You Look Like A Mother (Unakaa Mama)

I was devastated when my younger sister stopped wetting the bed at 18 months. She still had time before expectations started pouring in from society. I was eight then, and it wasn’t delightful. I feared that my mother would take the loudest microphone and announce to the whole village that I had a problem, I waited for that day, but it never came.

My Emotional Journey of Bedwetting

However, she would ensure that she washed me every morning instead of the evening as it was the custom, so that I wouldn’t go to school with the stench. During the day she would hang the blankets outside and wash my bedsheets.

To tell you that I never slept on the same sheet twice; talk of being active. I used to know some friends who also wetted the bed, but none came to find out about my little secret with mum. She never let it out. I finally stopped wetting the bed.

Mum did not take me through the trauma that the other kids my age or younger were being taken through; from missing the evening tea to peeing on safari ants to licking a pinch of salt before sleeping. I would spell love as MOTHER and be right.

The Insult of Being Told “You Look Like a Mother”

If you want a lady to make you her mortal enemy, use the statement… ‘unakaa mama’ (you look like a mother) there, and then you will win for yourself an enemy. You need not decode the statement for her because, in the back of her mind.

However, she knows it is not valid. She envisions that as some lazy woman seated on her couch with a leso around her waist and a turban on her head with a house too dirty to stay in. we know that is not true. However, young ladies still don’t want to be associated with motherhood until it is time, so don’t say the Word.

Society’s Expectations and Embarrassment

Tell a man, he looks like a father, and I promise you that there will be a grin on his face. He’ll even blush as he will take it as a compliment. Men take pride in aging; women would kill you if you said their age loudly, especially if it’s the third floor (thirty-something).

Why would a young lady take being told that she looks like a mother as an insult? It is because even the person stating those words didn’t mean them as a compliment. He didn’t mean it as, “oh dear, you’re such a mother.” She knows that it is an insult. It is intended to hurt her, to change her, but change her to what exactly, motherhood is inevitable.

Understanding the True Meaning of Motherhood

If the statement Mother was only to be defined in those terms by the younger women, then we are shallow and have diluted the Word’s very meaning. Then we have an identity crisis of sorts. We have yet to fathom what motherhood entails. It is not just the turban on the head and a big baby on the back. It is not just breastfeeding out in the open. The baby gets hungry any time, anyways.

It is more than just carrying too much luggage in the fourteen-seater matatu; you are forced to share that seat with some of her kids. I mean, there’s that and then some. It is taking the baby who has soiled on herself from daddy and cleaning her

Then, it has the sensitivity to hear even the softest groans of the baby and decode what the groan means. It is sucking off the mucus from a child that cannot breathe (yuck). It is rubbing the baby’s hurting tummy only to be thanked with some puke and hugging the child.

The Love and Care of a Mother

You Look Like A Mother (Unakaa Mama)

Being a mother is having the patience to potty train a child until he gets it. It is spanking the child enough to let them know they are wrong, but hugging them even tighter never doubts your love for them. It has your night disturbed as you have to watch on the baby. It has that sixth sense and intuition that is never wrong. It has to put up with a moody teenager who yells that you don’t love her while you’ve taken her from the best salon, huh? Tough love, indeed. It is half asleep and half awake.

A mother takes you in when the world concludes you are a failure. It is checking up on you and echoing Mutahi Kagwe’s words about COVID-19, even if you are forty-five. It is praying for you when the world has taken you captive. It is taking loans from chamas to settle the debt you got into even though she warned you about it.

The Many Facets of Being a Mother

Being a mother is waking up earliest than everyone else and sleeping late. Being a mother entails preparing everyone on Sunday morning and ending up being the latest to get to church. It has to sit at the closest exit in church and other gatherings for you to be available for all, including daddy. It has to know where everyone’s everything is, including the socks in the next room.

She may doze off during most of the preaching at church, and some might chuckle, but in a real sense, she’s living the Word at home than most of those taking the notes. She is practicing it as a doctor who practices on her patients. She might have had one bad day when her body decided it needed rest, and maybe that is when you found her all messed up on the couch, but we all have our bad days.

Every creature is God’s workmanship and has some aspect of the nature of God to show the world. A mother represents her master as one who will never leave, always embracing us no matter how “soiled” we are. She represents a God who loves you unconditionally and is sensitive to our midnight groans. She represents a God who will not go out to humiliate us when we “wet the bed” but will help us work it out.

I love how she puts out God to be. It is high time that ladies took up being told that they look motherly as a good thing. It is high time that even those that use that statement mean it as a compliment other than something to make us ashamed of.

In Conclusion

While we are trying so hard to erase any outward look that would make someone say that, unakaa mama, let’s ensure that the inward nature is not eroded, the world needs her. Whether it has become cliché or not, my role model is my mother. And we better redefine what we mean the next time we tell that lady, “UNAKAA MAMA.”

Comments 48
      1. Awesome I like it it’s an very good inspiration ,wisdom may you keep shinning in this.

  1. This is one of the best articles that have ever come across,a well informed blogger you are. You’ve point out all that our mothers do at home. Mum’s are the Best

  2. It’s an amazing read dear…So much insight.. thanks for the awakening.

  3. I have read it twice actually, and i think I should still redo it. It is amazing and speaks the bitter truth. It is a MUST READ piece for everyone. More blessings as you make an impact in the world.

  4. This is a masterpiece. The strength in mothers to do the much they do and never complain or wear a face to suggest hate is admirable. Thank you for sharing such collected thoughts.

    1. The thought that you’d be in such shoes in the near future is just amazing… May we not disappoint the name

  5. This is very real reality of who our mums have been. It’s so easy to forget this facts and favors our mothers gave throughout their Lives. Especially in a society that is constantly dishonoring the sacrifice of being mothers. God bless you for sharing this

    1. The best spelling of love should be
      A Wonderful piece indeed!

  6. Never disappoints, I couldn’t agree more with the truth here, being a mother (or father) is a responsibility that in my opinion is unrivaled. We ought to regard it as high as it actually is.

    1. Wow.. how mothers protect the dignity of their little “bedwetting” babes and truly our Father clothes us with dignity … Being motherly is actually admirable …. Nice piece Sifa

  7. This is amazing Sifa. I like it. May God add unto you more wisdom and open doors.

  8. Profoundly written by a super gifted and wise lady. You are a gift to this generation Charity. More Grace in your ministry

  9. This is profound!! I have read the article & I love it. The thoughts are well put together & very informative. “Unakaa mama” statement is real, & hoping to use it in it’s right context & perspective.

    Waiting for more of this! Keep it up Sifa.


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