I must have woken up on the wrong side of my bed or else, Mother’s Day is really starting to grate.
As children my sisters and I would strip the church bushes of all their flowers for my mother because yes we loved her, but maybe out of some childish notion of guilt also; to make up for all the nasty things people said behind her back. She didn’t have the same Mother’s Day as all the other women in our church.
Our mother was Catholic. We were not.
In recent times I have called to wish her a happy day but have done nothing special for myself. Today, I have woken up to a lot of smugness and it is starting to annoy me.
Don’t get me wrong, raising a child is very, very hard. Trying-to-crack-a-palm-kernel-with-your-teeth hard. Walking-on-hot-coals hard. Heck some mornings I wake up and wish I was still in labour. Raising a child is especially hard when – like me and so many other mothers here – you don’t have help and are trying to work/working from home. I am not trying to diminish this. But something about today has got my goat.
I think that a lot of times in trying to celebrate one group, we isolate lots of others. ‘Being a mother is the most important job in the world’ is starting to sound like it should come with a ‘But’. A friend sent me a lovely message today that ended ‘If God didn’t think you could be a mum, he wouldn’t have let you have kids’ or something. I beg to differ. Have you ever seen a child suffering from drug or alcohol withdrawal? Abused kids? Sexually molested ones?
So what am I saying? I am saying that today maybe we should celebrate not just mothers biological or adoptive, but all child-rearers and carers, guardians. We should celebrate people who are trying to have kids, or who have lost the kids they have carried sometimes to term. We should think of ‘aunties’ and’ uncles’ who teach our kids things we cannot because everyone has a special something to contribute to the upbringing of a child.
We should celebrate those who teach them to blow bubbles and to paint, those who read to them and watch them so that parents can have a life outside the family unit, those who love our kids and treat them like theirs, those who raise them and feed them and clothes them and pay their school fees when their birth mothers are daunted by the task and their birth fathers have followed their erections out the door, grandmothers and grandfathers who give illegitimate children the protection of their names (in African societies).
Let’s celebrate people everywhere who are trying to keep children alive; strangers running from conflict in South Sudan and from heavy fire in Syria. Let’s celebrate those strangers that tried to help children in the Westgate Massacre and those that hid children during the Biafran war and the Holocaust.
Maybe we should scrap Mother’s Day and Father’s Day or merge them into ‘Guardian’s Day’. That way we can also celebrate people who chose not to have kids, because without them to keep the balance, Mama Ngozi in my village would not be able to bear the 12 kids she needs for farm work.
I’m off. Chores beckon as per usual. But just in case anyone is asking, I would like for the clocks NOT to go forward in the UK on ‘Mother’s Day’. Losing an hour is not my idea of a good time.