The 9Lives team is a group of very different people, and we are in very different stages of our lives. Some of us are married, others just moved into our own little space for the first time and some of us are still wondering how to poach an egg. But one thing we can agree on, is that the most important lessons we have learned, are the lessons from our wise mothers. In celebration of Mother’s Day, here are the lessons we learned from our moms.
Everyone’s mom is the best mom. So writing this for people to read makes me feel a little narcissistic. With that being said, here is why my mom is the best mom.
I am 90% my dad’s daughter with a sprinkle of my mom. So we’ve had our fair share of fights and door slams. But one of the things I got, and learned, from her is her independence (this is also the reason I use when she asks me why I am still single). I would’ve liked to trade this trait for her skinny genes, but hey, we can’t have it all .
My dad has worked on and off in Canada my entire life, which left my mom regularly raising and travelling with 3 kids alone. That lady all alone on a long flight trying to keep a head count of her children – yeah, that was my mom. But she was always calm and never worried. She had it under control, she always has.
My mom also isn’t a faffer. She’ll say “shame” when you get stung by a bee, get food poisoning or break your bum bone. But that is all the comforting and help you’ll get for your pain. This sounds horrible, but I mean I’m still here today?
The exterminator in the house? Dat her. Is she ever wrong? Yes. Will she ever admit it? No. Did she eat all the chocolates? Yes. Again will she admit it? No.
I should’ve probably started off by saying she’s ¾ German. So she does have feelings and all that, it just comes out a bit differently. Sometimes she’s the most affectionate of us all.
My mom always says she doesn’t like kids, didn’t even want kids of her own. But I would just like to tell her that she has done a darn good job with loving and raising us.
My relationship with my mother has been stronger than ever the last few years, and there’s a very simple reason for that: I’m becoming more and more like her everyday. I remember always bitching and moaning about her intense OCD in my teen years (this would often end with me rolling my eyes and her telling me “blaas af daai gesig”). And with intense OCD I mean refusing to mix the colours of the pegs she used to hang up the washing: Blue was always for my dad’s clothes, green for mine, and pink for her own. But these days I more often than not catch myself moving things in a specific order, and I now too have a specific ways of doing my washing.
One of the most important lessons she taught me is to be forever grateful, no matter the size of the blessing. Since I can remember, she would prefer to spend her money to buy something nice for her children or my dad (and now her grandchildren), or treating me at the newest coffee shop in town. As a kid (and sometimes I’m still guilty of this) I always tried to get her to stop spending her money on me and rather treat herself to something new, until she told me to stop being ungrateful and let her spoil me, because it makes her happy. That was the day I realised the vastness of a mother’s love.
She taught me to be adaptable to anything life throws at me. Because she set the example of adapting to the times. Raising your first child in the 80’s and then the next moment having to deal with a teenager in the 2000’s can’t be easy. But she went with it and she rocked it.
My mom speaks with wisdom, and gives advice with love. She will never admit that her four children (yes, four) is the main reason for her grey hair, but rather says that we keep her young. She taught me how to be strong, even through pain. She taught me how to be selfless and love unconditionally.
I can’t wait to find all the undiscovered little pieces of her that are buried somewhere inside me.
Neither my mother nor I are very sentimental people – the similarities do not end there, however, since we’re both stubborn, should both always only have short hair, prefer winter over summer, and will find any excuse to cook pasta, wear stripes, or pour a glass of wine while binge-watching series or binge-reading a book for the entirety of any given weekend. While these similarities sometimes make for an eerily similar outlook on life, I learn from her on a weekly basis. Some of her wise moments include:
Clean now, relax later
Like my mom, I can’t function in a disorganised or filthy space. Her approach to this seemed unconventional at first – waking up an hour earlier to clean the house before going to work – until I moved into my own apartment and grew very, very frustrated the first week of working and walking into a chaotic unmade-bed-mugs-on-the-bedside-table mess. Needless to say, there is a lot less stress involved in keeping up the cleanliness of a space – not only for your mental sanity, but also sense of accomplishment.
