How nice it would be if, come Sunday morning, May 14, Vincentians wake up to the strains of Becket’s epic, “Thank You, Mama”, in honour of Mothers’ Day! Though the date differs for different countries in the world, the idea of paying homage to our mothers globally does not change and each country has its own traditions. The importance of the occasion cannot be over emphasized.
Mothers’ Day is one of two global occasions specifically set aside to remember and pay respect to the contributions of women in the development of human society, the other being International Women’s Day.
Not all women are mothers so while International Women’s Day has a naturally wider focus and tends to focus on women’s rights and achievements, Mothers’ Day has tended to have a narrower focus, on the contributions of mothers, especially in the home and family.
Like everything else in society, the nature of its celebration changes with times. There were times when its importance seemed to be growing here in St Vincent and the Grenadines with a number of social activities organized for the occasion but others, depending on broader societal developments, when it has been less prominent. Yet Becket’s enduring thanks remain.
He expresses profuse thanks to our mothers “for all the things you do for me”. We thus remember the arduous, and often thankless tasks of child rearing, not just by more mature and equipped women in families, but often foisted upon young ones quite unprepared for such a critically important task. However, there are sometimes what is called the seamier side of it, the things that mothers are sometimes forced to do to support their children and their upbringing, often painful secrets divulged only to very close companions.
Some of these, forced on the most vulnerable, remain like an eternal shame and blot on their lives. It rubs salt into wounds later when some of those who have benefited from the suffering imposed on their very mothers seem not to appreciate or reciprocate the sacrifices involved.
As we mark this occasion, given the difficult economic and social conditions, it is important that we pay special attention in our society to the development of young mothers, teenage and pre-teen mothers among them. There has been some mention made in recent years about the role of young fathers in helping to rear our children.
For Mothers’ Day 2023, let us spare some thoughts for such young mothers. Each time we get the reports of the senseless murder of young men, just remember that many of these are themselves fathers, leaving young women, often ill-equipped to cope with responsibilities of dual parenting.
There has to be a way for our society, our institutions of state, church and community to help them to develop and handle such formidable responsibilities.
Our very future as a society depends on it.