The Reality Of Being Called “Ma”

You know they say “age  is nothing but a number”. A phrase/ sentence  I believe in vehemently. I’m someone whose lifestyle really didn’t change much between my 20s’ and 30s’. I’m currently in my 30s’ and I know I can still pull off some crazy hairdo, dance some steps, keep up with the teenagers’ slangs  and dance steps….Okay Okay, I’m pushing my luck too far in these but I know I’m still a girl at heart. Imagine being in this headspace and suddenly you hear someone call you ‘Ma’ and it’s from someone who could be in their late  20s or more.

Early this year, when I was in Nigeria. I had to renew my International passport. I was told to go to Bayelsa  to get it done. So off I went to Bayelsa.  After a long day of waiting, I got it. In  course of waiting, I had a ‘space buddy’, you know those people you just bond with so they keep your space. She seem nice and dressed in a body hugging top and jeans, nails done, hair done, lashes on fleek. She had her  turn immediately before mine. After we were done, I saw her ahead, looking confused and trying to get directions to the car park that had cars going to Port Harcourt. She stopped to ask two middle-aged men. As one tried to describe, the other one looked at her in a  lustful  manner and I think, wanted to offer her a ride. So I cut in and say, “She’s with me, I’m going to the Park”. She felt a bit relieved. We took the available Taxi to the park. On reaching the Park, I wanted to board a taxi to Port Harcourt while she wanted a bus, so I paid part of her fare and got her lunch at Kilimanjaro fast food place since I was getting for myself. She was very grateful and we exchanged numbers. I didn’t see any big deal, I just felt she was a younger sister I was helping knowing she’s on her way back to her University campus, (and I graduated from the University like *counting* 7…8…10 plus years agooooo? Jesus is Lord! I’m old oh!) Before I knew it, she was trying to get my attention while we were at the Park, and the next thing I heard was, “Ma!….Ma!…Mommy!” *insert LP scratch*

Did I hear well? She came closer and said “Mommy…”, she said what she wanted to say and I went into the taxi. Couldn’t wait to use the rear view mirror to know if I automatically grew grey hair for her to call me that. I didn’t see any wrinkle. My hair was as cool as hers. I had jeans on like her. I had a cool top too. My makeup was almost on fleek(Bayelsa Sun couldn’t let me great), my nails were done nicely …. so where did that “Ma” come from? She took it up a notch to even call me ‘Mommy?!”. She still addresses me that way when we chat. A part of me wants to tell her, ‘I’m just a girl like you’. Obviously she’s in her 20s’ and I’m in my 30s’ but am I wrong to feel old whenever I’m being called “Ma”?

A lot of women like to be shown respect. Especially with titles. Some will agree that you have to call them  “Ma/ Mommy/ Aunty Funke/ Sisi Dami/ …..”, you know where I’m going with this. While some of these sound cool, some women take offence being called Ma, especially if it’s said by an older person because it makes one feel old.

I know whenever I go to the movies, I’m not that girl with a gang of girlfriends or boyfriend(s), with cropped tops and belly piercings but I know I’m such a child at heart, or should I say a teen at heart. Bottom line, I don’t like being called ‘Ma’ especially if you’re in your 30s or almost there. I think a formal name should be used and if you don’t know me and you are trying to get my attention, you can say ‘Madam’ but that ‘Ma’ just makes one feel like their ovaries have escaped to be with the Lord. I know some women who would kill to be called ‘Ma’ and revered and called ‘Mommy’ even by people older but to each her own. As for me….Mbanu!

Ever felt you are still young but people give you an overwhelming ‘respect’ with a Title ‘Ma/ Ma’am’ that just seem ambiguous when all you wanna do is be cool?

Do you like being called ‘Ma’ at a relatively young age and why?

What title would you rather they address you with?

First name basis?

“Mrs….” basis?



“Hey You!”

“Sweet girl!”

“Honey!”- They call ladies this a lot in Grenada and in my mind I just say “Your Fadaaa”

“Pssssst!”- Most annoying and rude!

For those who love being called Ma, what age gap do you permit to let this happen? Ladies get in here!




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  • Reply
    October 13, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Hahaha I can totally relate to this. I remember being on the train about 7 years ago and a little girl was playing with my braids. I didn’t mimd to be honest but as soon as her mom noticed she said ‘Heather can you please not do that to the nice woman’s hair?’
    Chai! I felt so sad inside. In my mind I wondered why she referred to me as a woman. I had my uni hoodie on with jeans and sneakers feeling like a baby geh only to be addressed as a woman. ?? God dey sha!?

    • Reply
      October 13, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      Hahaha@ baby geh.I totally can relate.

  • Reply
    November 24, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Hello Ma!
    Initially it was a shock and kinda annoying when people started referring to me as Ma and Aunty…but with time I’m used to it now and not that bothered. Our naija society has that title ‘respek’ thingy.
    Hey you, sweet girl, are complete no’s..especially from random folks. But my petite belle bod sometimes deceive people into thinking she’s a lirru girl.

    • Reply
      November 24, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      Hahaha. I see what you did there at the beginning. We know we are getting older but they should please spare us the pointers

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