We Are Not Our Mothers

Disclaimer: Please note that this is from a general perspective of an average Liberian family. If the shoe does not fit, do not take me to court- I sold my red shoes!

Recently, I saw a meme that talked down this generation’s dating habits and suggested that we should aspire to be and date like the older generation, i.e. act as they used to in the “normal days”. I know you’ve heard people boast that their grandparent’s relationship lasted for over 70 years but these days, we struggle to get past the “just talking” stage. Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself and the many Liberian women I know, and those I don’t, who will read this piece and say “yeah-na, yeah-na, yeah-na” or just #MeToo.

I’ll start out with a bold declaration: our mothers and aunties made it acceptable to have side chicks. Yeah, I said it. Maybe there was no name for it, but most of us have that one uncle who was married, yet he fathered children with another woman. Our grandmothers were even worse because they welcomed the second woman and as time passed, they started saying “Dah how men looking” or “What man you know da na geh outside child?” It was shameful, yet it was normal. Our mothers watched and quickly took notes to apply to their own lives. We have siblings ‘from the same Ma, but not same Pa.’ When our fathers get another woman pregnant, she is still our “Aunty” and we eventually see her getting along with our mothers. No bush for a bad parent, so we would not try to throw them away, but can we get real for a second?

It is hypocritical that a generation of people who normalized cheating can now tell us, “We are not serious about relationships” or “We don’t know how to keep men.”

A  typical Liberian parent made it very clear that education was way more important than any social life. They wanted us to go to school, get all A’s and grow up to become their doctors or lawyers. There was no discussion on how to date, when to date, or who to date. Then all of a sudden, after two decades of no grooming of social or dating skills of any kind, we are supposed to magically be in committed relationships “like they were” *major side eye*.

Can you imagine what amount of voodoo it would take for a generation that watched their parents cheat to now have perfect relationships?

I know some people have non-adulterating parents and all, but let us talk about those uncles and aunties that have accepted infidelity as part of our culture. Raise your hand if you only have faithful uncles in your family. Raise your hand if you do not have cousins that are from different mothers, but same fathers. Keep those hands up and applaud yourself. Most of us cannot relate to your perfection, but we admire you.

Moving on.

We can no longer just aspire to be like our parents when it comes to relationships, we have to raise the bar a lot higher. We are a generation of doers, so this is how it must be done. Liberian young men must step up to the plate and learn to start loving just one woman. Mind-blowing, I know, but they can try. We need our men to love our women and to make beautiful Liberian babies that share the same ma and same pa. We need to break the endless cycle of cheating husbands that make their children call their side chicks “Aunty.” As big as these aunties are, we need to start calling them side chickens.

Liberian women need to stop accepting less than what they deserve in the name of “Marriage na easy”. If a husband fathered another child outside of marriage, he broke his vow to you and that marriage. You do not owe it to him or Liberian people to stay and raise all the stepchildren. You owe it to yourself to do what you feel in your soul is right for you. If that is staying, then so be it – but do it for you.

The new generation of Liberian women must aspire to have healthy marriages that nurture children to go on to respect the sanctity of marriage. Marriage na joke oh!

Call us crazy, but this generation must not follow in the footsteps of our parents. The next generation of Liberians does not want our parents “normal days”- if it means disrespecting and destroying the very pillar of society: the family. We want to experience love in more ways than we saw. How many of you actually saw your parent kissing or holding hands? We have to do better to show our children that love is not just abstract, we have to show them the physical manifestations of soul connections. We must create a life around our children that shows love in action. We are not going to continue to accept the cycle of cheating with multiple women as if all of our men came with cassava stick eyes– if you know what I mean. It does not matter how tempting the outside is, the home should always be enough to return to. If our dating habits are not like the generation before us, it is because we are figuring out how not to love like our parents did.

We are not our mothers.

We want more. We demand more and that is what we will have. My name is Zuleka and thank you for coming to my TedTalk.

Randell Dauda, Author

Randell is a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech in Virginia, U.S.A., studying Planning, Governance, and Globalization. She worked in higher education in Liberia from 2015-2018. Randel is passionate about social justice issues and proudly identifies as a Headwrap Enthusiast and an Online-Storyteller.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Fatu M. Kaba says:

    Hahahaha, you made my day. I can’t stop admiring this😍😍😍💪💪

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