What Your Mother Didn’t Tell You (Part 1)
By Noeline Kirabo
Have you ever wondered why your mother didn’t tell you about certain realities of life?
Well you are not alone because many of us have had similar thoughts sometimes.
A mother’s ambition is to prepare her child to thrive in life and they set out to accomplish this from the day their child is born: from teaching them how to walk, how to be strong, how to fight bullies, how to eat up all their vegetables, and the list could go on and on. Universally, mothers take extra care and attention in raising their girls because they know that the journey ahead of them is going to be filled with diverse challenges which they must be ready to overcome.
Every mother is unique in their parenting style; however, most of them mean well. In case you’re wondering why I said most, it’s because not every mother is ready for the role – but we love and appreciate them all the same. We are because they gave their lives so we could see the light of day.
As a child, there are many things that I was forced to do, certain tasks because my mother insisted it was for my good. There were days I doubted her parenting skills but I didn’t have much of a choice as long as I was staying under her roof. I had my own reservations and looking back as an adult, I realise that all she did was to prepare me to handle life’s challenges. My mother, like many other mothers, shared valuable lessons, skills and wisdom with us as we grew up. At some point as a teenager I felt ready to face the world on my own, but I was actually far from understanding what life was all about.
Fast forward to life as an adult and I realise that there is a lot my mother didn’t tell me. If you were born in the 80’s like me then you know that we hardly had any rights to question or speak back to our parents so we basically learnt in silence. Indeed we learnt a lot in silence although we equally missed a few vital facts about life and these are some of the things our mothers should have told us:
It hurts to love:
As a matter of fact, I don’t even remember my mother talking to me about love. She only hinted that some day I will grow up, get married and have to raise my own family. What she forgot to tell me is that it would involve falling in love and that loving would sometimes hurt. Or maybe you grew up with both your parents and they looked like the most perfect couple you could ever come across. You grew to believe and expect that love is perfect but if you have been in love then you know that some times it will hurt, although it’s often worth fighting for.
Giving birth is a matter of life and death :
I have always loved babies and even as a child I couldn’t wait to have my own. I baby sat every baby in my neighborhood and presumed I would be that perfect mother when I grew up. My mother told me babies were bought from hospitals, my biology teacher taught me how babies are made but not actually the pain involved in child birth. If you come from an African background and you are a lady you know the importance that society attaches to giving birth. It’s so important that every mother frequently reminds their grown daughters about the biological clock when they seemingly take long to have children. Unfortunately, very few mothers remember to also tell their daughter that giving birth is actually a matter of life and death. Although babies are sweet and lovely, their delivery can take a toll on a mother.
Mothering is a full time job:
I was raised by a single working mother and it seemed like being a mother was just one of the roles she had to play among other roles. It seemed effortless considering she had all of us in our rightful positions. I didn’t realise how much it took my mother to raise the three of us single-handedly. If you are like me, you grew up with the notion that being a mother was a manageable role that you could easily balance with your other obligations. Fast forward to adulthood and you realise that mothering is actually a full time job on its own. The reality is that our mothers left out this vital piece of information while preparing us for adult life. I bet if we knew this ahead of time, we would make better choices and plan when to have our babies better.
Womanhood is a philosophy :
Girls are prepared to be women and mothers right from childhood, but even then nothing quite fully prepares you for what it actually means to be a woman. As an adult woman you soon realise that you have to be an expert at many things if you’re to measure up to the status quo. Being able to cook a few basic meals and keeping your home clean will not cut the deal. You are expected to make special meals, manage bills, solve problems, contribute to the family income, raise good kids, remember special dates, look stunning, be great in bed, and be a great to in law among other things. I don’t know about you but there is a lot about Womanhood in the 21st century that my mother didn’t tell me and I can’t blame her because she had no idea herself… Hahahah!
Your money is never yours:
Before you start objecting and telling me about the empowered woman, I am not talking about having to give up your hard earned money against your will. I am actually talking about scenarios where you willingly give up your money out of love. First is in the name of preserving integrity in your marriage, so whatever you earn is put in a general pool to better plan for the family. Second is a situation where as a mother all you earn you willingly give up for your children to have a better life. A mother will go the extra mile to ensure her children live a comfortable life. Even as adults, our mother’s will still dare to sort us out financially if they must and if it’s in their power to do so. It baffles me how my mother asks if I have enough money for lunch and transport every time I call her. It’s my turn to take care of her and yet she still assumes the role of providing for me.
You will always dream for others, not yourself:
As a little child, I had wild dreams and outrageous ambitions. Lucky for me, my mother encouraged me to dream as wild as I could and always affirmed the fact that I had the potential to become anything I set my heart to be. I knew greatness lied inside of me and when I was ready to conquer the world I realised my mother had missed out a vital bit of information. As a woman, it is hard to dream for yourself because you always have other people before you to think about. You have your spouse, children, parents and sometimes siblings to think about. Your life is not your own and as you dream, all these people must be put into perspective so your dream is always much bigger than yourself.
There is so much that our mothers omitted to pass down to us, either intentionally or because they didn’t know any better. Whatever the reason is, we have the opportunity to make a difference for future generations.
I am proud to be a woman and grateful to have been raised by my mother. I believe that as a woman I can better prepare other women to live better and have realistic expectations about life. There is so much that our mothers didn’t tell us which we have had to discover as we grew into Womanhood. We now stand at the threshold ready to pass on the baton to the next generation of Women; the question is, are we going to omit the same insights or are we going to readily share all that life has taught us without holding back that which hurt us the most? The choice is yours and the ball is in your court.