Being a mother has given me the opportunity to affect two little lives, in a big way. With that responsibility, comes a great burden.. a burden to not fuck up.
Parenting is certainly no easy fete and I wish I’d known that when as a teenager I’d scream at my mum how ‘unfair life was’ (That was my privilege talking). I often loved to grace my mother with all the things I didn’t like and therefore wanted to change about the way she parented. Little did I know. I'm not yet at the stage where my two children can hurl insults at me (although it’s an inevitable path, partly because it is entwined with raising teenagers but also because I believe in karma) but when it happens I won’t take it personally, as Im sure my mother didn’t.
Because she knew then what I could only know now…. she excelled in teaching me the fundamentals of life: what is right vs what is wrong. Nevermind she didn’t let me stay out overnight at my friends, let me go to wild parties nor enter chatrooms I had no business being in- I entered motherhood with a great understanding of justice vs injustice.
In light of recent events, it really made me reflect on how mothers have the hardest job in the world but we also have the power to stop raising bigots, racists and phobics. There are so many injustices ingrained and embedded into our society that people are so oblivious to their own prejudice, so blinded by their own racism that they don’t know how to separate it from all that they’ve known.
My mother ingrained in me that it was never acceptable to exclude anybody or group of bodies for their preferences or things that they could not change like the colour of their skin. It was always right to respect, learn and understand from and about the world around us and the people that occupied it.
With my two little children, I accept that I might mess up on the little things - but I take complete ownership and responsibility that I will not mess up on the big things, the things that really matter when all is said and done.
I will, as my mother did me, teach them to be accepting, loving and empathetic. I will teach them to stand up for themselves and anyone else who needs help lifting their voice. And I will teach them to own up to their mistakes and not see it as a mark on their character, but a ledge on which to grow and stand tall.
Being a mother is a great burden and a great challenge but one I accept wholeheartedly.
I understand my role and I understand the power that mothers have in shaping this world in becoming a better place.
Dr Kandi Ejiofor
Founder of Kara Bloom Clothing