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My experience is about my mum who claimed to be a man, and how we especially me, grew up with a frustrating mentality of her actions, that made my sister lose her marriage.

Back then I was just nine years old, and the first in a family of four. Mum was a business woman selling bags of garri out of a capital dad gave her while he was working at the defunct Marketing Board.

According to what dad told us and what I saw, he added mum's capital whenever he could and provided for us and everything that kept the family going until Marketing Board closed its doors, and they paid dad some small money which he used to complete our house and added mum's capital.

She supplied bags of garri to many women, and since dad was no longer working, he gave her all the support she needed. He pushed heavy bags of garri in a truck, loaded and off loaded, just to help mum who had now become ALL BOSSY because her business had become the source of our daily living.

She started despising dad. Talking to him anyhow infront of everyone. There were times she called him by his name Evaristus as a house boy infront of her clients, and ordered him to bring out the bags of garri the customer ordered for from the store just to humiliate him.

She made friends with some high class women and bought dresses only for herself and at times us, neglecting dad, who had started farming to support her. Dad took care of mum when he was working. She wore good George wrappers with costly jewelries.

Mum became insultive, especially during school time when she had to pay for our fees. She made dad felt useless. I remember one school year when she was busy and dad suggested she gives him our fees so he can go and pay. I haven't been able to forgive mum for what she told dad till date.

She reminded him that he was not man enough to speak when it comes to money, because he was just a woman in the house and that the earlier he starts cooking and cleaning the house for her, the better for him.

Thatcher, I saw how much mum loved to humiliate dad, until he could take it no more. He relocated to the village when mum refused to share his bed like before, and died two years after. While he was at the village he visited us after every three months with food stuffs. When he brought small money, mum will ask him to give it to me, and she will later collect it with humiliating slangs.

After dad's burial, I refused to go back with mum because she was the one who frustrated dad and sent him to his early grave. I can't tell whether he committed suicide, but he went back to his father's compound and joined his brothers to work on their family cocoa farm. We were told that he came back from the farm as usual that faithful Wednesday and did not wake up on Thursday morning till date.

Mum buried him in a sophisticated coffin and did a grandiose funeral, whereas all those things could not bring dad back. All he needed was just an understanding and loving wife to stand with him during those trying moments.

I was forced to go back with her even though I didn't want to, but I had no choice.

She started taking praises for haven buried her husband with honour and together with some of her friends, she developed more wings.

She wanted to prove tough she enrolled us in good schools and was snubbing some married women around us who were not as financially powerful as she was. She disrespected people saying she was better than 1000 men, until they named her 'Mami 1000 men'.

She was WRONG trying to compare with men, until my kid sister Bea got married and tried to ride over her husband like mum did to dad, but her husband threw her out and married a humbler girl. Mum took her police attitude to go and threaten her husband, but Uncle Bernard put her in her place and today Bea and mum are cats and dogs, because she followed mum's instructions and tried to take the place of a man in Uncle Bernard's house, where he threw her out without hesitation. I thought I would never get married because I was my mother's daughter. Her attitude was being condemned everywhere.

God blessed me with a man who loves me. Personally, I earn more than my husband and I hide behind him as a wife and let him carry out projects for our family though I finance most of the projects.

My husband was plagued with hardship about three years ago, but I refused to be like my mum and stood by him, giving him every necessary support, until he picked up a small job. I have never for once humiliated my husband and I have told my mum not to intrude into my marriage because she is an example of a VERY BAD WIFE and MOTHER.

The fact that you a woman who has been financially blessed by the man you are married to, or the one who impregnated you, does not make you a man.

I know people would want to know what has become of my mum. Yes she started dating younger men and even shamelessly got pregnant for one of them and the child is 11 years today. She has come of age. Business collapsed. She now has a small table infront of the house where she sells small things.

She and my sister Bea are cats and dogs. My other two siblings I took them away from mum's intoxication and gave them my own education on the realities of life. She should be regretting now, though pride cannot let her speak out.

My advice to women is that behind every successful man, there is a strong woman. Being a strong woman doesn't or shouldn't make you think you are a man. Just because you can support your family shouldn't make you despise a man.

Thank you.
I hope my story helps someone out there to think and act right.
Sandra Chukwu
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