R. Rose
May 14, 2004
Respecting our mothers

Last Sunday, May 9, was MOTHERS’ DAY in much of the Caribbean. As has become customary a number of activities were organized to pay tribute to that central figure in our lives, the irreplaceable mother. In addition children of many generations would have, each in their own way, done what they considered appropriate to honor the matriarch in the family.{{more}}
Such has become the cynicism of today however, that they are those, hopefully in the tiny majority, who would pour cold water on such expressions, calling it a lot of hypocrisy and insisting, in a purist way, that Mother ought to be honored every day. Every minute of the day in fact, but it does not take away from the significance of setting aside a Special Day to finally express our gratitude to Mom.
In recent years the society has been giving more recognition to the observance of Mothers’ Day while again the motive may be for private gain, fuelled by commercialization. It is still a welcome move in that it encourages wider recognition of the role of the Mother — in the home, in the family and in society, as a whole. True, the emphasis has been on buying a gift for Mother, or taking her out to some function, but since when is that a bad thing?
What is needed is a much deeper and sincere appreciation of the contribution of our Mothers to the development of our society as a whole and a closer examination of the circumstances in which such contribution is made; the obstacles to further development; the constraints facing our mothers and how best the society, and us as individuals, can reciprocate the many benefits which we enjoy.
There are also a number of relevant issues which beg our attention. First, as we savour the benefits of a mother’s love, care and upbringing and how these have contributed to our own development and advancement, we should share a thought about those not so fortunate.
What of the motherless, by virtue of death or some unfortunate social circumstance? What of those deprived of that umbrella that shield especially in the delicate, formative years? How has that deprivation impacted on their own development, retarded their progress or distorted the cause of their lives? What do we have in place of mitigation in such circumstances?
A second issue to be noted is the relatively high incidence of single-parent mothers heading households. Women, forced to be MOTHER and FATHER simultaneously, to be bread-winner, cook and washer, all in one, protector and provider, shield and guide. Even as we praise their contribution, we cannot but reflect on the heavy burdens they bear and the extent to which their mothering functions are affected negatively by the sheer multiplicity of the tasks they must perform. What forms of support does the society offer to these beleaguered Mothers?
On the other end there is the disturbing trend of the neglect or abandonment of many children by young mothers, who for one reason or another succumb to the tremendous pressures placed on them. Many are not ready for such a role, nor is the society equipped to deal with the consequences.
My poor mother seems to be the victim of the very values she instilled in her children. Honouring one’s commitments is one with which I was imbued, thus even from this distance here in the UK, I dedicate these lines to you Mother.