Valentine’s Day… should you do it?

I remember it so well, High School Valentine’s day drama…

Absolute pandemonium all over an all girls school.  Hormones raging for a single rose, Oh my…

“Do you think you’re going to get a rose?”, “Me?” I asked, confused, “Am I going to get a rose? I don’t know… I don’t even care…” I lied. Then I thought, shocked that I’d just lied, “Wait, I want a rose?! Oh yes, I’d love a rose. From who…? From a boy, any boy- I don’t care. I WANT A ROSE! Why can’t a boy out there just get me a rose? Am I not pretty enough? Is my smile not beautiful enough? Can’t the boys see the legs underneath this skirt? Maybe that boy who smiled at me at the public library will get me a rose… Does he know my name? Maybe he asked one of the other boys for my name… but I don’t think he’s very cute though… Doesn’t mean he didn’t get me rose. Should I go to the school hall?  What if someone did send me a rose and I’m not there to accept it? What if I don’t and I’ve wasted precious time, time I could have used catching up school work?” Ugh!

Then there were girls who had boyfriends and already had roses or expected a “surprise” from their ‘boo’ in the neighbouring school.  And there were the girls who couldn’t have been less bothered about Valentine’s day drama- they knew they weren’t getting one, why waste all that time? Some felt unworthy and others just weren’t interested.

Fast forward over 10 years later… And I still wonder… will he get me a rose?

I’ve since decided I don’t even like roses. No one should be giving me dead bodies as a gift, no matter how pretty they look. Give me a plant with roots and soil and stuff. I won’t say no to roses or any other flower, they’re beautiful, but please don’t assume I should be extremely excited. I just think, “Congratulations, you just played yourself. You wasted money!”

The thought still counts though. I’m not a complete ass guys- gimme some credit.

I realize today that this was when the act of showing someone you love them had to be a big public display of affection for everyone to see. When expectations got out of hand. And the little things became that much smaller…

The rose has become a symbol and can be anything at this point. Diamonds? A romantic dinner? That thing I hinted at 3 months ago?

Look, I’m a brat, I wonder if I’ll like it or not. LOL. No, I’m kidding, a little… *eyes emoji*

Until just a few years ago, Valentine’s day was still stressful. regardless of whether or not I was in a relationship. I’m either rebelling and asking, “Who the f*** is Valentine anyway?” or I say to boyfriend, “I don’t really care about Valentine’s Day. It’s just a gimmick anyway…” which morphed into, “Everyday should be like Valentine’s Day for us. Everyday should be special.” Was this a dope thing to say? Of-course. Was I lying? Duh.

Thank God the people I was telling these alternative truths to knew I was lying. What I was trying to say is, “You should be getting me gifts every damn day n*gga!”.

I’m calmer about it now. Seriously. It’s so stupid, I’ve read up on St Valentine and how this day came about and I really couldn’t be less bothered. Am I lying? Are you kidding? I’m lying through the clicks of my keyboard. But look, can’t hate a girl for trying because I really am.  And I’m not lying this time.

All those years of brain washing, luring me into trying to perfect attracting male attention and adoration cannot be switched off that easily. The thousands of movies and soapies, the advertising, music, magazine covers etc. Every girl still wants to be ‘The fairest of them all’. I’ll keep it real- I hate that I still want it- but I do. I really wish I didn’t and I hope my daughter doesn’t have these problems.

Come to think of it, it must have been tough for the boys too, wasting their precious tuck money on a dead flower as a show of affection to a girl he thinks is pretty. And openly giving someone the opportunity to reject them. For all the drama we give men we should applaud them for taking it so well when our egos are boosted by rejecting them and they still keep trying. Shout out to the boys who do it and care. The ones who have something to lose. The ones who just chase skirts hoping to score… I’m not talking to you. Go away.

