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.


  1. It is very true, mothers do the most to fend for their children and act as the support system and sometimes breakdown because the can’t handle the pressure that’s put on them. It’s better to do what’s best for your child with whatever you’ve got so that when the time comes you’ll be proud to say I DID MY BEST.
    I understand the pain you were feeling at that moment, losing your loved ones is the MOST painful thing ever and you could trade anything for that short moment with them. Lost my parents when I was 5 and 6 years old.

    BAD MOMS is a really great movie that speaks volumes to mothers and every parent, you might think you aren’t doing much for your kids but yet you are with the little you’ve got.

    I couldn’t stop laughing through out the read LOL
    -“I’m so petty that, on a bad day, I even look at Oprah’s dogs’ lives and feel like I lost the lottery.’ – This got me Hahaha

    1. Awesome insight Pearl… Such an awesome post that actually made my day. Not a mother but this made me wanna be one LOL. But my mom read it and felt the same so I get it.

  2. This is absolutely beautiful, I also thought of the lion king towards the end which made me laugh even harder when I saw your last words.
    As I read this I felt teary eyed. I relate to this because I have lived away from my mother since I was 17 and now I am turning 23. I live in Boston and she lives in Botswana. I am now a senior in university trying to look for a job. I struggle between staying in the USA for better opportunities or going home finally to be with my loved ones. I am missing many milestones in my mothers life and my siblings too. It makes me miserable most days. But my mother is a strong single mother like yourself and has made sacrifices for me to be able to be where I am today. So I need to do right by her and mostly, myself. I need to be in a place where I can grow the most and be the best I can be. I just wanted to share a bit of my story and tell you that this is a remarkable piece. You are quite the powerhouse Pearl Thusi.

  3. You are my fave!!! And you make so many valid points about how motherhood is a journey. Sending you love and light

  4. All so true and familiar, I am a single mom to a beautiful soul and everyday brings about new Joy and understanding. As far as I know and have established my father doesn’t want anything to do with me, and now the same has happened to my kid. When all this transpired I felt betrayed by both the living and God for i had always prayed that my kids grow up in a different household setting to that which I was exposed to. I was so angry at myself for being so naive,I was frustrated by the whole situation and belittled myself as I felt I was worthless. Yes I felt like this even after giving birth, but let me tell you a secret. ……time healed me!my child heals me till today. When feeling hurt and alone one must always give themselves time to heal, we all health differently and at different times so never rush it. Society really gives men an upper hand when it comes to pressing and serious issues. It’s as though we feel the need to keep them by lying to them and ourselves, all lives matter everyones happiness matters. When you come into someones life and turn it up side down just because society deems it right for you to do so, what are your morals telling you?….I’d say heart but it’s non existent. With all this comes second guessing oneself, feeling inadequate,having no sense of direction and this then affects the kids were are supposed to care for.and still even though you’ve been though hell and back,society still feels the need to judge and crucify you. Life is not always black and white you know. Mom’s have so much weight on their shoulders, a little support would help a great deal. If you have nothing positive to say then please don’t disturb someone else on their lane.

  5. Omg! This is one of the best articles I’ve read this year!
    I initially started reading cause I needed to find some distraction whilst on the bus on my way to college this morning and I’m just honestly blown away by your style of writing. It’s full of Witt, tear jerking moments and a lot of intrigue. X

  6. We need to learn to forgive ourselves so we don’t go around seeking validation but advise and ways to upgrade ourselves for the better so to better love ourselves and kids

  7. wow ! thank you young lady for sharing such an emotional part of your journey of motherhood with us . You made us esp as mothers to reflect on ours too . A job well done to you at your age to possess such wisdom. Love u.

  8. Lol so I’m laughing because of the Mufasa bit, and crying because of everything else. I hope that this will still be here for me to read when I’m a mother too?? I hope you find inner peace, seems like you’re really close.

  9. At 26 I’m about to be a first time mom, and besides nightmares about labor, I’m terrified about whether or not I’ll be a good mother to my daughter. Yes, it’s a girl!

    This comes from the fact that I gave thee most amazing mom in the world. She really set the standard high.

  10. Wow,I Love this,I Love You. Thank you for sharing your fears,we are mothers we can always learn from each other??

  11. OMG i am literally crying, soo profound. God bless you Mama Panther. From now henceforth am gonna start appreciate my mommy more.

  12. Wow this is deep… if God asked you if He could take away your daughter just so you can have your mother back… Would you do it? My cousin lost her first and only daughter (then). Years later she had another baby girl on the same date her first daughter died, she looks just like her. I just believe God brought her back… Idk, that’s just what I think.

  13. What an inspiring blog Sisi, I’m relating to it as a single career driven mom. I sometimes feel like you but I normally tell myself as well that I should not punish myself to fullfill my dreams and happiness because my child because one day she will have her own life and forget about sacrifice I made for her.

  14. I loved this article. One of those I tag “not there yet, but will definitely do well with this info when I get there”. Reading through, images of my mother kept filling my mind, and silently I would tell her I got her now. As a child, dear bad mom, you’re freaking awesome.

  15. O – M – G!!!
    What a beautifully and honestly written post.
    So touching.

    I couldn’t stop crying as I was thinking of a situation I had with my little girl just yesterday.

    We were at a particular store and as we were looking around, between the aisles, I heard her say something under her breath as if she was too “scared” to say it out loud.

    So, I ask her what she said and she says – “oh it’s nothing…
    just thinking of how much I’d like to have that sushi platter, but I know it’s too expensive”, “I haven’t had it on a while though”.
    I was so heart broken that my 7 years old child would say something like that. Not because it was wrong, but because it wasn’t just what she said, but the way she said it – I could swear she was about to cry, I could sense her emotions and I saw it in her eyes. It made me feel like a bad mom.
    And the sushi wasn’t even expensive for goodness sake.

