So soon another Mother’s Day is here. Tomorrow, our mothers will turn out in various churches and events to celebrate Mother’s Day. Hitherto, various Christian denominations celebrated their Mother’s Day at different times, but this year, Wikipedia lists Nigeria among the countries celebrating Mother’s Day tomorrow.
I hope all denominations are celebrating Mother’s Day tomorrow. I also hope, as a nation, we stick to a uniform day subsequently. Celebrating Mother’s Day at different dates in a year does not show us as an organized people.
“Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society” (Wikipedia). Who is a mother? In its simplest form, a mother is the female parent of a child. Simple, but significant; we are all alive today because our biological mothers gave birth to us, willy-nilly. If our pregnancies had been terminated, we would not be here. So we thank our biological mothers for that. But today I want to celebrate the real mothers.
I do not see or talk to my mother every day. But just thinking of her alone brightens my day; it fills me with tremendous joy. Is the feeling borne out of gratitude for bringing me into this world? May be, partly, but it goes far beyond that. There is a bond of over 50 years, unconditional love, sacrifices, self-deprivations, prayers, anxious moments and a lot more than can ever be properly expressed or may be better left unexpressed. That is the kind of motherhood I experienced ( still experiencing); that is the real motherhood I am talking about; that is the motherhood I recognize. Motherhood is tough business, from pregnancy to childbirth, dependent stages of a child’s life to semi-dependent stages and then qualified independence. I say qualified independence, because a child is in reality dependent on a good mother forever. Even after leaving the home, s/he continues to call the mother for good counsel and relies on the mother for her maternal prayers and blessings. After death, good mothers go to heaven and continue to pray and intercede for their children.
I dedicate today’s column to mothers of physically and mentally challenged children. Some of these mothers knew the conditions of their children before or from birth, but simply refused to terminate the pregnancies or abandon their own. It is a whole lot of hard work caring for a child who will never be independent; yet these mothers soldier on, bearing their burden with love. On Sundays, you see them bringing these children to church: the blind are led by the hand; while some physically challenged are wheeled in. On week days they take the children to special schools for the physically and mentally challenged. There is one such school near my children’s school and sometimes when I see some of these parents handle these children with so much love and tenderness, my heart melts. I celebrate you; happy Mother’s Day.
I also dedicate today’s column to mothers whom circumstances have made breadwinners of their homes, but have stayed levelheaded and virtuous. Last week, I dwelt partly on how the economic situation has financially castrated many men and the burden of providing for the home has fallen on the wives. These mothers work very hard to feed the children and keep them in school, thereby helping their husbands to maintain some degree of pride and dignity. Some other women in their situation have since jumped ship. There are also breadwinning mothers who are single parents due to the death of their husbands, divorce or separation, but have carried on like the Trojan horse. On this mother’s Day, I celebrate you.
Some children today have the benefit of growing up in a loving home, not because of their biological mothers, but because of the benevolence of other women. Some of these children were abandoned in gutters and bushes at birth; some were taken to orphanages from where they were adopted or are still in the orphanages, but getting all the motherly care from the owners and caregivers. There are also children of poor relatives that the more comfortable relatives took in and are being brought up like their own children. I am not talking about those that have been converted to house helps or existing in subhuman conditions in the midst of plenty. Happy Mother’s Day to you. You are the REAL mothers of these children.
On a day like this, some mothers need to look beyond the celebration and ask themselves whether they are living up to expectation as mothers. Sometimes after Mass/church service, when some children come to meet their mothers, you wonder if they are their biological children. The women look gorgeous; meanwhile, the children look like beggars in the streets. Some women dress to kill, meanwhile the husbands look like their drivers and they cannot be bothered. Or have you forgotten that you are wives as well as mothers to your husbands? Even if your husband is not the fashionable type, respectfully and lovingly nudge him to get better. You can help source for better tailors or a male fashion expert to help out.
Some women say they are trying to keep their breast firm or erect, therefore they refuse to breastfeed. It has been scientifically proven that children, who are breastfed, especially exclusively for the first six months, are very healthy and have high immunity. Of what use are a mother’s breasts if they are not going to be suckled? Who are these mothers trying to impress with their firm and erect breasts? The fathers of the children they are denying breast milk or some other men? And I learnt some mumu husbands acquiesce to this madness! The truth is whether or not you like it, the breasts of over 90 per cent of mothers will take a bow never to rise again at some point, either because of pregnancy, breastfeeding, size or natural aging process.
The much I know, once a woman’s breasts are housed in a bra, especially with a dress over the bra, nobody knows the real shape of the breasts anymore. And the supportive bra gives the breasts and the woman the desired shape. That is enough for the public. Every other thing is private to the mother and her husband. Many women have simply lost their sense of purpose because of the craze to wear less and show body (nudity). Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers who breastfeed their children, especially those who did exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.
Finally, I wish my wife, Florence Oghenerume Ewherido, a happy Mother’s Day. I wish my mother, Mama Paulina Powder Ewherido and my mother-in-law, Mrs. Beatrice Umode, a happy Mother’s Day. I wish my sisters-in-law, Doye, Tolu, Ese and Tekpevwe Ewherido, my aunts and other relatives a happy Mother’s Day. I wish all mothers, especially those who read this column and those who are living up to the title of mother, a happy Mother’s Day. For mothers falling behind in their responsibilities, buckle up now that there is yet time. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers.