Tara Fela-Durotoye On Growing Up With Two Stepmothers And A Mother Who Wasn’t There For Her
Many know her as the head and CEO of House of Tara but not many know the depth of her story. In this episode of King Woman, Tara speaks on growing up with family feuds, neglect, and much more.
Read excerpts below
Growing up in retrospect, when I was a child, I couldn’t wait to leave home, I couldn’t wait to get married. I got married very early, I got married at 24 because I came up from a polygamous family.
Now as an adult, I’m able to look back at my childhood and see some of the interesting things and enjoy the memories but at the time, I was looking for exit.
My father had two wives when I was growing up, my mum wasn’t one of them so I grew up with two step mothers. I was an only child to my both parents so every single thing that I had was in half.
So, I hoped and I aspire that my own daughter or children will never have that experience of just not knowing. As an adult, I almost can tell why it happened the way it did and I’m grateful that I went through that experience.
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I had two step-mothers and it was interesting that I had both one fantastic step-mother and one that wasn’t that fantastic. I had one who didn’t have her own children that I became like her adopted daughter. I also had one who was in the house when my mum was there.
And so they had a banter and they had that hatred between themselves and I was now the subject to express her hatred for my mum and so I was treated very maliciously on the account that she was the one whom my mum more or less was always having this fight with.
She had her own two children, my other step mother didn’t have any children but she was kind and she’s very kind to me. I grew up always wondering what my mum would have done in every situations.
So when I was about to go into secondary school and my father said no, because my older brother didn’t pass the exams and although I passed the exams, I couldn’t go because he was older than me.
So I was now then deprived of entering secondary school just simply because…I felt that because my mum wasn’t there because if my mum was there, she would have fought the battle to ensure that I went inspite of the fact that my brother didn’t do well.
My kind step-mother stood up and had a big fight with my father and said no, this can’t happen. It doesn’t matter whether your son passed or not and even if he’s older, she has to go.
I remember trying to get into the university as well at the time when you wanted to go into a particular school and that school didnt give you admission and they post you to another university that you didn’t want and you have to work your way and my step-mum was very gentle and I always wondered if my mum was here.
So, there was always that wondering if my mum was here. I’ve grown up to realise that my mum is different and my step-mum was very different, but at the time, I missed her a lot.
I was one of those children on visiting days where if my step-mum didn’t come, maybe if it was my mom and she didn’t come, then I would say, ‘oh, well, my mum didn’t come’ but because she was my step-mum, I thought, ‘oh, did she not come because… was she not here because,’ and I had to build my own internal strength and internal confidence.
My step-mum was great but I was always curious. I saw my mum as someone who neglected me. I felt that she left me and she didn’t stand up for me enough . so, she wasn’t there when I got my first kiss, she wasn’t there when I had my first crush, she wasn’t there when I started to see my period, she wasn’t there when I had all these experiences.
So, I always wondered and I think I grew a lot of silent hatred for my biological mother. As much as my step-mum did a great job, so much that all that I am today, I credit to her.
That childhood was something that I loved to hate and I think it was one of the determinations that I had where I was getting married and I proposed in my heart that my marriage had to work. It had to work because I didn’t want my children to go through the same experience that I went through.
When I felt I was being oppressed at home for whatever the reason was, or I wasn’t being fairly treated, there were many times when I hoped that my mother was there to stand up for me.
My mum wasn’t present in the house. I never lived in the same house with my mum until I became 21 or above 21. So what I took away was, this is a woman who decided that she was leaving this huband of hers and she was an entrepreneur and she had now gone out and she now had this successful business (es), so I knew her to be this woman who was very successful but then she left me, her child, with someone else.
For me, boarding school was exit, it was such a joy to leave. So, all the time I was in boarding school, my mum visited only once. My step-mum came sometimes but it wasn’t all the time. The only time my mum came wasn’t even a visiting day. It was one of those times she was driving past the school and stopped by.
My mum as a successful woman and I saw her grow her business, so for me, it was, ‘she left me’ and I can never do that to my child. I could never allow someone else to raise my child whatever the circumstance is.