From the breakout star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Potomac, Dr. Wendy Osefo shares the story of her complicated relationship with her mother, Susan Okuzu, and how her Nigerian upbringing has affected her life, her success, and her role as a mother.
When Wendy Osefo was growing up, her mother was everything she wanted to be in life. A towering 5’9” figure, Iyom Susan Okuzu imposed an air of expectation, responsibility, and decorum into life that Wendy strived to meet. As an adult, this imposing rigidity represents everything Wendy would choose to change about herself.
In Tears of My Mother, Wendy explores the paradox of her mother. Her mother experienced unbelievable loss, yet maintained her grace at all times. She had been heartbroken time and again, yet loved without reservation. Her love was coupled with discipline, and her kindness paired with a childlike sense of selfishness. An aloof disciplinarian, she was unknowable to Wendy.
Susan arrived in the United States with a single suitcase and the fierce determination to make a better life for herself, and her future family; in Nigerian culture, a parent is only as successful as their children. Wendy met that challenge head-on, earning a doctorate in public affairs and community development and becoming the first Black woman to obtain a PhD in public affairs-community development from Rutgers University (Camden). Now a professor at John Hopkins University, a highly sought after commentator on network and cable news channels, a loving mother of three, and a devoted wife, Wendy has given her mother bragging rights for life. Yet she still grapples with how much she owes her mother and how she will blend her American experience and Nigerian legacy to raise her three children to be successful and happy in the world they live in now.