted me to come all the way upstairs in the first place. She thinks she’s sly.
As the last born and currently the only child in their house, it’s hard to leave because they’re old, so I have to stay and handle some things that they can’t. But they are now purposely making me stay back because no one else will, like it’s a rule. But they make it so difficult to live with them.
Speaking of rules, curfew is by 8 p.m., once it’s 8:02 like this, they’ve called my sisters overseas to tell them that I’ve run away from the house or that I’m drunk somewhere. I’m not allowed to bring girls over; even bringing male friends is wahala sometimes.
At 25 years old, I still need to tell them where I’m going. It’s not like I won’t let them know, but the expectation that I must take permission is annoying and makes me feel like I’m being monitored like a 12-year-old. Also, they think my money is their money but it’s not. When I was growing up, their money was my money because they insisted on giving birth to me, training me and taking care of me. Now, I want to take care of them but my salary is ₦150,000, Wi-Fi is expensive, transportation is expensive, and the little I have left, I want to spend it on myself. I want them to manage the one I can give them, not for them to be telling me to drop ₦50,000 as feeding allowance for the house.
Also, when I first started working virtually, my mum would enter my room and try to gist with me and I’d be like, “This woman, I’m in a meeting,” then she’d get upset, walk out and slam my door. Yeah, she’s that dramatic. And she’s so petty that later, when she cooks and I want to eat, she’ll mimic me mockingly: “I’m busy, I’m in a meeting. Sorry I can’t talk now.” And because I am my mother’s child, I’m also petty. So me too, I’ll walk away and not eat the food…until hunger catches me in the middle of the night and I sneak into the kitchen to eat it.
I think one of the most annoying things about living with my parents is the curfew. I have to be home by 9 p.m., and due to Lagos traffic, that means all my turn-ups end by 5 p.m., at most; when the party has barely started. There was a time I stayed out beyond my curfew because I was working late at the office that day. The next day, my mum called my boss and queried him. I nearly lost my job.
She also likes to hog the TV, although she’s more lenient with it now. Before, she was always in charge of the remote, meaning the channel could change anytime, especially in the evenings. Imagine missing UEFA Champions League nights because of African Magic Yoruba and I couldn’t go out to watch. And yet she’d fall asleep in front of the TV while claiming she was still watching.
For me, it has to be the little to no freedom; my mother steady complains if I go out twice or three times in a row. My curfew used to be 9 p.m., then it moved to 10 p.m., and now it’s midnight. I guess, my parents are slowly realising that I’m an adult.
My parents have this annoying habit of sending me on errands that they could have done themselves. For example, my mum or dad would get home to send me to buy something from a place they literally passed on their way home.
They also wake me up for the silliest reasons. One time they woke me up and asked me to look for a list they wrote that I didn’t even know about, only for them to later find it on their dressing table.
My parents wake me up for no reason at all, because how can you still be sleeping at 8 a.m. in a Nigerian parent’s home. “At this time, you’re still sleeping! It’s not possible!” Then there’s the overall lack of privacy and boundaries; one time my mother called me from a meeting to help her change her WhatsApp display picture.
I don’t exactly have freedom in the house. I work from home, and even though I let them know that I’ll be busy for a certain period of time, they’ll still call me for one thing or the other and that always disrupts my thinking process.
One time, when my dad got back from one of his travels, he told me to take his dead car that he had refused to throw away, for a spin. He was angry we hadn’t warmed the car, so he told me to take it for a spin. This car died on the way. I had to push it for a while. It was so embarrassing.
The most annoying thing is that my parents have too much access to me; when I go out, they’re looking for me, if I’m at home, they’re calling me every ten minutes to watch something I’m not interested in, or to gist, when I just want to be in my room alone.
My dad sees me as his little girl, so we’re always fighting about curfew and staying out late, but thankfully, I stay winning this fight. My dad can call you fifty times a day, half the time, he didn’t have to call you.