I guess if sons are their fathers- then daughters must be their mothers.
I’ve never really gotten on with my mother. From a very young age I lived with a white British family, from maybe 2 months to school age at around 5.
So my first mother figure wasn’t actually my mum. It wasn’t even an African/Nigerian person, it was a white British woman who looked nothing like me- but she showered me with love and care. And at 5, the age your meant to start full time education I went to live back with my birth mother. It was a culture shock!! My British family were loving, affectionate, caring and soft, my mum was a harsh, aggressive, loud disciplinarian. I hated living with her and desperately wanted to go back to living with my British family.
The earliest menomries I have of my mum is a woman who always worked. She had 2 jobs, a career at night and I’m actually not sure what her day job was. But my mum was the main bread winner of the family- she brought in the money and my dad was a student. He worked, but part time and his focus was the studying.
I also remember the beating my dad would give my mum. My dad would fight my mum like he was fighting a man- she’d fight back though- but my dad was a tall athletic man. He would break furniture on her, she’d be bleeding. My dad was callous with it. Even if me and my siblings were there- he was unbothered.
Maybe a year later, my dad left for Nigeria and I rarely saw him. But they remained married- he cheated on her and produced 2 sons, but she stayed. Always stayed. I think she was embarrassed to leave, embarrassed.i also think she didn’t want any other woman reaping what she felt she’d sewn. But for all intent and purposes, she was a single mum- my dad didn’t help financially, mentally or physically. She may have not been divorced legally but there marriage ended when he left when I was 6.
Fundamentally I feel that I am my mothers daughter because I have stayed in fruitless relationship which I know are sinking but I refuse to bail because of a warped sense of loyalty. I become the main care giver in relationships, neglecting my needs and hoping and praying my needs will be fulfilled- knowing they won’t be- but staying anyway. Believing a woman’s role in a relationship is to endure- to sacrifice, to compromise on every last standard I had, until I have no standards at all and I am left with no voice.
My mum called my dad once and his mistress responded – maybe I was 13/14. She responded by informing my mum she was the mrs and they proceedd to argue over who was my dads wife. Eventually my dad told my mum he was taking a second wife. My mum begged, and begged, and begged. And I would do the same throughout my relationship- even though he cheated on me, even though he got someone else pregnant and she was keeping the baby I would end up begging him, just as my mum did my dad.
When I would tell my friends about his baby situation and they would look at me baffled why I stayed- I’d proudly say my dad had kids outside of his relationship with my mother- it’s not the end of the world- knowing full well that the news had destroyed the world I was living in at the time. I took time off work, got prescribed antidepressants yet I was still fooling myself it wasn’t the end of the world- oh yes it was. I just didn’t accept it.
I would cry, I would plead as if my life depended on it, please don’t leave me. I don’t know really why I begged like that but I could not eat or function unless we were together. He’d maybe blank me for a few days and then just when I’m starting to consider whether he is worth it- he’d come back into my life like he’d never left. I learnt to beg like that from my mum. I learnt how to fiiercly guard my man- didn’t matter whether he was a good man, didn’t matter whether he broke my heart repeatedly, I learnt how to guard a man before I guard my own heart through my mother. And I suspect she learnt that from her mother- my granddad had 3 wife’s but my mum’s mum was the favourite- the only one he lived with and died with. I’m sure my grandmother stood guard.
So I guess daughters are thier mothers…. however much they might not agree.