When you age and become a Mother I believe you are inclined to gravitate into 3 different buckets of Mothering…
1. You Mother in the complete opposite manner to how you were Mothered
2. You Mother in the same way that you were Mothered OR
3. You incorporate elements of both with your own external influences.
(For those who were raised in a Motherless household I would hate to make any assumptions on this and speak about things that I have not experienced personally)
I fall more into bucket number 3.
My Mom was born in 1955, grew up in Mayville (Cato Manor) and moved to Shallcross in 1973 due to the Group Areas Act.
She is the middle child of 3 with 2 brothers on either end. Her brothers describe her growing up as a ‘model’ child as her demeanor was neither raucous nor rambunctious. Now with 2 over protective brothers back in those days, you can imagine that any female would not want to have been anything less than what was ‘expected’ of them. My Mom always recalls how her brothers would look under the bus when she was talking to her friends to make sure that she wasn’t talking to any boys. This could be why their bond is so strong up to today without even seeing each other that often.
My Mom schooled at St Anthonys & Matriculated at Durban Girls High & was all geared up to follow in her brother’s footsteps, and like most Indians at that time, take up a teaching profession.
Act 2 : Enter the Somewhat Arranged Marriage
My Mom was 19 when my Dad set his eyes upon her (while she was washing windows, mind you), & if you ask him why he ‘wanted’ her, he will say because she had nice legs (face palm emoji needed right here). The reason why I’m giving you all this history is because I strongly believe that your upbringing & past factor into how you parent.
Fast forward a few months & out went the plan of becoming a Teacher & in came the new, most difficult job ever, of being a Stay At Home Mom. My Parents were married and my eldest sister followed shortly thereafter. My Mom lived with her in-laws for 17 years and as we all know living with anyone is challenging, now imagine what living with a family who were completely opposite to all you ever knew in your 19 years of being alive must have been like. The expectations & treatment of a ‘daughter-in-law’ especially in those times, were more like those suitable to be termed ‘daughter-outlaw’.
My Mom raised all 3 of us practically alone while my Dad focused more on his business. Although we were in a small town, she enrolled us (especially me) into numerous activities, opening my mind, my world & gave me my ability to think freely. She was the Mom who’s car was packed ferrying kids up and down. She was at every school concert, dance rehearsal you name it.
Now don’t get me wrong, she was there 200%, but if any of us, including my friends, stepped out of line or didn’t want to go to tuition…The fire breathing Dragon was unleashed (because no matter what activities you do, in the Indian household education IS EVERYTHING).
I sit and reflect how I Mother Miya & so much of that is moulded on how I was Mothered & raised. My Mom (Moganambal-Reddy-Mudaly aka Mano) turns 65 years on the 9th of November & going through these unprecedented COVID times I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I want to celebrate her Motherhood Journey as I now know what sacrifices it takes to give your kids every opportunity & to be there 200% all day everyday!