Dispatch staff on being a mom

With Mother's Day celebrated across the country today, five Daily Dispatch reporter's talk about what it means to them to be a mom


I started lamenting my daughter’s absence three years before she left.

How would I do it, I thought. How would I get through my days without hearing my only   child singing in her room or picking her up from ballet or burying my face in her hair and   planting a kiss on her soft cheek?

How long would I last without smelling her sweet Anya smell and marvelling at the single   golden curl at the nape of her neck?

Yet I wanted her to go.

I wanted her to leave our small city and revel in everything Cape Town and UCT had to offer.

In the last months before she went to her university residence, I savoured all the mommy chores.

How many more times would I pack Provitas into a lunch box, boil her beloved broccoli or  wait up till 2am to fetch her and her friends from Numbers?

Suddenly these everyday tasks became a privilege, although I knew I’d never miss imploring her to hang up her clothes.

And so, after years of dread, the nest is empty. Her room remains tidy, the bathroom has a strange minimalist look about it and mom’s taxi has gone out of business.

Our communications have whittled down to phone calls and texts and now when she comes home, I immediately begin to fret about her leaving again.

The goodbyes never get easier. But between that joyful hello and the teary (on my part) farewell, we still do what we’ve always done. We sing in the car like Donna Summer and the Supremes, we walk near the sea and we laugh like drains. We also bicker like we always have, but our verbal skirmishes soon morph into affection.

As much as I miss the tiny girl who once could not bear to be parted from me and who I love immensely, I am thrilled my 25-year-old is carving out her own life and career and fulfilling her wanderlust.

It is as it should be.

When I wake up on Mother’s Day tomorrow, it will be with the knowledge that she is even further away than usual, but my hand in East London will stretch out to hers in London and hold it tight. — barbarah@dispatch.co.za

  • By MBALI TANANAWhen I gave birth to my only child, Nkcubeko Tanana, 6, I was born again.Life was redefined, and she gave me a different perspective that made me want to be a better person – someone she could be proud of for all the days of her life.Nkcubi, as I call her, is such a happy child with a personality all of her own and a lot of love which is heartwarming to go home to.

She is so disciplined, very respectful and independent, something I wish I could take all the credit for her, but she is the perfect example of how it takes a village to raise a child. As a single mom, many people have played a significant role in her life in supporting me, either when was I studying or now working.

Motherhood means I always put my daughter first, against all odds, to ensure that she always has what she needs as well as the opportunities to explore what the world has to offer. It helps that I have a powerful, God-fearing super mom who makes me want to be exactly the same for my daughter.

I have learnt that even though we can’t control what the future holds, what or who they become, there’s a great fulfilment in knowing that “While I’m alive, while I still can... I will keep doing my part”.

The pride when I watched Nkcubi perform at the Guild Theatre in her first ballet concert, the first swimming gala, it was priceless because that is just a few of the many experiences I want her to have and I treasure her enthusiasm.Because I know the world can be a cruel place, it’s my duty to ensure that Nkcubi is a happy child, experiencing everything I have and much more, even though she is raised by a single parent.

Yes, there are times I wish I could disappear when she wakes me up at 5.30am on a Saturday morning asking me to make her breakfast.

Then there are those evenings when I dread bedtime stories, because I’m just so tired.

Motherhood is an ongoing journey mixed with perfect imperfections and those are the very moments I miss when I am not around her. — mbalit@dispatch.co.za


Mother's Day is a day for many people to show their appreciation towards mothers and mother figures worldwide.

As a mother we also reflect on the road travelled in motherhood and what the experience has taught us.Mothering my Limani Kwanzah Ford, 9, my only child, has been an emotional journey of love, patience, endurance and lots of learning.I feel all sorts of emotions as I recall the time of his birth.

I was at my lowest point. I had no idea where my life was going but could recognise it was not where I wanted it to be.I suffered what now I recognise as post-natal depression which lasted for a year.

I was numb half the time, and felt no emotions about anything. I had no opinion about anything and no wish to live or die.I did not know whether I loved the child or didn’t.

