Mothers and Daughters: 9 Important Issues Mum Didn’t Tell me About Life

What is it about old-school West Indian mothers and daughters? A lot of them found it hard, if not impossible to dish out the normal facts-of-life to their teenage daughters. I guess it’s because they didn’t get much advice from their mothers when they were growing up. I know that my mum didn’t.

I learnt the hard way as a teenager. It was a case of getting my fingers burnt, so I wouldn’t do it again!

These are the things my mum didn’t tell me about life:

 

  • That my Friends could also be my enemies

Friends were the most important things in my life when I was younger. I couldn’t possibly live without them. I did everything to keep them. Mum loved my friends. She always invited them over for tea or sleepover.

But she forgot to tell me that they could hurt me, deceive me, lie to me, stab me in the back and walk all over me. She didn’t warn me that friends were not all peaches and cream. Some of them were like prickles and thorns.

  • That I shouldn’t accept lifts from strangers

I grew up in the country in a small friendly community in Jamaica. We knew each other and I trusted everyone. When I came to live in London I was quite naive and not clued-up about life in the big city.

Mum didn’t warn me not to trust men I didn’t know. On my way home from work one evening a man offered me a lift home. I had waited for the bus for a long time and was glad for the offer. So I got into his car.

Big mistake! He drove for a while then parked his car by the roadside. He then unzipped his trousers and asked me to do something disgusting, which I guess you can imagine. I ran out of that car so fast, my feet didn’t touch the ground. I had a lucky escape!

 

  • That she meant it when she said she would lock me out if I came home after 10pm

At 16 I did what most teenagers do. I went clubbing with my friends. Mum told me to make sure I was back home by 10pm the latest. But you know what it’s like. When you’re having fun, time is the last thing on your mind.

 We were too busy dancing and getting chatted up. Sometimes we forgot to check our watches. One night I arrived home after 10.30pm. I tried to open the door but it was locked from the inside. I knocked the door. No answer! Then it dawned on me that mum had really locked me out.

The doorstep became my bed for the night. If you’ve tried sleeping on your doorstep, you’ll know that it’s quite scary out there on your own. That was the last time I went home after my 10 o’clock curfew.

 

  •  That my boyfriend could break my heart

Mum didn’t talk to me about boys or relationships. When I met my first boyfriend, I brought him home and introduced him to mum and dad. They liked him and gave me their approval to date him.

But she didn’t tell me about the signs to look out for from a cheating boyfriend. I was left to discover that ugly side of a relationship for myself. He did a lot of things to hurt me and the experiences were painful.

 

  • That sex is special and should be valued

I was curious about sex like a lot of other teenagers. I wanted to talk to my mum about it, but couldn’t.

It was an unthinkable subject to her and not up for discussion. And I’m sure she didn’t expect me to experiment by trying it out either. But if you want something that’s available and no one tells you that you shouldn’t have it, you’ll take it won’t you?

 

  • That if I got pregnant she would disown me

As I said earlier, mum didn’t talk to me about sex. My first boyfriend persuaded me that having sex was the right thing to do. He used that old line, ‘If you really love me, you’ll do it.’

Well, not surprisingly, I got pregnant. My mum was furious!  She disowned me and threatened to send me back to Jamaica. She told me that I had brought shame on the family. Maybe if we had shared that important mother and daughter chat about sex, I wouldn’t have been so quick to try it!

 

  • That learning to cook was necessary because one day I will leave home

My mum was a fantastic cook. But she didn’t allow me to share her kitchen. She didn’t think it was important to teach me the cooking skills that teenage girls should master.

When I left home I was a rubbish cook. My boyfriend was better than me. It took me a long time to learn how to cook properly.

 

  • That living on my own would be so difficult

I had a six month old baby when I left home. It wasn’t my choice to leave, but my parents split up. Mum went back to Jamaica and my dad went to live in Birmingham. So I moved in with my boyfriend.

Life was tough. My boyfriend wasn’t the best partner. And I didn’t have my mum to lean on. We lived in a bed-sit, I was a teenage mum, I couldn’t cook and we argued all the time. To make matters worse we shared a bathroom with four other people. I hated it but had nowhere else to go.

