Being a single mom can be tough; it’s not easy helping your children grow up to be great humans. Craig Wilkinson, founder of ‘Father a Nation’, says it’s important for boys and girls to have a male figure in their lives, but that women have a vital role too.
He says that it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s what you do that really matters. He’s given us these tips for moms:
Value your own womanhood
When you value your own womanhood, you won’t accept any behaviour towards you that devalues you. When you respect yourself, you will find that men begin to respect you too. How much you value yourself will be how much other people value you. Remember Steve Biko’s words, “The greatest weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”. Showing your children that you are valuable, tells them that they are too.
Understand and value true masculinity
As a self-respecting, self-loving woman, acknowledge and value true masculinity for the gift that it is to the world. Validate and affirm true masculinity when you see it. Just as men need to love, honour and respect women and womanhood, men need your love and respect. Not when they don’t deserve it of course; that’s when they need your honesty and to know that you will not tolerate their behaviour. If you let your children know what is good behaviour by not accepting bad behaviour, they will learn how to stand up for what is right.
Don’t accept false masculinity
Be assertive in communicating what’s okay and not okay. Men will treat you the way you allow them to. Never accept any behaviour from a man that makes you feel demeaned or ‘less than’ in any way. As soon as it happens, make it known that it’s not acceptable. Call out false masculinity and find men and women to stand with you in resisting it. The minute you see a man treating you or another woman in a way that is not acceptable, tell him. Make sure your children know this too.
Be a great role model, mentor and mother
Model womanhood. Be the woman you want your daughter and the next generation of women to be. Be the woman you want your son to marry. Teach your daughter how to be a great woman – strong, gracious, tender and powerful. Affirm your son’s masculinity, give him permission to be a man. Mentor young women who don’t have a mother or significant older woman in their lives. You have the power to impart the power and beauty of womanhood to younger women. Use this power.
Be free of bitterness and anger.
Get rid of any bitterness and lack of forgiveness. No matter what bad experiences you have had with a man or men in the past, take back your power. Don’t let anger control you. And don’t generalise that experience to all men. Bitterness is a poison you don’t deserve. Set yourself free and model to your son and daughter that men are not all bad, that true masculinity is a great thing. You don’t want your daughter growing up hating men and your son hating himself.
We, women are the core of society, the backbone of community. We can make a big difference in the world simply by teaching our children how to love and respect each other. But it starts with you – learning to love yourself is something we’ll talk about in upcoming editions.