The Woman That Inspired Me The Most

Moms, the unsung heroes

When I’m asked which woman has inspired me the most in my life, without even having to give it thought I’d immediately say, without doubt, that would be my mother.

My mother started out her working life during the Second World War, working in a large department store in Johannesburg as a model, modelling swimwear in the tea lounge. She always stood up for her rights and even led a protest with her colleagues.

After having her family, she chose to go back to being a working woman and thrived on being one. Not to say she disrespected any woman that chose to be a stay at home mom. My three older brothers and I were taken care of by a full time domestic helper whom we adored. She was like a second mother to us and took her responsibility very seriously and with great pride. She really did rule the roost as second in charge in my mother’s absence and did an excellent job at it.

Exemplary work ethic

My mother worked full day at Addington Hospital in Durban, in the Out Patient’s Department for many years and loved what she did and felt fulfilled in believing she was making a difference. Daily she would take two buses to get to work and two back home. She often chose to walk the distance back into town, buy groceries and then catch a bus home. How she managed to carry so much on her own, I would never know.

Most nights of the week she was activity involved in church activities as well as on the weekends. Somehow, she still managed to fit in a tennis game every other Saturday morning, watch rugby and keep diligent watch on many Saturday afternoons for our racing pigeons returning home.

With such a busy life you would wonder how she possibly had time for her kids, but she did. I remember struggling to grasp Afrikaans, so she went searching in town for books to help me and would spend time at night teaching me herself. My youngest brother suffered badly from Asthma and would often have attacks at night, keeping her up at his side all night.

Unlimited ambition

She always set goals for herself. Much to my father’s surprise and ours, she had been planning to buy a bigger house in a lovely, more upmarket area than we were living in at the time and had been saving for it for several years. When she told my father she wanted to go and look at a house that was for sale, he thought she was crazy to even consider it. Long story short, she bought the house and brand new furniture for it.

In my adult life she was always there for me and we’d spend hours just sitting together talking, me doing most of the talking and her listening and then she’d drop those pearls of wisdom. How I miss her so. A truly remarkable woman was my mother.