While growing up, my mother reared chickens, not ‘agric fowls’ as we called broilers but the native kind that would lay eggs, hatch them, etc. My sisters and I learnt something very fast about the mother hen. When it started to incubate its eggs/hatch them, the docile hen changed into a fierce, attack-at-the-slightest-no-nonsense hen. Up till today, whenever I see a mother hen with freshly hatched chicks, I give it a wide berth. That hen can chase and attack any and every one it perceives as a threat to the well-being of its chicks. Female animals with young ones are known to be deadly (with some exceptions), deadlier than their male counterparts. A lioness with cubs, a she-bear with cubs are good examples but to name a few.
And so we come to mothers and mothering. The mother-a beautiful species of being with the ability to bring forth, nurture, train, protect and the list is endless. The woman is so designed that she can keep the home, raise the children, work a job and do all excellently. Different roles, one person. That is who God made the woman to be, and before proceeding, this is to say a big thumbs up, thank you, well done to all the mothers out there. Yours may seem like a thankless job but God sees, He hears, He applauds and His reward is sure. Keep up the good work sister!
In the beginning, God……, and that is where the job of every mother starts; with God. It is the smart and savvy woman that knows to spend time with God every day, and time means exactly that- T-I-M-E. Non-negotiable. You will never know how much your life will transform until you know to withdraw, to replenish your strength, to get wisdom in the place of fellowship with God (by the way, I believe it is irresponsible parenting to be locked up in your prayer closet while your children run around unattended to. Children by their very nature need constant monitoring.). Whatever you do, let the beauty of your absolute reliance and dependence on God shine through in every situation.
The working mother is an unavoidable subject in this day and age. Upfront, it should be said that the day society, mothers, fathers amongst others began to clamor for equal rights and recognition in the workplace for the woman, the home front and especially the children began to suffer. Society now tells us that a woman is not complete until she is earning a salary with six digits like the men (there is nothing wrong with that by the way). The truth is, God designed that the mother would be the one to spend more time with the children- she is naturally adapted to that task. And so, when the parents, particularly the mother is away from dawn-dusk all weeklong, the children are under direct attack from any and every thing. God did not give you children so that you can delegate their upbringing to someone else. That is one responsibility that cannot be delegated. This is not to say that a woman cannot and should not work but once it conflicts with taking care of the home, the woman is too busy!I believe every mother should be at home with her children once they finish from school, or at least the father. I entirely agree with author Tim Lahaye when he said “today’s emphasis on working mothers (whether it is necessary or not) is destined to create a whole generation of rebellious or insecure young people”. Enough said already? I should hope not.
Raising a child is so delicate that whatever happens to that child in its formative years can make or mar the child. We should consider this fact that just the presence of mummy at home can make a child act right very fast. If that presence is continued from day to day, good habits are formed, bad ones discarded (hopefully) and then it becomes a lifestyle. In no time, a beautiful, responsible. God-loving adult is born. We overlook the evils that can pass over a child just because a parent is present. No sexual molestation, pornography, bad company, lewd talk, bad manners can bypass the watchful eye of a godly mother. Even physical attacks and accidents can be staved off by a woman knowing her place in God. It is true that bad things may still happen whether a parent is present or not, but we can testify, mummy also spells safety and protection.
It is so easy to look at western society today and shake our heads at the level of depravity we see there; children shooting parents, schoolmates, themselves; all sorts of sexual perversion, the presence of all manner of ungodliness. This should be said- one of the root causes was when godless men and women began to propound theories on child training and the Christians accepted those theories as the standard for raising their children. Two, it was decided, and the mothers decided/accepted that they ought to work a job and pull their weight like their male counterparts, and so, with no one to care for the children and teach them good from bad, tell them about God and life, the devil stepped in and is doing an excellent job.
It is a general saying among mothers that having the children around a lot is tiring and draining. And it should be! Child training is work and labour (and of course, a lot of help from the fathers would be very welcome). We expect to be tired when we get back from our jobs but are irritated and feel we have wasted our time and energy when it is spent on our children! We have been so deceived and our priorities so out of place. Child care has been relegated to house helps, nannies, crèches/daycares/schools etc. Let every mother remember that God will judge not just the bible studies we led or how well we sang in the choir but the major fact of how we raised our children. I want to reiterate, you cannot and will never be a success at raising your children unless and until you see them as a priority. It may look like a lot of time to spend, but in some years’ time those children will be gone. Once they get into the university they are out of our lives and direct control forever. For some children it is boarding school, and that is it. Our time of impact and relevance in the lives of our children is limited. Let us make the best use of it now. Remember, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”.
This is not an exhortation to make drastic changes but one to prayerfully take stock of your life and change. And if you are actively fulfilling God’s will for your life as a wife, mother etc, then go girl, keep on keeping on!
-Aghogho Awonusi is a Legal Practitioner that resides in Ibadan. She is happily married and a mother of one.