Let me try and get to the point…

I find it interesting that in the wild, its the men who do all the hard work- peacocks, lions and even frogs. They have to fight and compete to prove they are worthy. From building bad ass nests to locking horns and roaring- a spring-time Armageddon of brawn in the quest for reproductive victory, males going to extremes to gain attention. But I guess, with the exception of penguins & a few other animals, monogamy isn’t natural. But even there, there is some sort of ask from, usually the male, of why the female should choose him.  A young man showing you you why you should choose him… is that the beginning of that journey for boys?

The point is, people want to feel special. Men and women. No one is wrong or right. We should all be allowing each other to flourish. We are animals and regardless of whether or not there is monogamy in a relationship, show me you care, it’s welcomed on any day. We get so caught up in surviving, work and raising kids and all that jazz that we forget. We forget to do the obvious. The grand act of getting me a ridiculously large bunch of flowers and teddy bear with a card carrying a message that is genuinely yours, but with meaning you could never have put into words. Even losers trying to get in a girl’s pants should be roaring and dancing on Valentine’s Day- I just hope girls are discerning enough to know the difference and just take the diamonds and run.

Ladies, do something insane for him too. Get him that latest play-station, listen to the frivolous needs of your man as well.  When I say be ‘grand’, I mean be spectacular- but even and more particularly with the little things. Iron his shirt that morning even if you’re not that kinda girl (note- but don’t burn it honey). Just go out of your way.  The truth is- while chivalry will always be welcomed, if we hope gender equality will be achieved, we must also level the playing field on these days.

If you’re not a believer in gimmicks and consumerism- it can never kill anyone to be extra kind on that day and make a big deal over someone you care deeply for. You can come up with something. If you know your partner well- it shouldn’t be hard to make their day.

Better yet, if you want to stop worrying on Valentine’s day, focus on doing something for someone else, rather than wondering what you’re going to get. Hell, even if you give to your yourself, its better than worrying what will be done for you. Giving has never been out done by receiving.

I see you questioning if I truly believe what I’m saying this time… I also wondered if I was lying- I’m quite proud to say that I truly believe this. I actually thought of what has truly made me happy- and a specific moment came up, I was the one giving. No, not when I was giving birth.

Dear Bad Mom…

I’m thousands of kilometers in the air right now and I just watched ‘Bad Moms’ , so buckle up!

About 3 hours before I started writing this post I was losing it because for the second time, after booking my flight late, then moving it- I checked in on-line and chose a window seat so I could be perfectly anti-social. I was already going to be economy- so why not make it worse and find a way to be alone and uncomfortable?

OK, I’m tired so it was mostly just so I could lean over and look at the clouds and day dream. Then I realized they somehow moved me to a middle seat & the flight is full.

Proof that satan is petty.
But this is not the point.

Anyway, after all that- I try to ‘buy internet’ with my new American debt-trap. Declined?! But I have money in there! Technically. Fine- I lower the amount- it works. WTF? I end up having to buy a lot of little amounts of data that add to more than what I initially wanted. OK. But thats also not the point.

As I settle into middle-seat-misery, I try and figure out what I’m going to do with myself for the next 5 hours between LA and NYC. Ah ha- I spot the window-seat-thief that is my neighbour watching what looks like a super cool animated film.

As moms- we love to pretend we hate watching animated films but when we discuss movies that our kids love- based on the expressions on our faces, it becomes obvious that these films are epics for us as well. And I realize I buy my daughter my favorite frozen apparel that I’d be obsessed with if I were her age… ok fine- that I’m obsessed with, until she started loving ‘Monster High’. Huh?!!!
This broke my heart and I felt betrayed that she didn’t make me feel cool and that she didn’t involve me in this new journey of hers of loving these monster inspired barbie wanna-be’s. But, after watching many episodes with her- I then decided I also liked once she clued me in.

Why does it sometimes feel like I’m competing with her friends for her attention?

Hhmmmnnn… But why do they make her love new stuff without telling me first so I can, like all cool moms, prepare for it and keep my street- cred as the coolest of them all? Rude.