Try, try and try again
As I’ve mentioned before, my fight or flight response in stressful situations is almost always flight but she has taught me that nothing awful is permanent and the bad times will never outweigh the satisfaction of reaching the good times. At the start of any new experience, I’m usually lying with my head on her lap, crying, and asking: “How long did it take you to find what makes you happy about x, y or z?” Her careful reassurances are always enough to appease my state of panic, but never overconfident as to dissuade me from learning valuable lessons from the process. I now realise that I ask her this same question, as I measure my levels of competence and accomplishment against her own.
She taught me that while competence can be taught or learned, the willingness to do so is invaluable. My mom is constantly learning, growing and wishing to achieve more – whether it be teaching herself how to crochet from a YouTube tutorial, figuring out a complex accounting system at work, or baking a cheesecake from a Facebook recipe, she shows me that figuring out what I want and making due with what I have is the mother of invention.
And so, while neither of us are overly sentimental about days like these, here is a sentimental message nonetheless: I hope you read this and feel valued, loved, but most importantly, appreciated for your input in my life.
Ek noem haar moeder, maar haar geboortesertifikaat sê Isabel-Marie. Nes myne. Soveel lesse wat saam met daardie naam oorgedra word.
Die manier waarop sy vir my en my jonger sussie lesse leer is gewoonlik deur ‘n pittige sê ding. Sy weet goed dat om vir my te preek of om ‘n versie aan te haal, gaan op dowe ore val.
Ek het destyds by my ma gekla oor ‘n kêrel wat al sy klere net so op die kamervloer voor die bed los. En haar antwoord?
“Sussa, tenminste het jy iemand wie se klere jy kan optel.” Nou meer as 2 jaar later, besef ek die les wat in daai kort sin vasgevang was.
Sy wou vir my wys dat mens moet dankbaar wees vir die goed en mense wat jy het. Daai sin het nie beteken ek moet agter hom opruim nie, maar dat ek vir ‘n oomblik moet dankbaar wees dat ek in ‘n mooi verhouding was en dat ek liefde kon ervaar, want daar is soveel mense wat nie dieselfde kan sê nie.
“Sussa, ‘n man kan alles eet, hy hoef nie alles te weet nie.” Hierdie was gesê een Saterdagmiddag nadat sy nóg ‘n budgie gekoop het vir haar voëlhok in die hoek van die tuin. Meeste van julle trek seker nou jul wenkbroue in ‘n vou, want om vir iemand iets weg te steek is seker die slegste les om vir iemand te leer.
Die les hierin is egter, dat jy moet ophou om jouself en jou keuses te verduidelik en te justify. Dit is iets waarmee ek so baie sukkel. Ek voel ek moet altyd 7 redes gee hoekom ek doen wat ek doen. Daardie pittige sê ding herinner my daagliks dat ek nie altyd myself hoef te verduidelik aan ander nie.
Ek kan ‘n boek skryf oor al die pittige skietgoed wat die naamgenoot van my al kwytgeraak het, en op hierdie Moedersdag gaan ek deur elkeen sif, een vir een.
Mag ek eendag net so wys en pittig wees soos dié ware Jakob!
I always try and avoid Mother’s Day. My mother passed away in 2014 and since then it’s been a process transitioning through different stages of grief, but this year I kind of feel ready to talk about the things I’ve learned from my mother.
It’s weird, because the older I get the more I spot similarities in my behaviour and hers. I tend to overplan, I’m a bit of a control freak and laugh really loudly. My mom, who was a language practitioner, was also known for her colourful use of the Afrikaans language and I often find myself repeating her quirky saying and idioms.
But there are two things that my mom taught me that stands out above the rest. The first is that when faced with adversity you have two options; sit in the corner and feel sorry for yourself, or face the problem head-on. You obviously never choose just feeling sorry for yourself.
The second is that you cannot allow other people to steal your joy. Which roughly translates into; there is never a reason to be overly negative and that everything is what you make of it. You have a choice to be happy. This is something I’ve repeated over and over to my friends and family, and most importantly to myself.
I don’t think I fully appreciated my own mother until I became one myself. As my daughter grows, I realise that most kids see their mom as a given, an always-there, part-of-themselves. This might be the reason we often take our moms for granted, until we’re struck with the flu and they’re the only ones who can kiss it better. When my daughter was born, I realised that my mom has gone through all of these same experiences I was facing, and suddenly she was no longer just mine, she was her own person.
