I’m so glad you made time. Hectic week was it?
All the more reason for you to slow down and enjoy the glass of wine or some exotic tea that I hope is in your hand right now. (If the economy doesn’t allow, some lemon water would also do just fine.)
Maybe it was a slow one. Didn’t tick off much from the week’s to do list, literally sleep walked through the week, sometimes you had to pause to try and remember what was the name I gave this other little (or big human) again?
“Zombie” mode I call it. Well, even if that was the type of week you had, you still deserve a “reset” for making it through the week.
First things first.
Today I want to share a little bit about myself. Olivia,the person.
You see Olivia the person, is who gave birth to the mother I am today. So doesn’t it make sense to start with “her”?
I’m 32 and had my first born at 18. So I was a teenage pregnancy statistic. They called me a statistic, haha!
I guess I was, but I never liked the term, it sounded so “cold”, like a case number. Working in the hospital wards, I so hated it when we referred to the patient by their file number. I understand that it is necessary to maintain a certain level of detachment in that context but you know it removes the fact that on that bed, lies a dreamer, a wanderer with things to do, places to see and stories to tell.
And the same with the “teenage pregnancy statistic” term, even then I felt like they stole my identity man. I was a wild child, I needed to still go out into the world and leave my mark. (If my grandma would hear me now, she ‘d probably do an eye roll and be like well, “you should’ve thought about those dreams before you opened the cookie jar”. ) Today I still feel society steals the core of who we are with the titles they gave us. Divorcee, wife, career woman and perhaps more suited to our topic, mother.
So Olivia loved the Queen’s language and literature. I was a bookworm and loved being the center of attention. Total Leo. I was/am a performer. And a natural leader. Had I been born or raised in a different time, my career probably would have been in the arts. But back in the day, anything science-related was the career of choice and living for applause even as a 17year old, I had to tick all the boxes including the one that said, bursary holder. And believe you me, the bursaries went to the science students.
A number of factors contributed to the years that unfolded thereafter. I had to hurry and grow up because I was a young mom and had to now fend for my son. I didn’t have the luxury of a gap year or even experimenting in different fields. I had to graduate and find a job ASAP. I had to make up for “my mistake”.
What where the circumstances for you?
Got married young, maybe you lost your parents as a teenager or maybe finances just didn’t allow you to even think about anything else but basic survival?
You see we cannot start talking about any other need before we cater to basic food, shelter, safety. So I understand dear MonoMom if you never gave thought to your inner identity.
But similarly please understand, we cannot ever produce anything worth giving to another human being, as is in the case of motherhood before we cater to ourselves. We’ve heard it all before:
… can’t pour from an empty cup, you can’t give what you don’t have, love others as you love yourselves.It has to start with us.
So being a good mother starts by being a well nurtured individual. To love, care, protect and nurture another human being, we need to to tend to our individual garden first. It starts with understanding what makes us tick and crafting our days including that. Being a good mom means, prioritizing a dance class or hosting once in a while, if that’s a personal passion, to bring yourself joy, so that you are able to serve your kids happily. And money is not an issue. I love sitting around the fire with friends and talking absolute nonsense so I do it at least once a month. It’s not always a fancy meal, the other week we had a “N$100 matangara potjie” but it stands out as one of the best memories of my life.
These activities keep me sane.
MonoMom, before I continue sharing my journey, I want to implore that you take a piece of paper and write down who you are. The dreams and to do lists you had as a 14 year old. Just for today, I want you to put aside your mommy hat and think about only you. Is it painting, is it interior decor? Is it traveling?
Back to Olivia.
Writing has always been a primal instinct, I leaned towards it anytime I needed to express myself clearly. I did graduate as a Clinical Engineer, a career choice that only started to make sense in my latter twenties as I discovered the complexities of myself. Clinical Engineering is but a title I carry, one that a number of factors could take from me, including the economic recess or a sudden illness.
But I am before anything else, in a one liner, I’m passionate about inspiring authenticity in every single person I come across. That is my story. I live my truth. All of it. The good, the bad, the nasty, the awkward. I own it. I am not embarrassed by my tendencies to ignore the dishes for three days straight or that I love love and that it landed me in some hot water before. I am aware of it and I use it as a super power to influence where I find myself serving in this instant.
As a mother, I have produced a 13 year old that commands an audience, a child who would force you to listen to his area of passion and expertise, and has no doubt for a moment that his place under the sun is to be at one with nature and animals. He says it without hesitation: ‘Money can wait Mama, I am going to the amazon.’
And he lights up at the thought. Now that makes me feel like a real MonoMom.
I don’t know what the later years of Olivia will produce, but quite recently, I have learned to allow myself to never stop becoming. To be okay with being both a scientist and an artist. To not conform. It doesn’t need to be one or the other. In all the titles I carry with pride, including MonoMom-ing, I still serve my “one liner.”
What I’m saying is, you don’t have to forget who you are, in fact you do your kids an injustice when you neglect your core, because now along with everything else they have to deal with growing up, they have to deal with an unhappy mom.
Don’t be that mom please.
Find yourself, live it, feed it and you are teaching them to do the same. You don’t know how long you have. So live the values you want to instill.
You also never know you are raising, there’s a story they need to tell, they can only get to to it when they see you do yours. You can only do that if you, the person, the individual is taken care of.
I’m hoping to inspire every MonoMom, to remember who they were before this parenthood journey. So today, I am speaking to Maria, Ndapewa, Louise, Eve, that was and should be before you became a mother.
A content MonoMom is birthed by a content individual.