 

Again, this is not the point but I’m getting there.
So I notice the movie on this dudes screen and think, “Wait! Since its not like flying between Jo’burg and Cape Town and I can’t sleep because I’m a brat who thinks economy class is first-class torture- then why not watch a movie and be uncomfortable but entertained? YAY!” And there was ‘Bad Moms’. Heard good things about it- and as

there’s a guilty mom in me who hides in the dark depths of my consciousness-

Let’s see if everyone else is feeling the same.
Also heard that it’s hilarious. Look, the trailer was pretty “finish your popcorn type good.
Sure, the trailer was great but to cry 4 times?! Started out with an accidental LOL. A real one. A loud one. Oops… then a few stifled laughs. About 45 minutes in. It was over for me. Was the movie that great? For a mom- I was touched, so yes. And as someone who’s lost a Mother, yes. Many things were re-affirmed for me not only as a mother but I thought so much of my own mom and was reminded yet again about how hard it must have been for her. How much I miss her- and how I wish I got to know her better.

Mothers have to deal with so much guilt… I’m sure dads do too- but this is my blog so if a dad out there can do best and express himself then great. This is where I’m choosing to flourish so please find strength.
Now, like I was saying, Moms have to deal with a lot. And I wasn’t planning on saying this, in-fact, I hate saying this, but, it’s almost socially accepted for dads to screw up.  People measure fathers against the worst and lowest standards. And moms? Measured against the highest- physically and psychologically. God forbid a woman screws up and doesn’t meet social expectations. The stigma is unbearable. Because we carried the kids- we’re supposed to love them more, have a stronger connection etc. On some level, I can understand that- hell, when I’m mad at her dad, I never let him forget it. And I probably never will so he must just not upset me. LOL. (Yes, this is one of ‘those’ lols. lol)

But does that mean we must carry so much guilt for not doing everything we want for our kids? No.
One of the best lessons I taught myself as a mom, was to put myself first. The same way airplane safety instructions require you to put your own oxygen mask on first and then on your child/children. Look, I bungee jumped for my kid to earn the right to say “you can do anything!”.  I will never do it again but, I would die for her.

Point is, I can’t help or save her if I can’t help or save myself.

I can’t teach her how to love herself if I don’t practice self love too… Sure our kids also learn from other people and elements around them but I also want to be the best I can be.
Here’s a confession- I work so hard because I want to make sure my daughter never looks at Beyoncé and thinks, “I wish that was my mom”. It’s not fair on either one of us though, I mean, even I envy Blue’s life, she gets to be annoyed with Beyoncé on red carpets and Beyoncé is still obsessed with her- levels.
But I’m so petty that, on a bad day, I even look at Oprah’s dogs’ lives and feel like I lost the lottery.
On a serious note though, I just pray that even when my daughter turns 16 and decides she hates me and thinks I’m not cool anymore- I’ll be confident that I did my best and her sporadic teen hormones won’t affect my self esteem.

I didn’t have a mom passed 15 years old so I’m so afraid that nothing about our relationship will be familiar.  A part of me is also excited about that part of our journey.
In all of this I wish that as a teen I appreciated my mom more than I did and that my sisters get to know how amazing she was when they become mothers.
I still wish my sisters got to know her better. *sigh*. Whenever I think of my youngest sister I always feel so guilty that I had those extra 5 years with our mom.

What made me cry while watching the film was that I felt like someone understood how beautiful it is to love someone the way I love my daughter but how scary and overwhelming it can also be to try and do and be everything. And that you can lose it or drop the ball, but it doesn’t mean that there’s a better mother out there for your child. As long as you’re doing your best- you’re the best mom ever- for that specific child.

Nothing in this world is perfect. Nothing.

Things will go wrong and that’s ok. Sometimes I worry about enabling my daughter too much- what if she’s not strong enough because I was always being strong for her? I almost warded off a bully for her, then I taught her how to handle it herself.
What if I’m weak and then she loses out on her childhood because she always had to worry about me.  I’m living 15 hours flight away and I worry that she might feel neglected.
OK. Well what if I just be myself and do the best I can. I can’t make it all happen. Who REALLY knows what’s ‘right’ anyway?

