DEEVA PROSE: The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe


“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

She had so many children; she didn’t know what to do.

She made them some broth without any bread,

And whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed.”

Do you remember this famous kindergarten poem? I remember back then after reciting the poem, I’d wonder why the woman had to live in a shoe. Why would she whip her children and even so; very soundly? I didn’t like the old woman very much. Not that I knew her. I just thought she wasn’t a very nice mother who probably was also crazy.

Fast forward thirty four years after, with five kids and trying to get my career and life back on track; I’ve come to know this ‘old woman’ very well. I now know for a fact she wasn’t old or unkind or crazy. I know this because I and every woman struggling to win the ‘supermom’ trophy have at one time or the other; become that ‘old woman’. We’ve been in her shoe-excuse the pun.

It’s weekend and the kids are all at home. I’ve got two teenagers, one six-year old, one toddler and a three-month old baby boy who sucks on me every half hour or less. I’m down with the flu. I’ve just fed the baby and I put him to sleep. I settle down to a nice cup of tea.

Then I hear a loud noise coming from the kids’ room. My toddler has bumped her head hard on the wall; flung by her teenage brother. She’s howling her eyes out.  The noise has woken the baby up and he’s crying too. I pick both of them in my arms; cooing at the baby and pacifying the toddler.

Just as things seem to quiet down, my six year old who believes she’s a diva walks in all dressed up and screeching Beyonce’s ‘Who run the world, girls!’ I tell her to quiet down.

Barely five minutes later, is she banging the door of her room, yelling at her teenage sister to let her in. So much for enjoying my nice cup of tea!

Like any typical Nigerian middle class family, we live in a three-bedroom flat with barely enough room for all of us. You have to practically be on your toes every second if you must win the war against clutter. Every day starts and ends with me cleaning and re-cleaning up after the kids, doing laundry, cooking, supervising the re-washing of dishes because they were not properly done the first time by my teenagers. More so, it starts and ends with you begging or yelling: “Stop this!” or “Stop that!”

If you can’t pull yourself together, everyday for you will become a bad hair’s day. If you once  loved to doll up and stay at home; you may be tempted to waive it. What’s the use? You’ll end up smelling of baby puke anyway. Perfume makers should think of making a fragrance called ‘vanilla baby puke’. It would save mothers all the stress. They’d just slather some on and never be bothered.

Most frustrating is having a large family in a big city; the financing. Your brain is constantly spinning 360 degrees. You’re thinking of how to save up to pay the next house rent and how to pay the exorbitant school fees bearing in mind that both the rent and fees keep increasing.

OLD WOMAN-SHOE-1The children can’t do without their cereals and beverages. If it were me alone, I could drink garri and be content; but they need to eat the best. In the midst of these tensions, the kids are cooking up a storm. So I get my whip. Then I suddenly remembered…

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…”

“So this is what was driving her crazy?” I chuckled. She wasn’t living in an actual shoe. She found herself  in a stifling situation. I must certainly look old and crazy to my kids now, with rollers in my hair, no makeup on, drab clothes and a terrible temper. I suspect one of those naughty kids had written that poem about their mom. So I put my whip down.

Whenever you see a well-dressed mom who has two or more children; career woman or not, know that she isn’t only a hot mom; she’s a super mom.

If you also happen to see a mom with a nasty mien, don’t go writing silly poems about her. Appreciate the fact that she is on her way to becoming a supermom.


Article Written By: Peace Ben Williams.

No part of this article should be copied or published without the permission of the author.

The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe ©2013

©Peace Ben Williams Blog. All rights reserved.


About admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *