Dear Mother

girl staring in fire
girl staring in fire

Dear Mother,


I hate cooking.


You know it never came naturally to me. I’ve always had to write down your recipes because I never really understood the entire concept of cooking. At first, I worried that maybe there was something wrong with me, I mean, every ‘normal’ girl should know how to cook, right? Well not anymore. Now I realize that not every female is born with the cooking gene and it is okay for one to be a girl and not like cooking or even not know how to cook. Surely there’s more to me than knocking up a good meal, and cleaning up afterwards. Oh by the way, I absolutely hate doing the dishes.

I know you would like for me to be just like you–the good wife. I grew up wanting the same thing without knowing why; not until recently did I start to question it, after my eyes opened to the harsh realities of being a ‘good’ wife. I see how eager you are to please Dad (his sense of entitlement infuriates me). I feel like you’ve been stripped of your sense of individuality and I’m scared of the same thing happening to me–when and if I ever get married.

You easily frustrate me with all your talk of what a girl should do and what not to do, what she should wear and what not to wear, how she should walk, talk, and how not … the list is endless! Why, I have to ask, is it unspeakable for a woman to say she doesn’t like to cook? Why does society frown at any man who indicates interests in cooking? And as for society, does she realize that she is ruining lives, killing dreams?

Did I ever tell you, Mother, I am glad to be born in the twenty-first century; because I suspect that dad might not have allowed me the privilege of schooling had I been born earlier. He would have surely condemned me to the kitchen, and you would have said nothing to change his mind. I will not end up in any man’s kitchen; there are things to do and places to go, a whole world out there waiting to be explored!

For the other mothers reading this, please give your daughters wings. Do not forget that their humanity comes first, before their gender, and that alone entitles them to live their lives the way they want. A woman’s place is not behind her husband but anywhere she wants it to be. Don’t tell me what ‘the culture’ says; culture doesn’t make us. We make culture.

I don’t want to be like you, Mother. I’d like to be myself—an improved version of you and of all the mothers worldwide who have failed their daughters and in doing so, failed themselves. I love you, Mother, I really do, but I don’t want to be like you. Ever.


With love,

Your daughter-who-hates-cooking


By Obayanju Morinsola, a very opinionated young girl who strongly believes that there is more to being female than “cooking, cleaning and making babies.”


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19 replies added

  1. Thia July 29, 2016 Reply

    I’m officially obsessed with this writer… I don’t know you but daaaaamnn you are good. You took the words right of my mouth (except that I like cooking) but really why should people judge?? Just this week I tried am ice cream recipe and was so excited to share the pictures online and the next question I got was “it’s not by ice-cream ooh, hope you can make semo???” – I can make semo but I don’t like semo, I can’t eat it, my mom just taught me in case my husband likes it. In any case I choose to see the good in it, I mean cooking can be a side hustle. Your article is timely in this season when women are breaking glass ceilings and aiming for the sky… I’m sure that if Hillary spent her entire life in the kitchen, she wouldn’t be where she is now. If I get married, just as you said it has to be to someone who can cook or is at least willing to learn how to cook. So thank you… Officially, probably your elder sister.

  2. Chizzy July 29, 2016 Reply

    What a lovely way to start the day..

    “His sense of entitlement infuriates me” beautiful..

    Dear Writer you were so on point with this.. and Thia, I love your comment.

    I love to cook ( though I hate doing dishes). However, I hate ogbono/Okro but I had to learn to cook them because ‘woe betide thee if you marry a man that loves the soup and you can’t make it’..

    Culture is what we say it is..

  3. Thia July 29, 2016 Reply

    Thank you Chizzy, “culture is what we say it is”. Let me however talk on something I left out, everyone should know how to cook for themselves just as everyone should know how to wash themselves. It’s a survival skill, “the act of nourishing oneself with what one likes” but we should do it for the right reasons. Not because of we want our lives to end up in the kitchen or because we want to impress somebody, okay maybe it’s necessary to impress some class of people, like a foreign client who wants a taste of Nigerian cuisine before signing that deal, if you know what I mean… Lol. And yeah Chizzy I hate washing dishes too and going to the market…

    • Chisom July 29, 2016 Reply

      Hahaha. I knew Morinsola would find ‘family’ here on WAW with this piece. First of all, beautiful writing. Please do more.

