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7 relationship lessons from my mother

15 June 2015, 13:28 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi - My mother has taught me several things about relationships. Here are some.

Live beneath your means

In my mother’s own way of doing things, it is not within but beneath. My mother could have a couple of millions in the bank and she will always look like poverty stroke her twice. She is proud of it too no matter how hard we mock her for it.

It has saved the family a number of times too which we learnt to appreciate although in hindsight. The more mother gets the less and harder she tries not to spend. No bags, shoes or clothes for her but save, save and save because after bright sunlight there is always rain that falls harder or unbeatable drought. She knew that you would need fees later, need money for household expenses and the mother she still needs to take care of later.

I am a spendthrift but I learnt to try and curb it just from watching the good that comes from not buying the extra shoe I want but do not need!


If you cannot support your child/ children do not have them

I do not have children yet but my mother already has a pre-budget for me that works like a contraceptive. Every time she hears me telling her about a man who wants to take care of me and the children that we might have. She asks one simple question, ’do you have a job?’ Writing to her is not a job especially when you are doing it sat in bed. She will then proceed to tell you the price of Pampers and how many a child can use in a day. She knows it works well when it comes to me because I like making my hair and taking care of myself when it comes to looking right. She will also tell me not to dare bring her children to raise because she is done with that chapter.


No one will ever cheer or appreciate you harder than you can do yourself

Not your children, not your spouse/partner, not the relatives that want handouts and not your parents either.

Someone will always have a bone to pick in your accomplishments, the work you do, your income or the family you are struggling to raise. No matter how small it is to them learn to give yourself a pat on the back because that is the only way you will fight harder and stronger. Passion, drive, joy and happiness will never come from the external around you but from within.


Always keep an eye on your husband/ partner/ boyfriend

Hold your horses women, she did not mean check the phone, stalk someone or check their itinerary. What she meant was as soon as you are in a relationship with a man learn his strengths, weaknesses, faults and dumb decisions that recur. That is the only way you will know how to guard yourself. She focused on the weaknesses especially when it came to spending money; if he is a spendthrift, learn to be a miser. If he does not know how to manage money, give advice but also brace yourself and have a contingency plan because the man will do what he wants and you need to be able to avoid getting thrown out of your rented house.

If he is violent, a cheat, or a womanizer then you will have to know whether you are woman enough to know what you can put up with and what you cannot put up with. Use his strengths to build you and make something stronger for the both of you not a lifeline.


Children need discipline

Let me tell you how we grew up. No videogames, no late night television, no outings on weekends-that was homework time and chore time, and no being found out of the house after six. In fact if it was 5:30pm make sure your heart is already settled from all your day long activity. She better not hear it. If she called you once, there better not be a second time she has to yell. My mother was crazy! But were disciplined. I wish she was still that way so that I could take my children to her but after we joined high school she mellowed out.


Children allowances include: food, shelter, clothing and education

Education was first then the rest would be figured out later. How I admire you if you ever got an allowance because my mother’s allowance was allowing you to live, breathe and eat in her house. Right after she allowed you not to fail in class.


It is never that serious

This I learnt after watching my mother be too serious all her life. She has never actually learnt to stop and enjoy something. At times I feel like in her age she should even forget about everyone and just go somewhere for once because the clock is always ticking. It is such a bad thing to live and not have truly laughed without remembering some tragedy mid-laughter. Nothing should ever be that serious.


Family is important but it can also be a Cancer

I learnt that family can take things abit too far by watching everyone lay back and have my mother take care of everything for them. After she was done, she was useless and persona non grata. True, family is thicker than any water and their blood is your blood. I’ll be damned if I never learn from my mother’s experiences. The same allegiances, loyalty and devotion that I place on people who are not family are the same my family is going to play by. Because family can be much worse or cruel than people who are not family.

While people who are not family could prove themselves to be worth all your struggle for them. Everyone should prove themselves in my book.  Hakuna haja tusumbuane!


Without God, you are like a sheep in the desert

You have to have something that you believe in. After it is all said and done, your mother, father, sister, brother, friends, mentor or even pastor will never truly understand what you are trying to say. At times you even know that if you sit with them for a whole day, they will still not get it. It is at those times that you just sit and talk to yourself, and you realize it feels better when God is in that equation and you are both just having a silent conversation. After you are done He was not there to see but you feel so much better. It is as simple as that!

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