Nigerian mums will spill your secrets unprovoked during family gatherings, but they also know when to carry your secrets to the grave. When I was once diagnosed with an embarrassing medical condition five years ago, my late mum managed to keep it from the whole world. 

To celebrate Mother’s Day 2024, I set out to find other people who’ve had their mums keep their wildest secrets for them.

Idris*, 25

My mum is an OG for real. The first time she caught me smoking, I thought I was done for. I was home alone and thought I had the house to myself. I lit a blunt in the bathroom, and she barged in wanting to use the toilet. There I was with weed in hand. I ran to my room as she entered. When she came out, she gave me a long and pitiful stare that told me how disappointed she was. “Let this be the first and last time. If not, you know your father and what he can do.” I thought she’d tell my dad or one of our relatives, but she never did. I still smoke, but that was the last time I lit a blunt at home.

Deji*, 31

I had an infection after NYSC camp. I went to pee and saw blood stained lumps in my urine. The sight freaked me out, and without thinking, I went to tell my mum. Next thing, she was like “Who did you have fun with in camp?” She was suggesting I had an STI. I was embarrassed AF. She immediately ordered me to go to the hospital. It turned out it was a regular urinary tract infection. The whole time I was under medication, my mum would randomly show up and say “Bawo de ni tibi” But my siblings were completely clueless. I’m glad she kept it between us. 

Nosa*, 29

I failed my SS 2 promotional exams and had to repeat the class. My mum came to school the following week. I don’t know what she told the principal, but I was promoted on trial. Still, when I got home for the holidays, I walked on eggshells the entire time waiting for the day my dad would address the issue. He never did till I returned to school. That was how I knew my mum kept my secret.

Bisi*, 40

About a month before my husband proposed, my mum came into my room one night and said we needed to talk. She asked me, “When last did you see your period? Are you pregnant?” because her motherly instincts told her I was. We went to the hospital the next day, and I was two weeks pregnant. She called my BF, told him what had happened and asked what his plans were. Few weeks later, he proposed. My wedding followed almost immediately because my mum wanted me out of the house before I started showing. The entire time, nobody knew why everything was rushed. I was grateful she kept the secret. My pastor dad would have caused a major scene if he ever knew I got pregnant out of wedlock. 

Dunni*, 32

I got a two-week suspension for “bullying my juniors” when I was in SS 2. My mum got to school and was furious as hell. She actually instructed the teachers to discipline me before we left the school. On the drive home, she went on and on about how my dad would finish me. To my surprise, she took me to my grandparents to wait out my suspension and constantly visited to put me in check. The day we returned to school, she told me my dad wasn’t aware and I shouldn’t tell him. I don’t know if she kept the secret for my sake or hers, but I was glad nobody else knew.

Rahman*, 25

We travelled to my village for sallah some years back, and I was under so much pressure to come back with meat for my friends. My grandpa killed a separate cow for himself, and kept the fried meat in a big basin under his bed. The room was always locked, but he allowed me to enter because I was the youngest in the house. Anytime I entered, I would take two or three pieces of meat. This went on for a while until my grandpa noticed. He went haywire on my aunts and uncles for pilfering his meat. His outburst kept everyone on edge and almost ruined the sallah mood. When my mum found my stash of the pilfered meat, she was mad and made me return them. But that was it, she didn’t tell on me. 

Bisi*, 26

My mum came to clean my room and found a condom and dildo in my wardrobe. Apparently, my clothes were scattered, and she wanted to fold them for me. I got back home, and immediately I saw how well arranged my room was, I checked my wardrobe and both items were gone. I didn’t bother asking her, and she didn’t mention it for weeks. Finally one day, she said something about not bringing “foolish things” inside the house. I knew what she meant. And that was the last of it.

Read this next: 6 Special Ways To Celebrate Your Mother



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