      Now my opinion: I’m a man and I don’t like cooking. I can cook (I don’t even know how anybody can NOT cook in this cyber age with recipes all over the internet) but I don’t like to cook, and so I would very much appreciate it if the woman I marry LOVES to cook. Of course she should know how to or be willing to learn at least, because as Thia pointed out, it’s a basic human survival skill, but I would count it a blessing–not a given or an entitlement–if she actually likes to do it. I would appreciate by maybe doing the dishes (when I can’t escape and forcing myself into the kitchen to cook an occasional meal (God help us eat it.smh) Also, we can always hire help or order out, I mean there is a reason these alternatives exist. But that’s the key word–alternative. Because my first preference would be to eat good food cooked by the woman I love.

      • Thia July 29, 2016 Reply

        Chisom .. Shey you know you are husband material??

        • Chisom July 29, 2016 Reply

          Hehehe *dancing husbandly etighi* 🙂

  4. Ekene July 29, 2016 Reply

    Oh well. I’m glad av met other people that hate cooking . But I’d rather cook than do the dishes! Yep I said it…….. Great work Thia

  5. MamaIce July 29, 2016 Reply

    Well, nice piece. But in not wanting to be judged, you judge. No body is meant to be stuck in the kitchen and nobody is meant to be stuck up outside the kitchen ( like thia has rightly said, cooking is a survival instinct). A woman’s place is certainly not behind the husband but by his side, not every woman is meant to be married by the the way, but I assure you that being married and independent super flying woman don’t always work out best. Imagine you didn’t have mummy make your favourite meal or teach u anything, because she was too busy working to get that promotion or stays out late working hard on the success of that business.
    There is nothing wrong with the woman that decides to stay in the background and make her home,feed those hungry tummies, do the dishes, pray for her family, support her husband, as long as it makes her happy. That is success to her. There is also nothing wrong with the woman that wants to fly high.
    But on the other side, there is something wrong with the woman that wants to battle in he field of men, who clamour for equality but still want to be treated specially. Nope, it aint meant to work like that. There is no lady in the battle field.

    • Chizzy July 29, 2016 Reply

      Nice one…
      Indeed there is no lady in the battle field.

      Permit me to talk about my mum.. She is someone I want to be like.. I am not up to half of what she is. She got to the peak of her career and is still breaking new barriers.

      Her M.Eng and PhD was done as a married woman. How she attained the balance is what I desire.

      I believe we can create that balance. The dynamics might have changed because we work longer hours and all that. But there will always be a system that works.

      That is where the author is coming from. Life is all about balance. Find out what works for you and follow through.

    • Chisom July 30, 2016 Reply

      I agree with you, Janey. Completely. Key take-away for me is ‘to thine ownself first, be true, then to others’

  6. femaleigboarchitect July 29, 2016 Reply

    Ooh LA LA! I must comment! Another piece has brought Thia and I together. Nne biko share this to igbo “men” ooo. Me I like cooking o, bet I am not all those food network type of people. Lol.
    During my B.Sc days, some guys used to ask one very infuriating question. “Ify, howfar. ..u cook?” ” yes o, I cook beans” ” oya nau make we come chop na”
    Even when you are not their mother or wife, you have this responsibility hanging above ur head to cook and feed them. My dear, biko cooking does not keep a man. A man who wants to stay will stay. Don’t get it twisted.
    Besides, not all these “men” are actual Men. Some just carry the name around like chieftancy titles.
    But on a lighter note nne, if yu don’t like cooking, how will u feed na? you haff to like it o, in emergency cases wen account is red and u suddenly realise that u hv raw rice in ya kitchen.

    • JayChioma July 29, 2016 Reply

      Smh…I knew she’d show up.

      …and this piece, its awesome. Me I like to cook o…just not everyday. I’d rather cook in bulk and freeze. So if Bobo feels like he’s entitled to fresh meals everyday and won’t eat frozen food, then Sorry Bobo. It haf be for you. I cannot epp you there.

      Bhet eh, I just have to ask: Who uses the dislike button on a post like this? An awesome post like this one?

      • Chisom July 30, 2016 Reply

        LOL @ I knew she’d show up. All of you know yasef! smh

  7. JayChioma July 29, 2016 Reply

    And Oh,I’ve missed WAW. Like madt. Chisom, Chizzy, Thia, Debbie, Yemie…practically everyone.

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