“The most important thing she’d learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a great one”
Before I experienced motherhood, I would gloss over the increased violence and hate in the news, gloss over the derogatory comments about people with my skin tone, gloss over the glass ceiling that affects me as a woman of colour.
Since we (my hubby and I) brought my beautiful daughter in the world, I have taken a closer and deeper look at the issues in the world and the issues that I face. Maybe because I am more conscious of the fact that I do not want my daughter to experience the struggles I experienced, and I constantly try to give her the best. The best childhood, the best opportunities, the best in everything. But sometimes, I struggle and buckle under the pressure. I probably not alone in thinking this.
When I was growing up, being ‘African’ was not popular. I was ridiculed for my full lips, my ‘nappy’ hair, and my dry skin condition, and it affected my self-esteem so much. My thick, coarse 4C hair was seen as untidy and messy and I wanted to straighten it to fit in. I straightened my hair, refused to let my mother braid my hair and it broke off! I have to admit these ideas have taken so much root in my being, that it has taken a lot of effort to get rid of these negative thoughts associated to something beautiful.
Nowadays, it is a different story, we have appropriation of features where thick lips and wide hips are being celebrated on every woman other than women of colour; where your self-worth is measured by how many likes or followers you have on social media; where the enemy we will have to fight is more virtual than physical.
I constantly ask myself, what can we do as her parents? How can we protect her from this world? From experiencing pain? How can we instill in her a self –worth that surpasses all the lies and foolery on social media?
I’d like to believe that every parent goes through this line of thinking, and I am not being paranoid!
So what can I do as a mother? I will be honest with her about life, however not too honest in order to preserve her childhood. I will watch my child like a hawk, every emotion, every behaviour will be observed and as she gets older I will give her appropriate advice on how to handle these emotions. I know that it requires alot of work and effort as I have a full time job, but my child is my priority. It is my duty to raise an independent, God-fearing, successful woman for the next generation.
I will allow her to stumble and fall so that she can become independent and learn from her mistakes. I will teach her that kindness, being able to empathise with others and wanting to help others are not weaknesses, but strengths. This world desperately needs more of this. I want her to be able to see the good in this world and in people, be positive and optimistic. For her not to allow fear, especially the fear of the unknown to stop her from achieving her dreams. For her to know that no-one, absolutely no-one has the right to make her feel or treat her any less than the Queen, God has created her to be.
God knows that when I leave this earth, I want to be rest assured that my daughter will be fine, and she will teach these things to her own kids.
Picture from: http://www.wnyc.org/