    A child that age shouldn’t have such burnens.
    “how did it get to this?”
    “have I been so hard on her about finances and budgetting that she expects never to get anything she asks for?”
    “am I messing up my baby’s self-esteem by making her feel undeserving of things?”
    “I wish I had so much money that we wouldn’t have to even think of budgetting and keeping our finances intact”

    These are thoughts I was having after she said what she said, as we were walking.
    Then I said to her – “let’s go get that sushi”.

    So Ms Thusi I get it.
    We may as mothers have different forms of mother’s guilt, but no matter how small or big it may seem, guil is guilt. And reading your post gave me so much comfort.
    It reminded me that all I can do is my utmost best and any/everything else, the Divine Power will take care of.

    “I’m the best suited launch pad for her journey”
    “I take full ownership of being her vessel – and I know God will not forsake her just because I screw up”
    Pearl Thusi

    I thank and love you for the above words lady.
    I will use them as a reminder to just relax whenever I even start think of attacking myself with mother’s guilt.
    As an over-analyser and over-feeler, it may be a challenge, but I won’t give up.

    All of the best to you in everything that you do.
    God bless you.

  16. mothers are the best people we have in our lives inspite everything mothers stick to their children, fathers may desert their children but a mother will struggle with their child, am reminded of Brenda song Mama got struck by lightning, while with her child on her back to fetch some water, that is the power of a loving mother.

    i love my mother Pearl and will do anything for her to say thank you.Sometimes I know the words to say to give thanks for all you’ve done, but then they fly up and away as quickly as they come.

    How could I possibly thank you enough, the one who makes me whole, the one to whom I owe my life, the forming of my soul.

    The one who tucked me in at night, the one who stopped my crying, the one who was the expert at picking up when I was lying.

    The one who saw me off to school and spent sad days alone, yet magically produced a smile as soon as I came home.

    The one who makes such sacrifices to always put me first, who lets me test my broken wings, in spite of how it hurts.

    Who paints the world a rainbow when it’s filled with broken dreams, who explains it all so clearly when nothing is what it seems.

    Are there really any words for this, I find this question tough, anything I want to say just doesn’t seem enough.

    What way is there to thank you for your heart, your sweat, your tears, for ten thousand things you’ve done for oh so many years.

    For changing with me as I changed, accepting all my flaws, not loving ’cause you had to, but loving just because.

    For never giving up on me when your wits had reached its end, for always being proud of me, for being my best friend.

    And so I come to realize, the only way to say, the only thank you that’s enough is clear in just one way.

    Look at me before you see what I’ve become, do you see yourself in me, the job that you have done?

    All your hopes and all your dreams, the strength that no one sees, a transfer over many years, your best was to pass me.

    Thank you for the gifts you give, for everything you do, but thank you mommy most of all for making dreams come true.

    I will make her proud some day and fly her to South africa for her mothers day am in Zimbabwe.

  17. Thanx for this blog, made me feel a whole lot better about my guilt.

    It’s very very tough for me and my two children, with one at varsity and the other at a private school.

    I want to reach a time in my life to let go and let God

  18. Wow! I’m so glad I took the time to read this. It reminded me of something I knew but had forgotten, my mom is her own person and has to live her best life.

    I’ve been blessed to have a bonus mother and have over the past years come to terms with the fact that you’ll not win with everyone and as you put it you’re your daughter’s “launch pad”, some runways aren’t smooth. The important part is taking flight.

    I’m a bonus mother to two very different children, who are growing up in two different homes and visit us on holidays. I was always adamant I would do “better”. I’ve had to admit though, that there’s no right way. I just pray they know that I love them and want to see them flourish and I’m doing my best.

    A mother can only hope!???

  19. I am not a mom but reading this really made me cry, because for a moment I gotto put myself in my mother’s shoes. and she’s a single momwho works hard to give the best she can too.
    In just a short moment I got to look at things in a different way and looked back at some of the sacrifices my mom did for me and I’m like woww

  20. I am not a mom but reading this really made me cry, because for a moment I got to put myself in my mother’s shoes. and she’s a single mom who works hard to give the best she can too.
    In just a short moment I got to look at things in a different way and looked back at some of the sacrifices my mom did for me and I’m like woww

  21. Wao, that’s very “pearly” pearl, well put together and every paragraph made a new sense. Thumbs up but I won’t cry. LoL

  22. Thanks Pearl,now I get why my mom does some things the way she does them and I realise that she loves me and has my best interests at heart.May the good Lord bless you lady♥♥

  23. Beautifully written…

    Lost my mother too and it feels like a never healing wound…

    Your daughter is blessed to have you as a mother… Sending you Love… and please, keep writing. X

  24. Hi Pearl
    You are spot on, when you say we as mothers need to put ourselves first.
    I loved your article. Motherhood don’t come with a manual, someone is quoted as saying. But it sure comes with caring, nurturing and loving that are instinctive.

    You are be the best you can be.

    Thank you for highlighting those of us that come from dysfunctional families. It is not your past that shapes your future, it is taking stock of your life and making decisions for your future. No one can take that away from us.
    So don’t feel guilty at all, this is what puts bread on the table for now.
    If your instincts tell you spend more time with your daughter, then you can make the call. Remember it is quality time and not quantity that will bind you together and putting God first in everything is what matters most.

  25. Thank you so much pearl. This was beautiful, you have inspired me to be the mom to my 2 adorable boys (3 and 1 year old).

    Keep up the good work and keep being the ROCK star you are… 🙂

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