When I was growing up, there were commissions and omissions that you would never have witnessed from a parent to his/her child. For example, you would rarely see mama cuddle and “pet” a child with more than 8 teeth in his mouth. This did not in any way mean that the African mother – I refer to the African mother because the African father is an entirely different parent species that cannot be mixed in a discussion with the African mother lest we make monsters out of our “beloving“, ” beloved” African fathers. The trend has changed now and the children of those African mothers have evolved into dis/interestingly queer, contemporary African “mothers” who do not mind wearing mother’s tops that reveal the heartbeat and umbilical cord of a fetus during pregnancy and place a sticker of “baby-on-board” on the stretchy tummy. I shall attempt to address this queerness in this write-up.
My lady friend and I are busy shopping inside one of the supermarkets. As we are busily engrossed in checking out products and engaging in the usual window- and shelf-shopping chitchat, we hear a woman’s voice, “Junior, what do you want now?” We look up and see this contemporary mother with her, we thought,son. You may wonder how we could tell she is contemporary. Well, it is easy because we know our mothers! But just in case you are wondering what the traits of the contemporary Kenyan mother are, let me indulge you.
A contemporary Kenyan mother will normally be identified at first sight based on her dress code. She is the Kilimani definition of “my dress my choice”, which, of course, translates to, “my semi-nudity, your eye candy”. You see, she will normally be exposing her mammary glands through the depths of the cleavage of her sleeveless, bare-back, strapped, one-shoulder top. One look at that cleavage and you know that she has a dream of breastfeeding the entire 6 continents exclusively for six months on behalf of the World Health Organization. She doesn’t need skirts because those ones will often have bacteria in matatus get to areas where canonical, Shariah, episcopal and Pentecostal distances are meant to be maintained. But she will not be in trousers either… She is likely adorning a Nano-skirt from where her translucent tights protrude up to the tibia. Those tights have a tendency to dangle precariously from her belly button and baby tummy. Thus, you will likely hear several “tap! tap!” as she slaps her body-suited tummy in an attempt to raise the tights higher – they almost always sag after every 150-metre walk. Her shoes will be those ones where toes are literally peeping out like Kamîtî prisoners during visiting hours. She, of course, believes that bras et al were Catholic dogma and she is a free bird this one. She has two phones outside her handbag and will occasionally change voices like an Amazonian parrot as she receives phone calls after smiling sheepishly to herself about an IG post by one Shikwekwe or her Shock.
So, the contemporary mother in the supermarket goes on, “I have bought you sneakers, Spiderman™ boots, Toughees™ and sketchers, and you still can’t choose!?” My lady friend and I smile at each other because we know that this message is not meant as much for Junior as it is for us. “Last month it was a car, now you have three scooters and you still want another bike…?” Contemporary mother goes on as she “tap! tap!s her tights’ waistline” We are fascinated by Junior’s stare into oblivion that is almost spelling out, “mooooooom! Why do you keep doing that…?” When we excuse ourselves to pass, contemporary mooooom goes on, “Do you think waking up every day to go to the UN from here so that you can go to an international school is an easy thing…? Huh? We!”
In that short moment that lasted about 3 minutes, we knew more than we cared about contemporary mom and I think she was happy we did. I say this because immediately we walked past them, I overheard contemporary mom calling Junior babaa and telling him that she had a bad half-day at work. Junior was now, all over a sudden, entitled to picking anything from the shelves. We were done with the episode, or so I thought…
After we got the stuff we needed from the first floor, we proceeded to the cosmetics and girl-stuff section. This is where Junior would settle scores with his contemporary mom. As the mum was busy lost between Kortex™ and Always™ Ultra, Junior shouted, “Mum… muuuuuum!” As Contemporary Mom emoji-rolled her eyes to look down at Junior, my day was made. Junior was holding a packet of Kortex™ to his nose before telling Contemporary Mom, “Mmmm…. smells niiiiiiice…” The obviously-exasperated Contemporary Mom shouted beneath her breath, “Juniooooooor…” Her long Medusa-like multi-colored nails over her Duracoat™ painted lips, “What are you doing…?” She grabbed the box of Kortex™ from Junior in sheer detest. Junior wasn’t done yet, “Whaaat…? Last time you said that this one smells really nice and it is good because you don’t have to bathe everyday… Passport na kacolgne tu and you are good to go!” “Shhhhhh…” Contemporary mom fails miserably at silencing a vengeful Junior who utters, “You also said it is budget-friendly and it is your big size…” The sinner in me wanted to “Pwahahahahaha… haha… ha!” in Contemporary Mom’s face, but I figured this could easily turn into a battle of the sexes and she might be Queer or Questioning – then I wouldn’t know what hit me. After all, Junior had done more than enough to fight for restoration of the rightful place for the boyshaod (boy child).
It definitely is your right to brag and show off, but if you are going to be a showoff contemporary mom, just don’t do it with Junior as the tool of trade in a supermarket.