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Today we celebrate traditionally all those who have experienced child’s birth- the mothers of our land. It is a day when children, young and old, honour their mothers and in various ways demonstrate love, gratitude, and respect for the work they have done, and the love they have put into raising them. The teaching of mother’s love is reinforced in school as children are taught to make cards and write messages of love for their mothers.
In contemporary times, Mother’s Day has surpassed focusing only on those who have given birth to recognise those who have given love and nurturing to raise children though they themselves have not experienced the traditional concept of motherhood. There are many experiences in society to demonstrate that mothering and nurturing are not just limited to childbearing capacity. Mother’s Day includes adopted mothers and many who act as surrogates, including grandparents-who having mothered their own children turned around to mother their children’s children.
The bond and love of mothers stemming from the role of nurturing is said to be the strongest bond between humans and is witnessed even in the animal kingdom, where females will extend their lives nurturing and defending their young. It is not unusual in contemporary times to see Mother’s Day also extended to male counterparts who display caring and nurturing trends, taking care of their children the way women have traditionally done.
The role of mothers today is very challenging. Even those mothers amongst us who have life partners to lend support are still finding their role of parenting to be a challenge. Unlike their forebears, many, shortly after the birth of their children, must leave the household to resume work, leaving their children to be nurtured and raised for different periods of time by babysitters and daycares, many of whom have no connection to the family and are with different values.
Many other mothers are tasked with the responsibility of being sole providers where they alone have to address bread and butter issues, shelter, clothing and basic teachings for survival and adaptation to societal values.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day those of us who have must remember those who don’t have. For instance, the recorded incident in Linden on Friday of a young mother. This is the story of a woman seeking to provide for her children shelter and protection. She has erected a house with the intention of creating a home for her children but was forced to witness authorities pushing down her home, making it inhibitable, damaging materials and furnishings that she would have expended hard earnings to purchase. The resultant impact has placed her in a situation of homelessness in a country that, despite its natural resources and proclaimed oil riches, has a very weak, virtually non-existent welfare system to offer her and her children the necessary support they need to develop and flourish.
Many mothers will wake up today, apart from being thankful for life and their children, with the worry of having to make basic ends meet. Though a well-deserving day to be pampered and celebrated, the cost of living is putting further economic burdens on already small incomes, making every day, including special days, a challenge. Prices for basic items, such as cooking oil, gas, flour, sugar, etc., have risen by at least 150%. It requires more financially to make ends meet.
Today is a special day, designated to celebrate and honour mothers, but even more important to honour the daily sacrifices and struggles mothers experience to provide for and nurture their children to become respectful and productive members of the household, extended family, and society.
In the population, mothers, women and children are amongst our most vulnerable. When mothers are vulnerable our children are vulnerable, our households are vulnerable, and by extension our communities and society. It is time that as we celebrate mothers with flowers, gifts, and words of gratitude for the role they play, that we call on society, on the powers that be, to focus on Mother’s Day as a day of empowerment for women, mothers and children.
Mothers are the foundation and builders of society. They should be empowered, uplifted and protected through government’s programmes and policies, enabling their equitable development and opportunities to contribute more to the development of their children and a society. Mothers must be able to contribute in shaping the society in which their children will be nurtured and moulded.
To all the nurturers and caregivers of Guyana’s children, may you enjoy a loving and peaceful Mother’s Day, as you watch the fruits of motherhood blossom and grow in an environment that allows for equity and equality.