I breast-fed my son not because I wanted to bond; I just wanted my being to acknowledge that I had a child and this breast-feeding went on for four years.

While many mothers breast-feed because they believe it to be best for their baby, for me this was the simplest way of paying my dues as a mother.

I had hoped it would help me form an emotional connection with Limani, but it was only a year after he was born that he would smile and touch me.

It was only then that I felt alive again, and felt like a mother.

My son’s name is Limani – which means to plough.

I named him long before I gave birth to him thinking that children are like the earth that God gives us – they have wonderful potential but should be carefully nursed so that they can achieve this potential.

Kwanzah is a Swahili name meaning “blessings of the first fruits”.

He is the only child I will ever have so I trust that God has blessed my first fruits.

Seeing this gentleman take shape, becoming his own person has been delightful, seeing him formulate opinions about his little life and me, seeing him becoming a member of society he brings so much joy. -simthandilef@dispatch.coza

  • By ARETHA LINDENThere are many things that test the strength of a woman, and for me motherhood is by far the biggest test that I try to master every day.Having to raise three children – a teenager and two toddlers – is no child’s play.However, I cannot for a single moment imagine my life without them.My children have shown me that I am able to love immensely and forgive wholeheartedly.I was a teenager when I gave birth to my eldest son.I feared that I will not be able to mother him and give him the love he deserved. However when he was placed in my arms at three minutes past Valentine’s Day, I knew the funny feeling I felt in the pit of my stomach, was nothing but love.

    Now at 15, he has become the “protector” of his two little siblings who call him “Bhuti”.My one and only daughter, at four, is the boss of the house. I have learnt a lot from her. Yes, you can learn from your children.

    She taught me how to stand my ground and get things done my way. For instance, insisting to wear her Wellington boots on a warm summer’s day or to negotiate for the television remote and successfully do so.

    Baby No3, my one-year-old son, I call him “last-born”. Now I think God was just sending me love with this child.He is a kisser – in the middle of feeding him, he would just plant a kiss on my cheek.And without saying anything, because he can’t really talk, I can tell the depth of his love for me.He is the centre of the family and he makes us laugh with his animated facial expressions.

    My children are my true tests. Every day through them I get to know how much I am able to love, care and nourish.

    The wet kisses and random hugs are what make my day.

    They also mean I am never left alone, but seeing their cute smiles and hearing the random “Mommy, I love you” – in that moment, I realise I do not want to be left alone.

  • By SIYA TSEWUDecember10 2017 changed my life. Not only because baby Lelo came into the world and we finally met the person I was carrying for so long, but because Siya was “reborn”.
  • There are many things I thought I knew and I was adamant about that changed when I became a mom.I am now more patient and calmer than I have ever been in my life. Dare I say it, I no longer have road rage.

    Those first few weeks of trying to figure out this new little person who relied on me for everything, also allowed me to get to know a different side of myself. And I think as she grows, I will continue to grow.In the first three months, I think I suffered a mild case of postpartum depression.

    No amount of reading during pregnancy could have prepared me for what was to come.Breastfeeding is sore. Having to be dependant on other people in those first few weeks after birth because I had a caesarean section was hard.Feeling inadequate because I was not my usual domesticated self was hard. Admitting I needed help was hard.While being a mom is the most rewarding experience, it is also the most life-changing.

    Lelo is only five months old but she has brought so much joy into our lives. The last five months feel like forever and have been an opportunity for learning and unlearning.

    My mother is my template on how to be a mother. There are things she never did that I will do for my child, but there are things that she did that I will definitely do. Being a new mom has given me a new respect and appreciation of my own mother.

    When we got married, my husband Lonwabo said he was eager to meet Siya the wife and Siya the mother. These are both roles I love playing and I am still getting into them.

    Every time I look at our daughter and she gives me her fabulous gummy smile and I see those chubby cheeks, I am reminded that truly uthando luka Yesu Lelodidi (Jesus’ love is of a unique kind).- siyat@dispatch.co.za