My mother has taught me about strength, and about weakness, and now I understand how much strength she had to muster to keep head above water with three very opinionated kids in the house. She has taught me about sacrifice, about selfless love, about forgiveness and the ability of a mother’s love to overcome all the cuts and bruises. Most recently my mother has taught me that raising a child is the hardest thing you can do, because your heart is always heavy with the burden of doing the very best job, and the knowledge that you’re also just human. She has taught me that it’s okay to cry, and fail, and then get up again, because that’s what mom’s need to do. I am eternally grateful that I have her in my corner.
My mother taught me that not all mothers are perfect and that’s okay. She never stood on the sidelines of netball games, made lunch boxes for school, made the kind of delicious homemade dinners you’d miss when you’ve been away from home for too long, or supported my “crazy” dreams, and that’s okay. The reason she couldn’t be at netball games was that she was working three jobs to provide for our family as a single parent, the reason she didn’t cook delicious meals was that she was exhausted from working until 03:00 in the morning to finish her Ph.D, and the reason she didn’t support my “crazy” dreams was that she wanted something better for me, something safe so that she could sleep soundly knowing I would be able to provide for myself one day.
What this has taught me over the years is that dedication will help you achieve your goals, that working hard will get you places, and that even mothers who seem like they aren’t perfect, really are in their own unique way.
As klein dogtertjie was my ma my beste maatjie, sy het saam met my teepartytjies gehou en geverf, sy het saam met my kapsoenne aangetrek en was doodtevrede om volgens my opdrag die kind te wees terwyl ek graag die ma wil wees met my oorgroot paar skoene en handsak. Dit was vir haar lekker om tyd te spandeer met haar oudste en het my altyd mooi aangetrek en goed versorg, ek was haar trots.
In my laerskooljare het ek nie van haar terregwysing en leiding gehou nie, ek kon nie verstaan waarom daar soveel beperkinge en reëls moes wees nie. As 10-jarige was dit aaklig om af en toe skottelgoed te was en kamer skoon te maak, maar waar anders moes ek dan dissipline, orde, onderdanigheid en netheid leer as in my ouerhuis?
Vir ‘n tiener is daar niks erger as klokslag inkomtye, familietyd en om te moet rekenskap gee van waar jy was en hoekom jy doen wat jy doen nie. Minwetend dat dit vir my eie beswil was en om my te maak en vorm tot die vrou wat ek vandag is.
As 23-jarige jong vrou besef ek vandag dat elke baklei, woordewisseling en terregwysing van my ma ‘n bousteen was wat gelê is om die fondasie te vorm van die res van my lewe. Elke vaardigheid en talent wat ek het, het my ma saam met my die laaste 23 jaar aan gewerk en geskaaf – haar liefde, omgee en geduld is die beginpunt daarvan. Haar onvoorwaardelike liefde en ondersteuning is wat my aangemoedig het om my drome te volg en my potensiaal te bereik.
My ma is ‘n vriendin, ‘n inspirasie en die perfekte beeld van hoe om onvoorwaardelik lief te hê en jou kinders bo jousself te stel. Mamma, ek is lief vir jou.
It’s like I always say “a weird mom builds character”, I’m just kidding, I don’t say that, but it is true.
There was this one time my sister, my mom and I went shopping for Christmas wrapping paper. We were on holiday in a very small town so options were limited. We’re in this stationary store and my mom points to a very plain roll of paper and asks “what do you think about this?” my sister replies “no, it needs a bit more life”. My mom then takes the roll, starts shaking it in the air and enthusiastically says “look how alive it is now!”. There was a brief moment of “what is this woman doing” and then we, and everyone else in the store, started laughing. We still laugh about it today.
My mother has taught me many things, from hand-eye coordination to why I can’t uninstall my period, but the one thing that will always stick with me is that moment in the stationary store. I was taught that you shouldn’t worry too much about what other people think. You have to be true to yourself and remember to actually enjoy life every once in a while. The world is cruel enough as it is so spread joy whenever you can and don’t take yourself so seriously all the time.