Being honest, I must say, I use to be unapologetically against many things I saw my mother do while I was growing up. I have always said, “I will do things differently when I become a mother.” I would say things like, “How could a mother put that before her own children?”

Boy, did I give my mom a hard time growing up. Thinking she was a selfish mother at times who didn’t always have our best interest at heart. I felt I knew her reasons, and in my eyes, they were always bad ones. I felt, no reason was ever good enough to sacrifice the comfort of a child.

Thankfully, as we mature and grow physically, mentally and psychologically, we learn that we don’t always know the reasons behind what people do — we learn to see the bigger picture. No one truly knows another’s plight until they are in their shoes. I was judging ‘the book’ — my mother — by her cover. “Cover” being the poignant word here because she tried to keep a cover on the true reasons for doing things the way she did. In the end, she did the best a woman and mother could do, with the circumstances she was given.

As a single mother of four children, she was trying to makes ends meet. She would work to feed us, clothe us and put a roof over our heads. Put us in activities to keep us out of trouble, and allow us extracurricular so we never felt left out. All this, while being a woman — a woman with needs, wants and desires, just like everyone else. Should she be emotionally or physically neglected simply because she bore children? Should she not have, simply because we need it?

Reflecting and putting life into perspective as a woman with three children of my own, I now know better. I now understand my mother and some of the reasons behind her decisions better. Child-rearing is not for the faint of heart — one parent or two. It can be rewarding yet at the same time thankless. It can be exciting yet challenging. And most importantly, we’re in it for the long haul, even when our children are grown, we are still never truly finished with our job.

So in the end, knowing what I know now, I want to say I understand my mom. I now realize I may have done some of the same things the way my mother did because I am my mother’s daughter.

With love and the deepest gratitude, your daughter,

Natalie Wilson,
September 2018