I find it ironic writing this because my relationship with my mum for most of my teen years was very rocky and complicated. I believed from what I heard around me that it was perfectly normal to shut your mother out of your life and keep a safe distance from the woman that birthed you because she just would not understand you nor what you are going through.
Although it is rare to find the perfect mother daughter duo, especially in our Nigerian society, at the beginning of this year I made a decision to change that narrative, at least in my own life. And even though it has not been smooth sailing since then, I understand the crucial role my mother plays in my life and the knowledge she has poured into me is unlike any I have read in a self-help book.
My mother and I’s relationship has been very love/hate. One day we are the best of friends and the next we are at each other’s throats. I am sure this is not uncommon and is relatable to a lot of us considering mother daughter relationships are not always the easiest to navigate. However, I can safely say that through our rollercoaster relationship, my mother has always had nothing but the best intentions towards me.
My mother is quite the spontaneous woman, she can be very unpredictable and hard to keep up with for a control freak like me. I joke around and tell her that if we were born in the same generation, we would be best friends that started out disliking each other just because of how different we are. From our many spontaneous car rides, trips and hangouts, she has shared so much wisdom with me that I once upon a time rejected because my angsty teenage self-believed that she was trying to control me. Now that I am older, I see that it was all solely to protect and look out for me. I would be lying if I say that I heeded all her advice, my stubborn self had to learn some the hard way and even through the process, my mum has always been by my side supporting me.
I am going to let you in on some of our conversations and share with you five lessons my mother taught me about life.
- Where there is a will, there is a way: I am unsure whether to attribute this to action being her favorite movie genre, but my mother’s will power is unmatched. She always emphasizes to me to never give up no matter how bad things look because life can change in an instant. Her crazy faith is something I wish I had more of, she does not know how to take no for an answer. It amazes me every time I see doors open because of her strong will and determination.
- A man can get up and leave you, but your career can not: I am sure this is a cliché with parents, but my mum always drums into my ears not to get distracted by love. She constantly reminds me to put myself and my future first. She taught me that when opportunities come by, the convenience of a relationship should not be a determining factor. If you find yourself making all the sacrifices in your relationship, it is time to reconsider because your partner can wake up and feel like they have outgrown you and at that point, your sacrifices will not matter to them.
- Your friends have the power to make or break you: My mother would tell me that friendships are one of the biggest influences you have in your life. Peer pressure is real and happens in subtle unexpected ways. Honestly I learnt this the hard way due to my stubbornness, but my mum taught me the importance of routinely evaluating your friendships, and helped me understand that if they are not bringing you up and I mean propelling you towards your goals, future ambitions and general well-being, then they are bringing you down. Gravity still applies in friendships.
- Love is not blind, open your eyes: These conversations especially are usually the funniest. My mum taught me to not ignore red flags and to be smart when it comes to romantic relationships. I cannot say that my younger self listened but present day me has started implementing this discipline into my life and it has saved my heart from being played like a game of ping pong.
- Family comes first: As the first daughter, my mum calls me the ‘small mummy of the house’ *flips hair*. She constantly reminds me of the importance of building close relationships with my family members because no matter how crazy they drive you, they will always have your back in a way most people would not. I can safely say that my family has been my support at times when I felt like I could not stand on my own.
My mum really is my superwoman and even though we do not see eye to eye sometimes, I know that she always has my back and vice versa. She has shared so much with me from beauty secrets, life advice and even cooking that no book could ever. I am beyond grateful to be blessed with such an amazing woman as my mother.
I hope you find these life lessons helpful and it encourages you to strengthen your relationship with your mum if it is in a bad place right now.