Teach Your Children To Recognize Your Humanity
My younger sister (11) had hurt her leg whilst playing with her friends; on that same day, my mother got back from her shop limping, she too had hurt her leg.
My sister barges into my room grumbling “Sister! Mummy is just sending me anyhow, she doesn’t even care about my leg, she’s just thinking of herself”
I could tell my sister came to my room to vent and get my sympathy but instead, I asked: “Are you not also thinking about yourself?” She grumbled “ehn! It’s meant to be daughter before mother” That was when I immediately replied her “Because the woman is also not a human being abi”
She went quiet and just dragged her feet to complete the errand
It is very easy for society to put up certain standards that make it difficult for children to recognize their parents as human beings with feelings and not just superheroes available for them at their every disposal.
My younger sister had completely refused to empathize with her mother because her own needs came first; she was unable to show compassion to her mom after she had returned from her shop after a long day to no light.
The last thing our mother needed at that moment was to put her own pain behind and cater to the pain of another person; instead what she needed was to bath, drink a cup of tea (which was what she sent my sis to boil), gather herself together and then call her kids to talk about their day and nurse their wounds.
Parents’ especially African parents often find it difficult to open up to their kids and show that they are humans just like them. There’s no open and safe space where you talk about your feelings and day with your children, maybe for fear that it would lead to disrespect or they simply lack the ability to communicate with the children on that level.
But in order to nurture children with empathy towards others but most especially their parents, it is very important to open up and humanize yourself to them.
As a kid, I always thought my mom didn’t care about us; I would always see her buying things even when she said that there was no money. But as an adult, I came to the realization that she was simply a stress shopper. She loves fashion so it was a no brainer that shopping relieved her temporarily of any stress or hardship she might be facing.
This made me realize how one scenario can be thoroughly misinterpreted due to lack of knowledge or incomplete information. Now, I can’t help but think to myself how stressed she must have been when I was a kid that she had to always buy something new even in the face of impending hunger.
Communication is key, maybe if we had a safe space where parents and kids spoke openly, I would have figured that she was stress shopping and may have had more compassion and empathy for her.
Parents get angry and frustrated because their kids and sometimes partners continue to take and take from them but they fail to realize that many of them are unaware of the fact that you also need to replenish and fill your cup!
You are the ONE to let them know! Create boundaries! There’s nothing wrong in putting yourself first because it shows your children that even as a parent especially a mother, you still matter!
OPEN, HONEST COMMUNICATION HUMANIZES YOU!
It shows that you are not perfect who will make mistakes but most importantly, it shows that you need care and support just everyone!