Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Mandela, I'm Not: The Taxing Life of a Mother Coping With Trauma


“Not everyone can be like Nelson Mandela. Some of us are just ordinary,” I explained to a younger relative who was complaining about my mother’s challenging behavior and lack of motherly love towards the family.

I told her that my mother was raised in an Indian boarding school with precious little experience of family life or examples of good parenting skills. The mere fact that she actually stayed around and tried to mother us at all was a miracle in itself. The young relative had scoffed at this explanation and asked, “What about Nelson Mandela? He had a tough life but look at all the good things he did!”



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