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Seeing Daddy Through Your Broken Mom's Eyes

Daddy Issues

Growing up, I thought the world of my grandfather, uTat’omkhulu, and I still do. He died when I was only seven but he still remains the strongest and most aspirational male figure in my life. And nothing can touch the image I have of him in my head.

Daddy Majestic

When I was a child, I’d imagine my grandfather walking in a desert and coming across a lion. At the sight of my grandfather, the lion would cower, turn the opposite direction and run. Because what lion would'nt be naïve enough to take on my grandfather, right? This image was further nurtured by a story my mother used to tell me. The story goes: one day my sister was playing by the tool shed and almost sat on top of a snake. My grandfather, with his superhero eyes and speed, saw this and appeared just in time to grab the snake from under my sister and hurled it in the air. What?!

When he passed away, I imagined he was in heaven, co-directing this life thing with God. Like it was God---> Tat’omkhulu---> Jesus. This was the structure of rulers in my head. And anytime I did something wrong, the thought of my Tat’omkhulu watching me made me think twice. At the ripe age of 26, I still hold my grandfather with childlike reverence in my heart and in my spirit!

Imagine how different the world be if every girl had that majestic image of their fathers. (For now I talk about girls because the boy/father dynamic is a whole other mine field, which I will unpack in later pieces). I have encountered too many hearts that hold damaging feelings about their fathers. Feelings of mistrust, insecurity, disappointment, resentment, lack, brokenness and abandonment. We all know the story. What touches me even more, is the way these damaging feelings translate in a woman’s adult life and how she interacts with males as a result. There are many contributors to “ daddy issues” but today I want to look at one: Looking at your father through your broken mother’s eyes.

When you are a child, it’s difficult to separate yourself from your mother. What happens to her, happens to you. I see it in my son, when someone upsets me, he will physically charge at the person and body slam them, or wrap his arms around my legs to “protect” me. Bless him shem. That oneness with your mother never leaves you. Now when you watch your mother being cheated on by your father, being hurt or taken advantage of, as kids we learn to own those things as if they are happening to us personally. What makes it even worse is when you become your mother’s therapist and she offloads all her marital burdens on you. “Your father did this and your father did that, his girlfriend came to my work place, he didn’t buy food this month, he’s useless, blah blah blah”. You own all of that and you start looking at your father through the eyes of his wife. And that is the most unfair thing a mother can do to a child.

A child doesn’t have the emotional maturity to separate father from husband. A bad, unfaithful, disloyal husband could be the most loving and nurturing father. It is a mother’s responsibility to protect the image a child has of their father to the best of their ability. You may not have control of what the said father does, but you do have control of how you add fuel to the fire. Putting huge emotional burdens on your child’s little shoulders is irresponsible. It’s like putting a veil over their eyes which they will look through for the rest of their life.

Your marital burdens are YOURS. YOUR marriage, YOUR husband, YOUR choice! By burdening your child with your private affair, you taint the way that child will see and experience men in their adulthood. You can’t shield your child from what they can see with their own eyes, but you can support them and give them a higher perceptive. Teach your child to accept things even when they do not understand them, to see the good in their fathers even if they are not perfect, to forgive, to love past imperfection, to soften their hearts and to separate father from husband. The same way a little girl will always be little to daddy’s eyes, daddy should always remain daddy to baby girl’s eyes, at no point should he ever be seen as husband.

Your mother is a grown-ass woman, it’s not your place to own her choices! It’s not your place to own your father’s choice. The day I learnt to separate my own father from husband, is the day I realised that I have the best DAD a person could ask for. If I was in any kind of trouble, arrested for drunk driving or a stolen vehicle, my dad is the only person I would call. And what he is as a husband, is none of my business. Damnit I have my own situationships to worry about!


A daughter that stays in her lane. Finally.


18 comments on “Seeing Daddy Through Your Broken Mom's Eyes”

  1. Yoooooh if only I read this before my daddy passed.......I could have done better, looked at him better, treated him better....

  2. Eish lady, this touched me so much. So close to home. I guess maybe it is something that moms do in their pain without realising what consequences it has on their children. Beautiful piece!!

    1. Lerato, they'd pass the hell out if they realized the burden it puts on a child's shoulders. When you know better, you do better. I guess they don't know.

  3. Such powerful article touching! Gives a new perspective on the father issues. Thank you for this. You took us home. I'm touched

  4. I've got a very complicated situation about Father, I used to think He is "Almighty" growing up with him without my mum, after I met my mum for the first time in 20 years everything completely changed so much that he hates me now for knowing the truth about the person he is. I still Think he was a greater Father not a good husband, if I didn't not hear about the things he did to my mum.

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