I am a confused mother. My husband and I went out separate ways when my daughter was yet a baby. Our marriage ended so badly I resolved not to marry again. As a result of how badly the marriage ended, my daughters father has gone about his life as though we do not exist and has since remarried and now has a full family with another lady. And because I chose not to remarry, my daughter has never had a father figure in her life.
Still, I did my best to be as good a parent as possible, be a good example. I neither drink nor smoke, I do not sleep out or keep late nights, I don’t bring men to the house. I have tried my possible best to keep my love life from her and also protect her from undue male attention and I think I succeeded.
To my great horror, I decided to do a random search of her room, something which I actually have never done before, only to come upon a diary where this young girl has been documenting what a horrible person I am.
I almost died of shock.
I am a woman of meagre means, yet from the little I earn I make sure I meet this girl’s needs. We are relatively close, we gist and everything and I would have sworn she was happy. But according to her, I am selfish and strict. I don’t let her wear the things her mates wear, I did not make funds available for her to go to Ghana for a school activity despite the fact that I had money in the house (it was church contribution money). She has only 2 pairs of shoes (true but that’s what I can afford, I have just 3 myself), I don’t take her to eat pizza and ice cream etc.
I have never felt so totally unappreciated in my life. A child I put my life on hold for? A child I deprive myself to pay fees for? A child I starve myself to give food?
I raised this girl with what I thought was the fear of God only for this to happen.
My mind is still reeling. I am yet to confront her because I am still so shaken. For God’s sake where did I go wrong with this one?
I feel your pain. I know how deeply it could hurt, when a child diligently judges you by some warped standard, documenting your “failures” and finds you wanting. Carrying on as if they carry the world on their shoulders when in fact you are the one carrying it for them.
To start with, since you write like a person of faith, I implore you to go to God to plead with Him to heal your heart of this painful hurt, and ask Him to help you forgive your daughter. (Feel free to shed all the tears before Him and pour our your heart and hurt, after all, that is why He is your Father and He prefers that to a vengeful backlash from you).
Then after a while, when the pain and hurt has subsided considerably, and you are clear-minded, let your daughter know you have read the diary. For me, I would then try to dispassionately give her an explanation for the issues she raised. I would conclude by telling her my challenges, with examples, and reassuring her that my love will always remain constant and I will always be there for her, no matter what.
You see, these children are frequently swayed by stuff they see on TV, holding up western values as the bastion for excellence in life. They then try to copy all kinds of weird things into a culture that neither recognises nor has patience for such antics.
Then again she might be mingling with children from wealthy homes and start longing for what they have that is out of your reach.
So please, swallow your hurt and pain.
Reach out to her again from a place of love (and if you can, after talking about it once, don’t raise the issue again).
I wish you the best.
●Devaan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org