 

  • That life without a mother would be so painful and difficult

I was sad and upset after my mum went back to Jamaica. I was only in the UK for four years. We were just getting to know each other properly. And she left me again like she did in Jamaica when I was only four.

Every girl needs her mum around. She’s supposed to be your role model, your fountain of guidance, your shoulder to cry on, someone to sit and have a cup of tea and chat with and the one to run home to when your boyfriend is being a jerk. It was lonely without my mum. Telephone calls and letters to and from Jamaica wasn’t the same as having her around. I don’t think she realised the impact her absence had on my life.

I love my mum to bits but unfortunately she was absent for most of my life. I missed out big time on the mother and daughter relationship.

Growing up without having my mum around has made me value my daughters. I’m always in their faces. I call them a thousand times a day. They’re my friends. I don’t want them to ever feel neglected. It’s not nice living thousand of miles away from your mum. I make sure to tell my daughters about the important issues of life that mum didn’t tell me.

Image Freedigitalphotos.net

What type of relationship did you have with your mum? Was she always there for you?

 

 


10 Comments

  1. Beautiful and touching post June!

    I can well understand the absence of a Mom having lost mine to cancer a few years back. Not hing or no one can replace that vacuum.

    I guess some Moms are like yours and might not want to discuss sex, boyfriends, pros and cons of pregnancy and all those things. Because they feel it’s not needed to talk about such things to their daughters, lest they start thinking about such things if they aren’t already. I think they used to find such talks taboo way back then. My Mom was a little like that too where talks about sex was concerned. However, she made sure I knew everything before I left home.

    I was a rather straight girl and not like the usual teens. Perhaps the bonding and close relationship I had with my parents was the reason, because we used to have open discussions about things at home, though not about sex as such- that was never mentioned. But I was told to stay away from boys and I did just that. :)

    My Mom was a great cook and I loved cooking with her, though wish my kids would learn it from me too. With times changing kids nowadays are much more vulnerable to all that you mentioned.

    It makes sense that mothers and daughters learn to become the best of friends and share everything under the sun – just like friends, especially teenage daughters. I am trying to create that bond with my teens, though it really isn’t easy. :)

    Thanks for sharing these important issues with all of us. :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted..Finding Peace Within YourselfMy Profile

    • Thanks Harleena. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your mum. I feel your pain. My dad died of cancer a few years ago and I miss him so much.

      You were lucky that you had that close relationship with your mom. Although she didn’t talk about sex, she made sure you were clued up about life. When I left home I was so naive. My learning was based on many trials and errors. :-(

      You were a good girl from the sound of it!

      I know what you mean about cooking and kids these days. My teenage daughter will only cook if she’s in the mood. Yes and it’s so dangerous for kids out there these days. They haven’t got the freedom that we had. It’s such a shame.

      It took a lot to become friends with my teenage daughter. There were times when I had to go to her level to try and understand her. It helped by getting close to some of her friends as well. She opened up to me because I tried to get into her world. It wasn’t easy and we’re still not as close as I am to her older sisters. But we’re getting there.

      Thanks for stopping by. :-)

  2. I would probably agree on the things you have said Junie. There are times that all of the things our mom said is true because it gives us great lessons that we can learn. As a matter of fact, I also did some mistake which I learned and said to myself that mom is right in teaching me these lessons.
    TracyAnn0312 recently posted..activities for adhd studentsMy Profile

    • It’s good when you have your mum around to give advice. You’re lucky that she’s there. Treasure her :-)

      • You are definitely right Junie and I am lucky to have my mom because he is the one that always tell me good things. Thanks for the advice in treasuring her.
        TracyAnn0312 recently posted..חינוךMy Profile

  3. June,

    I just came across this post after reading the recent one you did for today.

    Wow, we have so much in common and I can’t wait to come and spend the night with you in London.

    Yep, thus goes life and I learnt a lot of my lessons the hard way too. My mum told me some things but in a way it wouldn’t sink, definitely not over tea haha.

    I am trying my best with my sons and especially far distance, it is tough too.

    Hugs, Marie :)
    Marie Abanga recently posted..Some Reviews of my bookMy Profile

    • Marie, yes it seems we do have a lot in common. I get on much better with my mum now. But in terms of life I had to learn the hard way.

      It must be rally tough not being with your boys. But I know that one day soon you’ll be reunited. Stay strong :-)

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