You Know You're an African Mother When

Motherhood unites us in so many ways, no matter where we come from. There are 54 different countries in Africa, with a myriad of different cultures, tribes and languages. Despite the incredible diversity on the African continent, there are many traits of motherhood that are universal among mothers across Africa.

You know you’re an African mother when…

  • …the temperature dips below 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit), and you dress your kids in 10 layers of clothing to protect them from the “cold.”
  • …your baby’s first solid food is porridge (uji).
  • …you find yourself giving your kids “THE LOOK,” which your own mum used to give you when you were misbehaving in public.
  • …you refuse to give your child anything cold to eat, and will heat everything from apple juice, to milk, to watermelon, to ice cream (!) before serving it to your child.
  • …when your child has a loose tooth, you take them to the dentist to have the tooth pulled, else the new tooth will come in crooked.
  • …you send your children off for an extended visit at your parents’ house in the village for at least one of their school breaks each year.
  • …you are no longer known by your own name, but rather by your first-born child’s name – for example Mama Mya.
  • …you are willing to make endless sacrifices for your child, to ensure they have food in their bellies, a roof over their head, and their school fees paid.
  • …breastfeeding in public is the absolute norm, and carrying your child on your back is a way of life.
  • …you bring home cake or treats for your children, wrapped up in napkins, any time you go to a party or event.

Thanks to all the mamas who contributed ideas for this post about motherhood! This was a collaborative post, bringing together ideas from mamas throughout Africa. Asanteni!

Do these motherhood traits speak to you? Are they universal to mothers, even outside Africa?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tara Wambugu. Follow Tara and her family’s adventures on her blog, Mama Mgeni, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Frank Douwes / Flickr.

Tara Wambugu

Tara Wambugu is a wife, a mother of two, and a Kenya-based lifestyle blogger covering parenting, family life, travel, and more. A former aid worker, Tara has worked in various countries in Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and Central America. She is now a stay-at-home mom living in Nairobi with her husband and their two sassy little girls. You can follow Tara and her family’s adventures on her blog, Mama Mgeni.

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