Beef farmer: I am caught in the middle of my child’s separation

Liewe Lulu is Food For Mzansi’s no-holds-barred agri agony aunty. While she receives many letters from across South Africa, preference is given to those who are working in the agricultural sector. Yes, farmers have issues too, and Liewe Lulu’s got the tissues

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Beef mommy in the middle from Mthatha, Eastern Cape writes…

Liewe Lulu, 

I am the mother of two adults and proud “glam-ma” to two beautiful grandbabies. We are a beef farming family, and everyone has their part to play; my son manages the business, and my daughter handles the administration.

Our eldest (the son) is single and lives on his own while our daughter, her husband and her children live with us on the farm.

She married three years ago and birthed two beautiful boys, but things have soured in the relationship, and they are now separated.

As a parent, watching your adult child go through a marital trial is not something you could ever dream of.

I love my son-in-law like my own child.

To support himself and his family he runs a small trucking business and rents about five hectares of our land where he runs a vegetable enterprise on the side.

Accusations of infidelity led to a rift in their marriage and a few months ago we got caught in an ugly squabble between the two. I do not know if it was out of spite, but he decided to remove her from his medical aid. Not one to take things lying down she now wants us to evict him from the farm.

We were even given an ultimatum and also threatened that she would cut all ties with us should we let him stay.

The whole reason why my daughter and her husband ended up on the farm with us was so that they could save up and get a place of their own. That obviously did not happen.

I get along well with my son-in-law, and he pays his rent on time. We also hardly ever see him as he moved out and only visits the farm to handle his business.

We have had our parenting skills criticised and were told by my daughter that we are unsupportive and enabling my son-in-law’s infidelity. I don’t know how much more abuse I can take from my own child.

Day in and day out, it is constant abuse. I told her that this is my land, I decide if he will leave or not. She has since been giving us the silent treatment.

My daughter is 27 but is walking around our home like a pouty 13-year-old. What do you think Lulu?

My Dearest Mommy in the Middle

I do not think anyone wants to see their grown child go through the pain and the agony of a broken heart.

While I am not a parent, I can imagine the pain twice magnified seeing your daughter go through so much hurt. It must be a tricky situation to both bear witness to their pain while also feeling almost helpless.

However, for lack of a better word, I think my parents would “uncreate” me before they allow me to act like a brat.

I mean, is anyone ever really too grown up for a can of whoop-ass? But we can’t all choose violence like me.

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It is not always easy finding your place in your very adult child’s life. But never underestimate what it means for them to know that there is a safe spot to land while they are going through such an unimaginable crisis.

Emotions are high but eventually everyone will find acceptance and look to the future once again. It is commendable that you have prioritised the future of your grandchildren.

Divorce or a separation, whatever the case may be, is hard no matter who the players are, but Middle mommy, you are right to keep your distance. It is between the two people who are married and does not involve you directly.

First things first: you need to explain to your daughter the bigger picture here, which is her children and the legacy I think her alleged philanderer of a husband is trying to build.

You cannot kick someone who is family to the curb, more so when they make up half of the genes that created your grandkids.

While your daughter is going through the most, how you show support is by continuing to be a harbour for your grandchildren in this storm. Let them know no matter what that you love them, that your relationship is strong and unbreakable and will never change.

Be a safe space for them to share any thoughts or concerns freely. Be a grandparent. It does not mean interim parent, be a consistent light in their lives while they are also going through the darkest of times.

Write to Liewe Lulu

Liewe Lulu is Food For Mzansi’s agri agony aunty. The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical and/or psychological advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.
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Liewe Lulu

Sassy, classy and a bit bad assy, no stone goes unturned as Liewe Lulu answers all your love woes. She’s a ball of wisdom with all the answers to your burning questions, from personal hygiene to getting and bedding your lover. Liewe Lulu has got you covered.

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