I remember when growing up with my parents how my step mother always shouted at every little thing that irked or was close to offending her. I used to mumble to myself ‘why is this woman always shouting sef?’ I thought it was one of her many mean characteristics-(she had very few good sides, though). My step mother would yell, shout and cuss at almost every wrong step you made. Should she wake up before you, her screams would practically throw you out of bed before she got to your room door. Sometimes when she chose not to shout (which was a rare occurrence), she made sure objects around the house did the shouting for her-e.g. doors slamming, dropping objects on the table with a very loud bang or pots falling off the shelf in kitchen…that was enough to wake you up from whatever deep slumber you were in. When I started going on holidays at my aunts and uncles, I thought I escaped shouting from my father’s house. I was in for a shocker. I was only welcomed to another round of shouting only this time cussing was excluded. Seriously, one would think all mothers went for a special course on shouting.
After I got married, before I started having children, my neighbours (the wives) who had children were professional shouters. I would hear raised voices followed by threats of severe beatings which most times were actually carried out. When I was at my hair stylist and her children were around, my goodness! Iya Aisha made shouting seem like the air she breathed. She didn’t just shout; whilst making my hair, she’d with one hand holding (scratch that) pulling my hair and the other hand landing a dirty slap on any unfortunate child of hers that was close by whether they were guilty or not of whatever offense they committed.
It wasn’t until when I started having children that I realized nobody, I mean NOBODY, had to teach me to shout. When I had my first child, I wasn’t much of a shouter; I only had to say ‘Stop!’ Or ‘No!’ to my toddler son and he’d heed. But when his sister came along and she grew to the age they both could run around, communicate and play “unsupervised” I automatically switched from a careful talker to a professional shouter. Sometimes when I shout, my son would shriek in some weird excitement like ‘she’s started again’ and runs for shelter while my daughter just stares at me with the sad pussy cat eyes as if saying ‘what did I ever do wrong to deserve such shouts?’
The encouraging side of this all is that shouting isn’t limited to mothers in the home. Women in leadership positions tend to exhibit that trait even at work too- (I have worked with three on different occasions, so I have first-hand experience). When communities want to express their displeasure with government, it’s the women who come out wailing. See the BBGO protesters (Shouters) are mostly women. It’s as if women are wired to be the alarm/siren of this world-especially in Africa. But if you look beyond the surface, it’s not really a bad thing-it’s actually normal. It’s just our way of raising the red flag, the warning signal- “Stop! Do Not Go Further! That’s About Enough!”
The bad side to it though is that when shouting, if not careful, we could go overboard. When my shouting is going overboard, I have a cue prompter telling when to stop. My son. I recall scolding my niece for something she did wrong and I went on and on and on until my son came and whispered in my ear, “mommy, that’s ok”. I scolded him away (out of shame, of course) but that was my cue to stop my needless ramblings. It’s good we shout at times but we also need to have someone to pull us back when that shouting is going overboard.
So, sister, when you find yourself shouting at any wrong move or offense by anyone (children not excluded), please do not panic-you are still very much sane; just don’t let it go overboard.