The mom & daugh­ter duo

Woman & Home (South Africa) - - In Our Experience -

STELLA BUTHELEZI, 47, is man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Ma­sawu In­vest­ments. She lives in Dain­fern with her hus­band and four kids. Her el­dest daugh­ter, Lelethu, 27, is study­ing ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­ogy and works at Craw­ford Pre-pri­mary.

“I was never a ‘coochy-coo’ mom. I worked while my kids were grow­ing up so that I could give them the best of ev­ery­thing. From the word go, Lelethu has been a con­fi­dent, stub­born, feisty lit­tle girl who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Noth­ing has changed and I laugh think­ing about how sim­i­lar she is to me. I wasn’t a ner­vous first-time mom, but I read all the par­ent­ing books and wanted ev­ery­thing to be just so. Suf­fice it to say, Lelethu had her own ideas and my rule book quickly went out the win­dow!

We had our ar­gu­ments when she was a teen, fight­ing about how late she stayed out, and why us­ing a hair straight­ener was out of bounds. I had to learn to let her make her own de­ci­sions, no mat­ter what I thought was best. That sen­ti­ment was most true when she ma­tric­u­lated. Ed­u­ca­tion is para­mount for me, so I en­rolled her at a top univer­sity in Aus­tralia. Af­ter three years, she still wasn’t sure of her path, so she went to work in Lon­don for a year be­fore com­ing home and join­ing the fam­ily busi­ness – some­thing I pushed for. Af­ter a few months at Ma­sawu, she told me it wasn’t for her; she wanted to be an ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­o­gist. At last, I let go of the reins and she’s found her place as a teacher’s as­sis­tant. It takes a lot to ad­mit you don’t al­ways know what’s best for your kids.

I love having Lelethu at home again – she’s my right-hand wo­man. I was in a car ac­ci­dent re­cently and she stepped in to fetch her sib­lings from school, cook din­ner and man­age the house with­out me say­ing a word. When it’s just the two of us, we’ll watch girly rom­coms with pop­corn at hand. On our lat­est girls’ night, we gave Fifty Shades Darker a try. 38 wo­man & home A BRAND NEW AT­TI­TUDE When my youngest son walked into the room, he was shocked, ask­ing, ‘What is

this, Mom?’ Lelethu and I could barely sti­fle our gig­gles!” See ma­

Lelethu says…

“My re­la­tion­ship with my mom has come full cir­cle. We clashed when I was grow­ing up, then I left home to be in­de­pen­dent, now I see her ev­ery day. She’s my sound­ing board for var­sity es­says and my con­fi­dant for re­la­tion­ship ad­vice. I just ap­pre­ci­ate her on an­other level now. Of course, we’ve had our ups and downs – which moms and daugh­ters haven’t? – but she is al­ways there for me. She even dropped ev­ery­thing to come with me when I moved to Aus­tralia to help me set­tle in.

We love be­ing in the kitchen – she cooks and I bake – and of­ten en­joy spon­ta­neous PJS evenings, stay­ing up un­til mid­night chat­ting about pol­i­tics, health, sex or work. As we’re get­ting older, we’re be­com­ing closer.” w&h

‘My daugh­ter isn’t afraid to speak her mind – some­thing she gets from me’

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