Who says you can only honor mothers on Mothers’ Day? We honour mothers, as well as other mother figures in our lives everyday- at least I do. I planned to write this for Mother’s Day then I figured, everyday these words matter.
For lots of people, this ‘honouring’ will include ‘reminiscing’ -almost reliving in words – the struggles of their mothers in order to appreciate them; struggles often created and upheld by major aspects of an unjust cultural and traditional system. For lots of people, the only memories they have of their mother are the difficulties in marriage, domestic, cultural life and the lack of financial freedom among others.
I absolutely get that motherhood is a celebration of joy and sacrifices but if all you celebrate about your mum are her pains and her resilience to these very damaging experiences, can you honestly say that the cultural expectations of women have seen your mum live with a lot of that joy?
Women’s lives should be better – politically, economically, mentally.
Every so often, take a moment to reflect – reflection informs personal growth. Take some good time to reflect on the prevailing system(s) that by veto, make women go through unnecessary struggles just to make sure a section of society is happy.
As you think on this, look back at yourself on what you can do to make it easier. Make sure you’re taking steps to unlearn, relearn and individually create and support efforts to make sure oppressive systems are a thing of the past, so that your own wives, daughters and sisters have better experiences than your mothers. It’s easy to yell at what should be done by others, self reflection and finding your own duty in this struggle, especially starting at home is important. You can never defend the rights of women who are unknown to you unless you recognise that those within your home and environment have rights. If you try, yours will only be hollow ‘problem statementing’.
I’ll remind you:
*Women/More so mothers, are laden with unnecessary unpaid domestic labour in addition to their 9-5 jobs-whether that is in the market or office. Usually most can’t find the time, resources or energy to pursue further personal and professional development. Create conducive environments and opportunities for women in your circles to grow too.
*Stop spending so much energy not minding your business. Moving from conversation to conversation, discussing single women and their choices around marriage, often lending a voice to norms that force women into marriages which become their bane. Mind your business from today.
* You find power in policing women’s bodily choices – including women whose lives you know nothing about. Massa why?
*You very easily corner widows and divorcees with your perception of them based on how soon they should remarry. This shouldn’t be your place unless you are invited to this intimate talk.Let women be free to make choices devoid of societal pressures and expectations.
*You legit support the notion that women (who sometimes are mothers) do not have the capacity to rule nations or heads units. This is high key disturbing and shouldn’t even be heard of.
*You love your mum and sisters, but are quicker than lightning to blame victims of domestic violence and other forms of sexual harassment . I’d like to question this your love.
*You love your mum and sister but constantly objectify women- young and old, mother, ‘non-mother’. Like I said, I have questions about this your love
These reflection times should help people unlearn toxic behaviours towards women, not just mothers. And also respect that ultimately motherhood should be a choice not forced unto women.
Less glamourising of women’s suffering, more work towards making these burdens lesser..
Josephine Agbeko is a professional in climate justice and sustainable agriculture, sustainable business and gender development. She has deep interests in telling the stories of women and is particularly the wonder stories of women who have shattered glass ceilings and continue to do so. She is passionate about development in Africa and the power African women wield. She blogs at www.musingsofxornam.wordpress.com.