• September 29th, 2020

Raising Naneni - Mothers are not superhuman!

They say a happy parent raises a happy child, but in the same vein a mother is expected to raise a good and happy child no matter what her circumstances are.

I have heard many excuses for why a father is a dead-beat or why he has become an occasional parent.  Either, it is because he is not married to the mother, they were not even in a relationship when she fell pregnant and even when he is married to the mother, the excuse is that the father has to work or it is not his responsibility to be at home raising the children. 

I look at my nanny, who is 24 years old. The father of the child has disappeared and she does not know where he is. The baby, now three months old has no birth certificate because he refuses to come see them. She travels to work in the early hours of the morning with a baby on her back. Before this job, she was an unemployed single mother. And somewhere out there, someone is praising her for being strong. No, we do not want the fallacy of being strong. It’s a lie. We are flesh and bone. The world has normalised the idea that mothers will make it, no matter the circumstances because we are superhuman. And fathers, because they are weak, well… just understand why they are not model citizens when it comes to parenting. But, if baby dumping is anything to go by, clearly not all mothers are “strong” and none should never be expected to be because we are all human.

My male friend updated his WhatsApp status and said: “Why is it that when a father is unemployed, he is called useless. But the mother is called strong". To which I replied and said: "It is because the mother stays! The mother stays and fights for her child. The father would usually run or parent periodically. Growing up, I have seen absent fathers pick up their children for “Christmas” and complain about anything, from the child’s behaviour to the child’s clothes. And to top it all off, his family too will chip in to conclude how the mother is doing such a bad job while completely ignoring the fact that their male relative is only a parent during Christmas. 

Michelle Reid (RIP), was an African-American mother of two, she wrote the never before published passage below. She highlights the misconception of how black women are supposedly strong, when to the contrary we are just human.

There is a myth going around.  A terribly tragic myth. It is that black women are strong.  The truth is we are not particularly.  And yes, we can break.  Malcolm’s mom, well they say she went crazy. Dr Ben Carson’s mom could tell when she felt like it was all too much to handle and actually signed herself into the crazy house every now and then while raising her boys. And no one knew until she was finished raising them. Tupac. Well, poor Afeni, a woman brilliant enough to newly acquaint herself with law journals while in jail in order to win her way out without the advantage of an expensive lawyer, was taking a vacation on crack cocaine while her son treaded precariously toward manhood. Had she known how very much he needed her I am sure she’d have considered another option.  But how can we know. 

 Mother’s are only human, and motherhood doesn’t come with a manual.  Hell, even Winnie turned into someone Nelson couldn’t recognize.  Enough pressure, enough heartache, enough reality over enough time can do that to a woman.   When the children all burn up in the house because the mother left for a few minutes (for whatever reason, hell pick one) no one says, “Hey, at least she was there.” No.  oh, no.  They lock her up, give any child who managed to survive over to the bowels of the “state” and voila!  no one ever poses the question: “Where was the father?”  In the new millennium no one asks that.  The worldwide societal and media protection of the machinations of men is astounding. Men who wander away from being a parent, parent intermittently, parent from the soccer field or basketball court after their workday ends when it’s time to do homework and dinner, baths, kitchen cleanup, school projects etc.; men who parent from the new wife’s bed, from the office, from the golf course, from the watering holes of America, are not in question. No one e nquires after their whereabouts. Black women are not strong.  We are special.  We defy definition.  And in our presence transcendence occurs.”

*My name is Paulina N. Moses, 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. soljett@gmail.com

Staff Reporter
2020-03-13 09:55:00 | 6 months ago

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