• September 26th, 2020

Raising Naneni - Are you neglecting your child?

“You cannot compare my children to some of the children of the wealthiest men in Namibia, my children are well taken care of and fed,” said an elder taxi driver. I have come to know Tate Nuujoma as the most responsible father and husband. 
Unfortunately, while having money is critical to our survival, the amount you have will not determine the quality of parent you will be. We have witnessed many children of well-established Namibian men claiming to be hungry despite the wealth of their fathers. You may recognise these children by their fancy surname but their lifestyle is no different from that of a child born to poor parents.

We are a generation that was raised by communal farmers - who woke up before dawn to make sure we were fed. Yet, we the millennial generation, is struggling to feed our children. Of course, life has become extremely expensive and we should always put that into consideration. While our ancestors saw children as an investment, millennials view children as liabilities. Or maybe we just do not value human life.

Human life begins with an embryo, human life begins with a baby. And sadly, we should be able to put a baby’s needs before our own, if we cannot do that, do we lack empathy?  And a world filled with people with no sense of empathy is a disparaging one. 
What should be disappointing to us is how parenting is merely reduced to money and we use our financial standings as reasons for being irresponsible parents. Parenting more than anything, comes from having heart for your children, having a thick bank account is big a bonus. A woman can sleep with rich married men for an iPhone but neglects her child because she has no money, she says. Yet, her motivation to do the unscrupulous act of ‘selling’ herself is merely to acquire luxury but not to feed her child. A young man says he cannot support his child but has a girlfriend in every town, what are you feeding women that your child cannot eat?

In most cases, we are only failing to support our children because we put ourselves first. We do not want to grow up. We want to be ‘slayers’ until the day we drop dead. And to whatever the expense, our needs for luxury and to impress our peers will always come first. Every parent, whether a CEO or salesman knows that with the coming of a baby, our finances are altered to accommodate the new addition to our lives. 
If you had N$1 000 before your baby was born, that N$1 000 does not disappear. It is still there, it is only diverted to a bigger cause. You just gave birth and you want to order the longest weave and buy shoes from the boutique. Yet, your child wears one nappy half the day because nappies are expensive, you say.

When Naneni was born, I spend a few years without visiting a clothing store. I actually realised that, we do not need so many clothes and we actually do not need to wear a new outfit everyday. I had to make that sacrifice. I would buy so many nappies each month because Naneni hated being in a wet nappy. One day while shopping, the shop teller stopped to ask me, “you are rich ne? You can afford so many nappies. Me, I only buy one bag.” I responded to her and said, “No I am not rich. But you should compare my hair to yours. Your Brazilian hair is very expensive compared to my doekie.” She laughed but agreed. As a woman, they tell us that we should not let ourselves go just because we have children. But I believe there is a difference between letting yourself go and just being a pretty “normal” mother who does not dress like Miss World. 

Society’s needs are unlimited, while resources are limited, for that we will till the day we die have to practice opportunity costs. In that same regard, we can all chase the ‘American dream’ but many of us will not attain it that is why we pretend to be wealthy by overspending on luxury at the expense of our responsibilities. 
I am not at all oblivious to poverty and unemployment. I am not advocating for the young to reproduce irresponsibly. I am simply stating that, the amount of money you have, should not determine your role as a parent. 

*My name is Paulina N. Moses (PRP), mother to my four-year-old daughter, Naneni. This column hopes to create momentum for positive parenting by candidly discussing everything about parenting, while creating a network of millennial parents who support and cheer one another on. raisingnaneni@gmail.com

Staff Reporter
2020-05-08 10:24:41 | 4 months ago

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