And I will not give “everything” up to make my daughter happy. I refuse to, not unless her life depends on it.


This is because I don’t want her to ever compromise her own happiness for anyone else, including me. Our children didn’t come here for us- they came here through us and are on this journey on their own.

We are an initial support system.

Some mothers have a calling to be just that- and that is why they are here- for whatever journey their mom’s had to bring them onto this earth for.  I love those moms. You know, those moms who are at every game and event in the child’s life, who’s vocation in life is to be a devoted mother. Yeah… those moms!  I’m not one of them.  However, this doesn’t make me any less of a good mom. There is a reason my kid chose me. I am the best suited launch pad for her journey. So don’t ever judge a mom by her screw ups or what society deems are her shortcomings- don’t judge her at all. What works for kid number one won’t necessarily always work for kid number two or three either.

Society and Mothers must know and respect that.

Your mom was a drug addict, alcoholic? Damn, I’m sorry. Everything happens for a reason though – she was still better suited for your journey and destiny and it’s precisely why some of the most influential people come from traumatic homes.  For whatever reason- the difference is the using your strengths and power for type of choices you make. Make healthy choices. There is a reason for everything.

Most of the greatest stories come from histories of hardship and struggle and there’s something to learn from that too- that your future is purely dependent on you and only you- no matter what your parents did or didn’t do for you.

I chose to let go and let God with my daughter and understand that she is His first. I was chosen to bring her here. I take full ownership of being her vessel- and I know God will not forsake her because I screw up. And I can only hope to the same God that I’m right.

I suspect the main reason I cried so much was because I sorely miss my daughter right now. I’ve never been away from her for this long. It hurts. And then I miss my mother too. The movie is an emotional journey hidden in comedy but it hits the spot. Hard.

I even realized that I sometimes try and live vicariously through my friends, trying to imagine my mom and I, what could have been… I can never survive even 10 seconds of it because I start being awkwardly emotional so I try not to think about it. Don’t make me think about it if i have alcohol in my system- I’ll ruin everyone’s night. Don’t. Do. It.

The body of the film really just reminded that as long as we love our kids as much as we can and we teach them how they deserve to be treated and how to treat other people- with respect & kindness- that’s what truly matters. I was reminded that when they mirror us, lets be the change we want to see in our children and the world- and them not becoming what we want is a part of their journey and we need to accept that and keep it moving, with love and respect (even if you’re pretending at first) for their choices and just give them the opportunity to learn. We must learn that loving ourselves can also be a way of loving our children. I’m not promoting neglect though ladies and gents… This journey is yours to honor. Respect it and learn from both the good and the unpleasant around you.

Mom- please forgive yourself.

Life is a fairy tale where we don’t always get to experience all our personal happy endings on earth because we are part of an inexplicably large story with billions of other people. Or maybe your “happy ending” was somewhere 3/4 into your story and the rest was to help in someone else’s story. Or maybe God gives us so many little stories that we have lots of little happy endings. I don’t know… but I can only hope you get my point.

As the credits were about to come up, I was hoping for bloopers. I got better. The cast, including Jada Pinkett-Smith and Mila Kunis were sitting with their moms talking about motherhood. And my eyes water as I write this because the world will never know what I’d give to just chat to my mother and have her cuddle my daughter. No one will never know what I would give just for that- and even when I think of that- I know how much my mother gave up for me… day by day, as I sacrifice what I deem necessary for my own child, without losing myself…

The Point Is…
I learn daily how much she loved me through the love I have for my daughter. And I know that she’s right here with my sisters and I, and not just with us- withIN us. She lives in us. And even death can never take that from us.

Is it weird that I just thought Mufasa saying to Simba, “Remember, who you are…”
Ugh. I’m such an idiot. WOW.