The great lessons we learned from our mothers

May 15, 2023

As the world celebrated mothers on Sunday, May 14, Eve Magazine spoke with mothers and daughters to celebrate the lessons and blessings of motherhood.

Annabel Onyango

What lessons have you learnt from your mother?

My mum Ruth is the most caring and selfless person I know. To this day she mothers me, feeds my body and soul, and takes care of me. So, I know now that this mothering thing is a lifelong commitment.

What do you love most about being a mother?

Despite my sons being only three and five, I have learnt that children are the best teachers. My children bring out the best and the worst in me, and every day through motherhood I am growing in all facets of myself, trying to be a better person. My children have also taught me that the capacity to give love is limitless. Also, I love the daily affection I get from my boys. They love me no matter what. They call me ‘Princess’, and shower me with hugs and kisses. Being affirmed like that every day is validating and gives you the emotional energy to continue parenting.

What challenges of being a mum and how do you overcome that?

Motherhood is challenging because a mom is everything to everyone all the time. It’s a relentless responsibility. Also. I’m a perfectionist and there’s nothing perfect about the process of raising little ones. But somehow, I manage every day, and seeing my boys happy and thriving makes the daily chaos and sacrifices one billion per cent worth it.

Sheila Mwanyigah

What lessons you have learnt from your mother?

To stand on my feet, and to keep challenging myself. When I was first offered an early morning talk show on NTV, I turned it down twice because I did not think that people would wake up early to watch it. My mother told me that there was no harm in trying, and that if I did not like it after a month, to let it go. I did, and I stayed on for two years and enjoyed the process. So, I learnt that you must always put yourself out there and be open to trying new things.

Best childhood memory of your mother?

When I was in Class Five, I was sent home for school fees. Then, my mother and father were both police officers and they did not have much money. My mother never got the chance to go to high school, but because she knew the value of education she went to the school headmistress, Miss Kamau, and offered to wash the dishes during school events in exchange for her allowing me to attend school. So, when parents would come for Parents’ Day, she would wash the dishes. This sacrifice touches me so much, sometimes it makes me feel like crying because it reminds me of how much my mother loves me and what she was willing to do for that love. That one act made me realise the importance of school, and so I worked hard. Just being aware to take up any opportunity life gave me to help someone with an education was heartwarming. That was why while I was doing my masters, I would willingly tutor my classmates; it was me doing what my mother did for me. It was passing down my mother’s legacy on the importance of education.

What do you enjoy doing with your mother?

Spending time with her and my nieces, Amira and Amara who are four and eight respectively. We usually go to the forest for a picnic or hang out at home together. It is all three generations together. It is nice to hear my mother say she can see my father in my niece or that she sees her mother in my other niece.  It feels generational, it is wonderful!

Marjolein Blokland

What great lessons have you learnt from your mother?

To always have fun and be happy.  I grew up quickly because of the difficulties of life, but I am grateful that my mother allowed me to be a child and enjoy my childhood. She never unnecessarily sheltered me from the world, but she had a way of showing me that even in hardship it was okay to keep things light and fun. She taught me to fight for joy, and that you should not let life take your joy no matter what you are going through. She has taught me the value of hard work; to never be afraid to work hard. I partially grew up in Europe and at one point my mother cleaned toilets to make ends meet. There you make minimum wage. She has constantly taught me that when life gets tough, you do not feel sorry for yourself. You get up and get going as you carry your joy with you. My mother loves me unconditionally, and by doing this she has taught me how to love others the same. How to be understanding and forgiving and kind. I do not have children yet, but when I do I hope to pass on all these lessons to them.

Best childhood memory with your mother?

Lying my head on my mother’s lap while she rubbed my temple, and sang to me. My mother cannot sing to save her life, but I would feel safe and seen during these moments with her. It was such a special bonding time for me, that even now when I remember I can smell her perfume, hear her voice and feel her hand. Even as an adult, it gives me great comfort.

What do you enjoy doing with your mother?

My mother and I grew up together, she had me when she was 20. She is now 52 and I am 31. She is my mother but she is also my friend. Growing up we did sisterly things together and to date we still hang out. My mother has always been ‘18’; she has always been silly and fun to be around even when she was being a firm parent. When we hang out we go for lunch, a drive or go to the mall.

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