Mother's Day: Profits And Reality of Motherhood, by Morakinyo Babajide-Alabi
Newspaper Column

Mother’s Day: Profits And Reality of Motherhood

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By M. Babajide-Alabi

Today is Mother’s Day in some parts of the world. It is the day that has been set aside for the celebration of our mothers and motherhood. On this day, we give special recognition to our mothers, some of whom had been through thick and thin and struggled to make the best possible for us

The role of mothers in the larger society cannot be under emphasised, especially this crucial times when most governments are too “broken” to care what happens to the traditional family institution. As governments are daily shedding their roles of providing for their citizens, mothers duties are not becoming anything easy.

In recent times, Mothers have taken in extras roles in the society. They have to bend backwards everyday to make sure that despite the failures of governments, there are no excuses to let their children add to the ever growing population of demented individuals on the streets. The streets are full of broken individuals who lack the love and warmth of mothers. They are not difficult to identify.

It is in recognition of mothers’ roles that some countries create special awards for them. They are appreciated because mothers are special beings who are often regarded as sources of existence. They are special human beings that deserve appreciations in our hearts as they juggle everything together to make the basis of any society a good one.

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It has been said and widely accepted too, that good families translates into good society. While fathers are regarded as the head of the family, mothers are known to be the administrators. This means they are more or less responsible for the day to day running of the homes. They are closer to the children, know their needs, emotionally and physically and easy for them to put a wandering soul back on the straight line.

How often we, as individuals, celebrate our mothers is actually not for the society to determine for us. However, I guess (just a guess) that as a result of the gradual loss of societal values, some people came about and decided that if care was not taken, mothers’ real value won’t be worth much any more in the future. This is glaring, as we see many mothers-to-be gradually becoming examples of how not to grow.

Every year, we roll out the drums and red carpets for our mothers. Just like  every other man created celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, Father’s Day, Valentine Day, Brother or Sisters Day, the commercial value has far overtaken the importance of these days. It is therefore not surprising that the appeal of Mothers’ Day has indeed gone from appreciating them to making hefty profits out of them. Many wares of merchandise are produced and sold at profits every year to mark the day.

Multi national companies care less about the plight of the mother who is striving to feed her children or struggling to hold down her home. But to them, it is a day that has to be exploited to the hilt. Today is one of the days that stores, restaurants etc make the most profits selling on the sensibilities that we all love our mothers.

Just like Valentine, I had no idea of the concept of Mother’s Day in my growing up years. I have many times tried to blame this on probably the fact that I lost my dear mother in my early years. But I have come to realise that not many people of my age group actually celebrated any Mother’s Day until in the mid-nineties.

Events in our dear country Nigeria in recent times are indeed tests for motherhood. As we were trying to mop up the mess created by the abduction of the South-South girl Ese and the attendant ugly stories, another scandalous story broke out.  We woke up to the news of the kidnap of three girls from a boarding school in Ikorodu, Lagos. Just like the legendary kidnapped Chibok girls, it first started like a tale by the moonlight until one had to do a reality check. You find yourself arguing that it could not have taken place in Lagos.

Lagos? The Centre of Excellence? It sounded unbelievable. More so, these girls were not abducted in one outskirt local school, but right in the middle of the historical city of Ikorodu. If my Geography has not failed me, Ikorodu is a well populated city and the school in question is not in the middle of nowhere like the Chibok High School. Although the city seem always in the news, mainly for bank robberies and ever present clumsy motor traffic, one can now safely add kidnap to the city’s “tourists distractions.”

The kidnap has come as a shock. And more shocking, according to groups and individuals across the state was the slow reaction of the state Executive Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to the incident. It took the government representative quite a while to issue any statement assuring Nigerians that efforts are in place to get  the girls back.

What else can break the hearts of mothers who had sent wards to school only to be told they have been kidnapped? It is a nightmare that cannot be imagined. The thought of kidnap of their children on  school grounds would be the last on a mother’s mind.  The last question that any mother would have considered while dropping off her child in a boarding school would be to ask the proprietor if they had enough guns to fight off kidnappers.

There is the belief of security and invincibility in these boarding schools. As a result, the government, citizens and parents refused to flow with modern times. We refused to acknowledge the fact that evil lurks every where now in the world.  Gone are the days when boarding schools in Nigeria were secured places where children are groomed to adulthood in discipline and independence. Unfortunately they are no longer sacred places where students are shielded away from the complications of the larger society.

These events have also called into questioning the security systems of schools in a volatile society such as Nigeria. It was reported the children were kidnapped after gun shots were fired in the air. One needs no FBI operative to tell us that most of these schools security systems do not go beyond employing local men to stand by the gates, and in the extreme equip them with  local dane guns.

Events in other parts of the world should have warned us that thoughts of evil people cannot be rationalised. We can still remember the attack at the Peshawar Army School in Pakistan at the end of 2014 when terrorists walked in to the school and killed as many as 121 students among the 147 declared dead. These were innocent kids who had obediently gone to school on this faithful day.

While we may argue that the Nigerian situation is for ransom purpose, we must however remember that no child should be a pawn in any game, monetarily or physically.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day today, let’s pause and offer a prayer for the kidnapped girls and their mothers. Let us all look beyond the merchandise, cards, gifts, dinner dates and remember mothers are to be appreciated everyday, not once a year.

Published in the Sunday Vanguard of March 6, 2016. CLICK HERE

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I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.

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