'It breaks my heart' - Local mom on why she's teaching her son 'not to be too kind'

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"It saddens me that I have to teach him to be less of himself, only to protect him. It breaks my heart".
"It saddens me that I have to teach him to be less of himself, only to protect him. It breaks my heart".

Life is getting tougher, and for one local momOdette Wakefield, that means teaching her kids painful lessons about the world, lessons she's learned from her own harsh experiences. She shares her motherhood journey and why she believes in nurturing an honest relationship with her kids, even if it means sharing ugly truths. 

I always loved children, other people's children. 

Till the day I fell pregnant. 

I was in my second year studying journalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2007. I feared it, motherhood; I lost my mother just two years before!

Who was I going to run to for advice? Despite these fears, I managed to complete my diploma and shortly after gave birth to a beautiful and strong baby (in a leap year-what?!). 

I graduated with two distinctions but little did I know, so much was about to change. My daughter gave me a new meaning and a will to live.

I had suffered from depression after losing my matriarch, and when those little brown eyes looked at me, I immediately knew my place on earth was not yet complete. 

Also read: 'A completely derailed life plan': Local mom gets candid about her unintended journey to motherhood 

'Figuring out the motherhood thing'

I had many ups and downs with Amber, she was sickly, and her father decided to leave, but my first priority became her. I lost friends.

Obviously- the rest of them were in their prime, and no one told me to have unprotected sex, right?

But it still hurt, and I was figuring out the motherhood thing all by myself. One moment I was so excited for those little small steps, and the next, I wanted to strangle my own because the post-natal depression was a real thing.

I only read about it after giving birth, and when I recognised the signs, my GP immediately prescribed some really good drugs. 

'An honest relationship and sticking to promises'

It is not all rosy and photo shoot Instagram worthy; it's tiring, confusing, self-doubt inducing and requires lots of patience and googling! I have learnt that there is no handbook, and we cannot base our principles on how it was 30 odd years ago.

Times have changed, and as parents, we need to adapt to what's happening around us in this current hell we expect our kids to thrive in.

I am trying to ease a teenage daughter into making solid choices and having to watch over her shoulder constantly. I have openly spoken about sex, menstruation, rape, body shaming, bullying and bad choices.

Where is the light? It is unfair; my kids do not know freedom. But all I can offer both my kids is a safe space, an honest relationship and sticking to promises. 

'I never thought being a mother was so much sacrifice till I became one'

My job is done when they can independently make healthy decisions, stand firm in their beliefs (whatever that may mean to them, not my forced beliefs), values and just be good to other people.

The one lesson my mom taught me, and I think it will stand the test of time, is always to make sure that you are financially independent of anyone (pessimistic but true, l learned this the hard way) and always remain humble in everything you do.

I never thought being a mother was so much sacrifice till I became one; people make it look so easy.

It's selfless. Growing up as the only child of a single parent made me selfish, jealous, and so naïve about what the world was really like out there.

While the world offers many good, it does come with a fair amount of bad, something I wish my late mom made me see from a very young age, she never prepared me to live without her, and this is something I will definitely try to do differently with my kids. 

'If we all could teach our kids to be loving and kind without any hidden agendas'

I think the hardest part for me is teaching my now 7-year-old son how not to be too kind and people reliant. It's the core of who he is, and it saddens me that I have to teach him to be less of himself, only to protect him.

It breaks my heart, but without this lesson, my son will only be taken advantage of, and it's already happening with friends he made in the area and the school.

He suffers and cannot understand why he has to be more selfish. If we all could teach our kids to be loving and kind without any hidden agendas, I would not have to teach him to be anything less than who he is meant to be, sweet, thoughtful, and always wanting to make everyone feel happy and included.

Traits a lot of humans can learn. 

This motherhood thing never stops, and neither does learning, so every day is a new challenge for me. I cannot be stuck in the past. I need to make each day a new adventure full of learning, falling down and getting up again.

What's your journey to parenthood been like? 


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