Helpful advice to mothers
Be mindful of the words you speak to your child. Speak positively by advising, encouraging and motivating them. When they do well, applaud them and when they make a mistake, do not rush to reprimand or punish them. First find out why the error was made and then, find a suitable punishment. Shouting or barking at a child lowers their self-esteem. It is also important that mothers spend a lot of time with their young children to bond with them.
Family Life Network
Do not get carried away by the excitement of giving birth. Being a mother goes beyond having a baby. You have to do what it takes to bring this child up the right way. You have to be fully involved in their lives especially during their infant stage. It stops being about you but the child becomes priority. Remember to also look after yourself because your health has an impact on how well you raise the child.
Be an example to your child. If you are hardworking, time conscious and clean, they will copy these things from you. If you are a mess, there are high chances of your child also ending up like you. Teenage years are the scariest. This is when they get rebellious and think they have matured. Do not give up on them, continue advising, counselling and praying for them. Eventually they will either open their eyes or learn from their mistakes. I want to applaud all the single mothers for the incredible job they are doing. If the father of the child is still alive and wants to connect with the child, give them a chance. It is important you do not meddle into your child’s marriage. Mothers have a tendency of influencing the lives of their married sons, which is absolutely wrong. You could ruin your child’s marriage
Being raised by an African mother is no joke. You cannot share lose jokes with them that you would easily make with your aunt and a simple word from her is a command written in stone. But when I see her now, with her grandchildren, I wonder if this is the same person who threw comments my way that caused me to seek for balance as though I had lost the function of my legs or did things that made me question if she was really my mother.
Mothers are our best friends, and today, Joan Salmon asked some people to share the anecdotes they remember about their mothers.
“Every day, during holidays, mum would open all the windows early in the morning and then, go through the corridor screaming, “Wake up! All the people who are better than you are already up!” And then, she would give us special chores to do such as, washing her hankies. And every time you would forget to do so, she would ask you, ‘Who grew such a dense kid like you?’ One day I replied, ‘Obviously you. Who else?’ Ho! She gave me the beating of my life! I thought I was going to die.”
“She always told me, ‘Dignity comes before comfort. If you do not want to suffer then, who do you want to face the suffering? If you dare leave your work because you are uncomfortable never step at my home again!’”
Judith Nakamannya Okech
“When I was bullied at school for stammering, she enrolled me in a new school. Every time she returned from a function, she always packed for us leftovers. Mom always paid school fees. I remember one day, she wanted to buy tablets for her ulcers but she gave me all the money. She was a single mother but when I joined university, she gave me everything she had. When I became a Christian and everyone cursed me she stood with me. She also told me never to lend money to friends because it kills friendship. She said, ‘Love God, no matter what you are going through and never practice witchcraft even when you are desperate.’”
“She would do anything to make sure I am happy. She always sensed when something wrong was about to happen to me and warned me immediately. She told me I know how to smile for a camera, and that I am always happy. She would say, ‘I am a stepmother, I do not pamper people.’”
“As a young boy, she gave me a black wrapper skirt to cover myself with in the village. I can never forget the beatings she gave me for refusing to go to the bush to look after the cattle.”
“She would say, ‘Galawo oluggi! Wakulira mukidaala?’ (Shut the door! Did you grow up in a barn?’ and ‘Gamire mangu nga sinakwongera!’ (Swallow those tears before I spank you some more).”
“Whenever I would ask mother for money so that I could buy some pancakes like my friends did, she would get so bitter and ask, ‘Do you think money grows on trees? Go away before I get angry!’ I would run away from her because I knew the next thing would be a beating.”
“I did not spend a lot of time with my late mother. However, the most I know about her was hard work. Being physically weak and emotional, whenever she was sick or going through any hardship, she always wanted me there with her. She would say I have to be strong to make it in life. I believe it is those words and situations that we went through together that have made me who I am today.”
“One time, we had guests at home and as they were leaving, at 7pm, mom told us to escort them. As children, we had no limits, so we ended up walking them up to their home. Once there, we were offered something to eat. No child can refuse such a treat. We lost track of time. When we returned home at about 8pm, she told us, ‘Mudeeyo gyemuva,’ (Go back to where you are coming from) as if she did not know where we had gone. We remained on the verandah for 15 minutes. All the neighbours were inside their homes, so you can imagine the trauma a nine-year-old would go through. Later, she let us in. I learnt a very important lesson that day. It is interesting how she was able to discipline us without using a stick.”
“Whenever I tried to reason with my mum about something, her response was, ‘Do it because I said so.’ There was no where I would go with this response, except do as she had said. Ah…it felt like commands were always being issued!”
“One time, I was arguing out my case with the old lady and without waiting for me to finish my discourse she said, ‘Eh! Because someone jumped off a bridge, do you do the same?’ I was caught in my tracks. That was the end of the conversation, or say, the defence.”
“After listening in on us exchanging obscenities with my young brother, mother told me to bring for her a bar of soap. As I gave it to her, she pulled me down to where a dish-washing bowl was saying, ‘Let me wash your mouth out with soap! My children cannot have such nasty words coming out of their mouths!’ I was so shocked. For a moment I thought she would not do it. Oh! She actually washed out my mouth.”