Being a mother of two sons has made me very overprotective, kind of like a father to his daughter. I know this, because I listen to how my husband starts ranting and raving when he looks at our daughter, Shay-Leigh, who is now a teenager.
I visited Ballito, Durban this past weekend to attend a wedding of very close friends of ours. The one thing I fall in love with over and over again, is the smell of the sea, waking up and going to bed to the crashing of the waves and that unforgettable feeling of the beach sand between my toes. This descriptive explanation, explains most relationships, and my immediate focus is mother-son relationships and father-daughter relationships and the profound role it plays in your life, eventually. Whatever event, acquaintance, emotion or thought I encounter, I try and take away at least one positive from each of them, like I did this weekend.
I looked at the groom and the brides family and how important family support and dynamics should be.
The day we attended the wedding, the groom made a speech and said something that stuck with me the entire weekend. The story resonated with me; it played in my head so many times. Achmat let us in on a small piece of what kind of mother raised him. He said: “I invited Crystal and Samantha for lunch one afternoon and I was about to let them dish from a pot, until my mom came and said to me that I cannot let them dish from a pot and that I should set the table etc.” She said: “That is how you treat a lady.”
How often do mothers play such a profound role in their son’s lives? How often do sons allow their mother’s to criticize the kind of girlfriend/wife they bring home? How often do mothers get jealous of the relationship their sons have now found with their girlfriends/wives? A solid friendship, companionship and intimate relationship that they now no longer need to turn to their mothers for.
Here, Achmat’s mother “empowered” her son’s girlfriend, Crystal, at the time, to accept nothing less but to be treated with the utmost love and respect and in the same breath, she “empowered” her son, Achmat to treat a lady with the same respect she deserves, especially seeing that he was so “into” her.
We should take a lesson away from this and stop challenging the women in our son’s lives; instead we should empower them to raise our future grandchildren by “empowering” them with these tools. The behaviour of any man or woman stems from the way they were treated as a child, teenager, daughter-in-law or son-in-law. We sometimes leave this event too much to fate, yet we can choose how we want to treat and what we would like to teach people, especially our sons and daughters.
I have encountered so many unpleasant events with my husband’s mother and I chose to change my stance, attitude and headstrong ways. I allowed her into my heart, my past life and made the effort to make contact with her on a regular basis. Amongst all this, a lot of work went into our relationship, from my side specifically, but I love my husband enough to make the relationship work. Today, we are best friends. I can go to her and speak about absolutely anything and she welcomes my thoughts and me with open arms.
We should be “turning the tides” and stop conforming to the way of society and take away at least one positive thing from each relationship, emotion or thought we have ever had and build an Empowered generation. Teaching people how to love from a young age and spreading that mutual respect amongst one another, starting with our own children. Once this happens, we are opening doors for our children into other people’s homes, lives and specifically into their hearts.
This story has a profound ending:
“A mother-in-law empowered her daughter-in-law and her son to accept nothing less from one another and to teach her granddaughter that she should accept nothing less too.”
Thank you Aunty Sharon for giving me something to take away and use in raising my children. Sometimes we forget the most valuable but simplest lessons.