My mother lives on in me - and my kid behaves just the way I did

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
Daughters can reject most of what their mothers stand for only to see their mothers in themselves later in life. / 123RF
Daughters can reject most of what their mothers stand for only to see their mothers in themselves later in life. / 123RF

Mother has always been a great influence and guiding light to me. From the days she introduced me to Readers' Digest and the Singer sewing machines, to the day she took me to a modelling agency to correct my pigeon toe.

She taught me to read and write before I could even talk coherently. Most of her flaws were forgivable, and all her cardinal sins were lifelong teachings to us. The good stuff always overshadowed everything else, and occurred often enough for me to almost think she was perfect.

Come to think of it, I always designed my life to be the opposite of what she went through. She is the "reverse" role model in all things that really mattered to me.

And somehow, this has always worked wonders, and I have never found myself having to look far out for inspiration, even with things that Mother had little knowledge or talent in.

She birthed six kids, in exactly 10 years! I always respected her for that.

I can imagine the strength it takes to carry six lives to term and wash all their nappies by hand!

So, I had one child with disposable nappies, and a washing machine. And have become so vain I have to consider the effects of pregnancy on my body before even thinking about skipping a pill.

Then Mother had a full set of AMC pots, and they were not just décor. She actually used them to cook daily. If you had visited our home in Daveyton, you would have believed that we had "TV-type" dinners around that massive dining table that could extend to fit 12 seats.

But that was not the case. In fact, I grew up allergic to beef. Or so I thought. But, I was actually so repulsed by the taste of almost everything the woman cooked, I gagged at the first spoonful.

Looking back, I suspect the reason I never really grew taller after age 10 was because I threw up most of my suppers.

Well, she remains the only person I know who burnt chicken wings to coal. In the microwave. Fortunately, I grew up to be a great cook.

There was also that tone she would employ with me when trying to be some sort of dictator. I think the more I gave her a blank stare, the more she would raise her voice. Then I would ask why she has to speak so loud when I am right here next to her.

Then came my son!

He does not eat beef. Okay, he does not eat mutton or lamb or pork either. And chicken sometimes. But he is not a vegetarian and actually eats all the beef and chicken from McDonald's. And always makes chicken for himself. I guess the problem is that I cook the other meals.

And he never responds to me. Even when he is a few feet away and I know for sure he heard me. I can always see that he is rolling his eyes at me. His eyes are big and loud.

And even pretending to be wiping them does not mask the eye-roll. I know it. I have the same big eyes and would roll them to the back of my neck every time Mother issued another command too!

The other day, when I made him take out all the pots from the cupboard and rewash them as I will not tolerate his dodgy workmanship on the dishes - I knew I had turned into my own mother.

Here I am, with a kid who does not appreciate my cooking, mismatches my Tupperware lids and leaves stains on my precious pots!

It seems no matter how differently I do things, I am just like Mother!

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