What I wish my mother had told me

Sunday May 09 2021

Left to right: Blasio Zambali Mukasa, Rev Irene Akankwasa, Frank Mayanja Baine and Fr Jean-Marie M Nsambu.

By Christine Katende

Happy Mother’s Day! We celebrate mothers every year.  Christine Katende  asks different people about what they wish their mothers had told them. 

To raise children...Frank Mayanja Baine, spokesperson of  Uganda Prisons Services
I wish she told me how hard it is to raise children. Growing up, mother used to tell us  how she wanted us to have children but she did not at any one time say of how hard it was or it is to raise a child. With parenting, everything that happens to a child affects you directly as a parent like when they fall sick, when they are probablysent away from school for fees. It is always a parent’s responsibility to groom a child and when they go  astray, the whole blame is shifted to the parent, not the child no matter how wrong they would have gone. I surely thought that when you give birth, you just sit and watch the child grow so long as you can provide food and other necessities but it is all different. 

Men are like boda bodas...Doreen Nasasira, radio personality
I wish my mother had told me that men are like boda bodas, (when one leaves, there will always be another one coming). This may not be as palatable  but growing up, I got involved in a few relationships, and I would fall in love with a man and for a while, my world would feel incomplete and impossible without him. I believed that I could only find happiness if I was with a man or I could only know what true love means if I was in a relationship. I did not know how to deal with heart break and how to trust again after being betrayed by those you loved. Thus, moving on was the hardest thing I have ever faced in life. Do you know what it means to start over again and alone when you are broken? I wish my mother had told me that I did not need a man to be happy or complete, probably life who have been sweeter than it is.

Robina Mbabazi Mulera, aka Bina Babie, radio presenter
I wish my mother had told me that being outspoken can rub others the wrong way. People think I am proud yet my intention is always being clear or helpful. When we were young our parents, teachers and elders used to say never tell a lie, be trustworthy but today, the world wants you to suppress your emotions and then you only say what they want to hear. They want the truth but there are few people who appreciate honesty.

Rev Irene Akankwasa, in-charge of family life, St Francis Anglican Church, Makerere
I wish my mother had told me that I was beautiful and that I would make it in life. Also, I wish she had warned and talked to me more about relationships with boys, I would probably have handled myself better. I grew up thinking I was ugly  and not appreciated, when I repeated  classes;  three years in Primary Seven and two years in Senior Six, I developed a low self- esteem and it is one of the reasons I messed up my life at university. 

Blasio Zambali Mukasa, programme moderator
My mother did not tell me the age at which my dad died. I just learnt that he died at 31 years. I have been condemning my dad for not doing enough for us but he was still young. If my mother had told me earlier, I would have worked so hard to accomplish what he had not. I would have appreciated his efforts towards catering for us.


Left to right: Robina Mbabazi Mulera, aka Bina Babie, Doreen Nasasira, Jackie Deweyi and Ziporah Nalubega.

Jackie Deweyi, love and life coach
I wish my mother had emphasised the importance of dressing for success earlier. I have realised after making many mistakes that no matter how intelligent you are, your looks matter. Your outfit speaks and could spark off the right or wrong signals depending on where you are. The other thing is about the dangers of bad debt. I know my mother is very smart with her financial decisions, never took loans and she’s great with saving. All the money lessons I have are from making horrible financial decisions. I wish she had shared, I would be wealthier with all financial decisions.

Fr Jean-Marie M Nsambu, a priest at Holy Saviour Church in Lockport, Louisiana
There is nothing that my mother, Justina Nsambu did not teach me. My mother is a great pillar in my life because, I do not think I would be half the man I am without her guidance. This ranges from coping with friends in the different social relations to taking care of myself and my space. As a boy, she taught me how to cook and bake, wash dishes, do laundry, make my bed and mop. I can replace a button on my shirt, sew and do art and crafts because of my mother. With my siblings, we often sang folksongs and acted plays with her, or just sat at the table and chatted. Humour is typical of her and sometimes I burst into laughter  when I remember something she said or did. Now leading a priestly life in a countryside, I find it invigorating to call and talk with her and dad.  I sing or hum to myself those old songs, and say the prayers we always prayed as a family while kneeling in our parents’ bedroom. Thank you mum for being you. 

Ronald Lotet, district environment officer  
Growing up my mother was a disciplinarian. However, I noted after that there are some things she would just be tough about but never talked about. One day, some female friends visited and she saw them excited and hugging me. After their departure, she came complaining about some errands and work I had not done and she later made an uncomfortable comment about my friends which gave me a thought that maybe she did not like the visit. Later, she started a conversation indicating how girls of today, especially those in urban areas, lack respect, discipline and are lazy.  Then she asked me where my friends were from. I wish she had told me about relationships instead of making up bad stories about girls.

This, made me lose confidence and I became reserved. I was so withdrawn, especially where the female gender was involved, affecting my social traits. I got over it after my cousin Christine told me it was not good for a man to be so withdrawn. This was also later resolved by my ambitions of student leadership when I went to Kololo Senior Secondary School where I became chairman of the school council. With this, I was forced to adjust because my duties called for constant interaction with students.

Ziporah Nalubega, director of counselling at Heal the Planet Global organisation
I wish my mum had told me that when you get married and conceive, your husband does not provide all the requirements. As long as you are working he will expect you to buy the baby stuff and leave the hospital bills to him. When it comes to home utilities when he pays for  TV, he will expect you to pay water bills or electricity. This is contrary to what I thought that a woman comes into a home and the husband provides. 
The other thing I wish my mother had told me is, when you get married you lose rights over full decision making because you cannot even go anywhere much as you would wish without the husband’s consent. I also didn’t know that when you get married you seek permission to do everything and if it’s not granted you cancel all the programmes. Had my mother told me earlier of what to expect I would have handled things differently.