Every woman is not your enemy

15 Oct

Having breezed through an easy pregnancy, and with the control freak in me showing, I had it all worked out. We planned to have just one baby and I had absolutely no intention of experiencing a natural birth.

When I awoke from my planned and scheduled delivery I gazed at my son’s angelic face and just knew he would be an easy baby.

But my son had other plans!

I soon discovered there was nothing ‘instinctive’ about breast feeding – thank god for African mothers in law who’ve no qualms about grabbing your boob and teaching you exactly how it’s done.

I walked around in a daze watching my nights of sleep fast disappearing before me. Who’d switched my easy baby for this uptight little person who woke up grizzling at the sound of the tiniest mouse tiptoeing past the bedroom window?

I glared at the paediatrician as he patiently explained there was nothing wrong with my baby, that the hardest part of having a baby was after the birth. The pregnancy and birth were the easy bits apparently! He wondered why women no longer shared the truth about life and motherhood as their grandmothers had done.

I wondered the same thing! After all there’d been no shortage of advice on how to make sure I didn’t pay too much attention to the baby in case my husband strayed.

Leaving the paediatrician’s rooms that day I vowed to always speak the truth to other women about life in general.

My gorgeous nieces are the closest things I have to daughters and here are my top five ‘wisdoms’ for them that I wish African women spoke more openly about:

1. Every woman is not your enemy

Next time you meet a woman, don’t look her up and down and judge her clothes, hair, looks. She’s so much more than that. Don’t assume every attractive woman is after your boyfriend or husband. Make a point to be genuinely nice and mentally tick off one complimentary thing about her. Even if she turns out to be a witch it will have been good for your own personal growth.

 2. Get to know the girl inside you

African culture is loud on your role as a daughter, sister, wife and mother. Take time to meet the girl inside you, the one that no one speaks for. Understand what makes her happy, her dreams and hopes. As you go through life make a point to bring her along with you, don’t lose sight of her. She’s the one person who’ll always have your back.

 3. Hire your partner

You would never hire someone for a position at work without going through their resume, interviewing them and checking their references. So why would you give anyone such an important position in your personal life without doing the same? Ask yourself what value he brings to your life, what’s your return on investment? Conduct a thorough risk assessment as you would with any big investment

 4. Always have choices

People treat you the way you allow them to. When you find yourself accepting treatment that’s less than you deserve, ask yourself why you’re allowing it. Often it’s because of cultural pressure, social stigma, fear of being alone or financial dependence. Look your fear straight in the face and once you can see it clearly you’ll know your choice. Never give up your ambition and financial independence. Go back to school, pay attention to your career, aspire to own that late model car yourself instead of looking for a man to give it to you. Invest in yourself because when life throws you a curved ball that investment is what gives you choices.

5. Live a life you’re proud of

Live a life that’s true to who you are. Don’t reduce yourself  to monitoring phones and stalking your partner ‘to prevent them cheating’. That girl inside you has good intuition, listen to her. No amount of monitoring can ever guarantee men won’t let you down. Go into a relationship with the knowledge you’ve done your due diligence and that should you be proven wrong you’ll have the strength and dignity to come out of it wiser. Every relationship requires compromise and negotiation but know your ‘non negotiables’. These are your core values, they are who you are. Don’t trade them!


We’d love to hear your ‘wisdoms’ for other African women.


One Response to “Every woman is not your enemy”

  1. Patience Madambi October 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Five valid points and to add on, here are two of my ‘wisdoms’ for other African women gained through my lived experiences!
    1. Every woman IS different
    If we took time to analyse our close circle of friends this becomes apparent. I went through some tough times for being a fair skinned African woman with freckles who was highly introverted. It is sad that some women will use their visual perception of another as a basis for disliking them and then making it a mission to verbally discredit them.

    The worst boss I ever had was a woman. I was in my mid 20’s, newly married and glowing and she was in her 40’s and getting divorced. She tormented me to no end only to learn from one of her friends in whom she had confided that she had chosen me out of all the candidates because I looked so ‘proud and sure of myself’ and she just wanted to be my boss! My life was made even worse when she discovered my Ndebele (back then) was questionable! She would even refer to me by my skin tone…it was insane! Well the good that came out of that was that when I moved up the ladder I made a conscious decision to mentor young women.

    Wow! Love the hire your partner point! Oh if only…but then again But it’s hard to be young and in love and be expected to take an audit – but at a later stage when for some reason you find yourself single again it’s so much easier. So we can only share this and hope for the best.

    My second point would be that there is no absolutely correct handbook on babies! Can you believe I took my daughter to my doc simply because she was such a good quiet baby? After hearing the horror stories about sleepless nights I expected nothing less. As a young teen I am still waiting for the advice that she will torment my life to come into effect. So far, she remains calm and level headed. So my word to other african women would be sit back and observe what type of baby you have birthed nd then act accordingly!

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