By Lungile Lulane | 2018-01-14
Coralee Vilakati is one of the best models that Swaziland has to offer currently.
People have seen her on the Ramp, making modelling seem effortless as she fights to leave her mark in the industry. What many people do not know about her though is that she is a mother to five-year-old boy, Jordan Lee. SCENE met up with the talented mother to talk about the joys and troubles of being a single mother.
When she talks about her baby boy she is quick to mention that he is Jordan Lee, with the “Lee” coming from my name. Coralee says, being a single parent for her has its moments. “I think every parent wish is to raise their child along with their father/mother”. She says for her though, it does not feel like she is raising him on her own because she comes from a family of five children and he is the only grandson to my mother so he gets all the attention. “I have so many helping hands”, Coralee says.
Coralee says being a single mother and a career woman is not an easy job but with the support she has from her siblings to her mother, everything seems easier. “I honestly do not know what I could have done without my mother who has been there since day one, from knowing about my pregnancy, to letting me continue and finish school. When i was done with school she told me to go after my dreams and make them come true”, she says. Coralee says, at first it was difficult to be away from her child and the first modelling gig she did away was for South African fashion week.
Talking about how other single parents face judgement every now and then, Coralee says, she has never faced judgment about being a single mother. “I think a lot of people now understand that people can have children and live apart, you don't have to stay in a relationship unwillingly because you have a child/children together”, she says.
As a single mother i have one rule, my son never meets anyone I'm dating, says Coralee. She says, her reason behind this rule is that, she wants to protect his son from heart breaks. “Children get easily attached, I can deal with a heart break but I don't want that for him”, he says. Coralee says, she believes that until you have met someone you absolutely sure will be around for sometime then you can let them meet your child, if not then don’t involve your child in that relationship. most can't believe it. I have to say I'm serious all the time. My phone cover has the both of us since he's birth month last year, now people look at my phone and ask if he's mine and I say yes, makes it easy for them to believe me. Coralee became a mother at a young age and at that time a lot of things couldn’t make sense. She says she did not know what to make of that situation. I was young and i had to grow up quickly because i was now somebody’s mother, i had to play that motherly role but nonetheless it made me grow stronger. “My son loves the outdoors; we fight a lot because he wants to play outside even when it’s cold”, says the model mom. When we do get along and spend time together, we do lunch on weekends, but ever since I learnt Wednesdays is half price at the movie zone we do lunch and then go and watch a movie, she says.
Coralee says Wednesdays are just dedicated to his son. She says even if she is not around, her siblings know to take her son to the Movie Zone As a mother who goes away on work a lot, Coralee says nothing beats coming back with toys for his boy who enjoys sports. “It's still so hard for me to know which kind of sport his into since he's very young. Everything I bring excites him”, she says. Coralee says, Jordan Lee is always looking forward to Wednesday. “Nothing beats time with your baby. Not even toys can beat that. The way he's face lightens up is priceless”, says the young mother. As a mother i teach my child mannerism, good values, respect others, fear God, as young as he is, he knows he has to pray before eating and we pray together before going to bed, I teach him to be fair to his friends and to share, says Coralee.
The way i parent my son is that i discipline him whenever he goes against set rules, says the mother. Coralee say that his son has a little stick in the house and its stays within his reach because he is the one who goes and gets it when it is needed. “He knows how his punishment goes, three strokes or he gets grounded and it’s always after him crying and begging me not to punish him’’, she says. The young mother says, it breaks her heart each time but she wants a disciplined child. “He never gets in trouble because of insults because he knows very well that it’s one of the things mommy doesn’t want”, she explains. Coralee says she is a very organised person and that goes as far as organising her finances to ensure that her son is well taken care of. “Most children are affected by the way their parents handle money”. She says, I just hope that he will grow up and be a good planner like i am.
Coralee says being asked questions she cannot answer is the order of the day with her son. She says, his son mostly asks questions about God. “Depending on the question I usually tell a story, one that would make it easy for him to understand”, she says. The best part about being a single mother is getting to spend quality time with my son. I value the time I get with him. As long as Jordan Lee is happy, I'm happy. My biggest challenge is not being able to be a father sometimes, but i am doing my best for my son, Explains Coralee. Coralee advices other single mothers not to be so hard on themselves. She says, being strong doesn't mean you don't need help sometimes, if you feel like you need help, ask, it can be a anyone you think is doing a good job with their children. You would be surprised that they can learn something from you too.
“Children don't come with manuals we learn every day, about them, about parenting. Enjoy the ride, a child is only at a certain stage once and you can't repeat that”, she says.
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