How are you finding parenting?
Parenting gives you a sense of focus. As much as am busy I always have something to look forward to and those are my kids.
How old were you when you had your first baby?
I had my first born son in my 20s. I had to catch up as reality had struck. I stopped being the baby in my family and became a mom.
Do your kid’s names carry any meaning?
Yes they do. Akhile, my son - I went into parenting head first and he moulded me into a grown woman and he became my guiding light and made me focus in life. He built me into the woman I am and he makes me breakfast in the morning!
Katekani is a Tsonga word for “be blessed” and I had her under challenging circumstances and having her lightened my burden and my entire family call her a blessing. Having her changed me and the entire family and she is my little comedian.
The late Amukelani is a Tsonga name and means acceptance. A direct translations is “please accept”.
How did you cope with the loss of your son?
My family was there for me, they all cushioned me and made sure that I emerged stronger. The pain does not go away but you learn to live with it. I just keep the fond memories of my son. My son had a way of bringing happiness in my life and I remember those moments with him.
What would you tell a parent who has lost a child?
Your child would like to see you a better person, they want to see you happy. In losing a child, you are going into another form of labour and only this does not go away. They are watching you and want to see you happy. Remember the good things even if they lived for two seconds, remember the moments you held them in your arms.
Has your work affected the time you spend with your child and how have you found the balance of being a working mom – if you have found the balance?
It has not really affected the time I spend with my children. I cannot feed a lie to my children. I tell them the truth and it’s an open door policy, I told them about the type of job I do and they understand my schedule. My daughter watches me in the morning and they get to see what I do. If I cannot be there I tell them that I cannot be there. The appreciation and joy in their eyes is priceless.
Do your kids know that their mother is in the public eye?
My son is beginning to understand that only now but that does not change anything. My daughter just watches me.
If you could teach your children one thing about life – what would that be?
I personally learn about life as I go along and would teach then to appreciate who they are and to show respect to other people. It brings me a sense of joy to equip them with all they need to face life.
Are you a strict mother or a walk-over mom?
Sometimes I am told that “I want to go to Gogo and Mkhulu (my parents) because wena mama you are no fun”, so I guess I am too strict. I also ensure that I punish them for what they see and not something they did previously. They must know why I am reprimanding them, they need to take responsibility.
How important is the help of extended family in raising your children?
They are a blessing, they I what I need. They have played a huge role in helping bring up my children and in preserving the culture and religion of my children. They are the source of foundation in how I raise my kids.
What are some of the things you never anticipated when it comes to parenting?
I always thought that you can never love anyone more than you love yourself but having children has given me a deeper meaning of the word love and I understand what love is.
When your children look back, what kind of a mother would you like them to remember you as?
A respectful, nurturing mother and one that loved them so much. One that also found pleasure in taking care of others.
Read more by Masanda Peter
Have any of you ever had to deal with great loss?