Mothering for a working class mother can be a difficult thing in this modern time. That may not be exactly the case with a full time housewife. Our correspondent JOY IMISI examines some of the issues affecting both parties.
Quickly departing are the days when women were sit at home wives and mothers, cooking, cleaning and generally keeping the home together while the men went out to work and bring money home to support the family. In recent times a lot of women have taken up white collar jobs, as more moms than ever are in the workforce, in corporate offices, undertaking jobs that keep them more away from the home than otherwise. Women are entering, staying, or returning to the workforce following childbirth at an increasing number as they report various amounts of success in the workplace after they become mothers. As white collar jobs seems to be in short supply, some men are of the opinion that women are more favoured than men, because of their fragile nature which makes it easy for a woman to attract the sympathy of employers of labour, making more women become gainfully employed as compared to their male counterparts, or we can say it is a lot easier for a woman to get a job as she can use her feminine nature to break through any protocol even if she is not qualified. However, most women have taken up giant educational strides that accord them the opportunity to compete with their male counterparts on different grounds, therefore making some women take up the role of bread winners and front players in family provision because they make more money than their male partners. In some organisations, nursing mothers are given only three months maternity leave to nurse their babies after delivery, giving them time to heal and get their bodies strong enough to return back to work, most of which are 8-5pm jobs. Owing to this, a lot of three months old babies are taken to crèche so that their mothers can return back to work, as some women are the bread winners of their homes as we said earlier. However, in Nigeria, The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has assured Nigerians that his ministry will collaborate with the Ministry of Labour and Productivity to increase maternity leave, from four to six months. The minister who made the disclosure at the flag off and policy dialogue of the World breastfeeding week in Abuja recently, said this will give mothers adequate time to practice exclusive breastfeeding. Mr. Adewole said the policy of new mothers returning to work before six months has remained a key barrier to exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria. Exclusive breastfeeding is the act of mothers putting newborns on strict breast milk diet for the first six months of their lives without giving them water or any other dietary supplements. Unfortunately, many Nigerians mothers, both those working in the formal and informal sectors have not been adhering to this due to time constraint. According to the minister, only 17 percent of Nigerian babies are breastfed exclusively for the first six months. He said the rate of exclusive breastfeeding has not substantially increased in the past two decades. He said inadequate maternal protection policies are partly reasons why many women do not have time to breastfeed exclusively because the duration of maternity leave is too short and urgent steps must be taken to encourage lactating mothers. However, this article is more concerned about the relationship that will exist between a child and an absent mother even from age three months considering the working mum versus the stay at home mum, because the earlier stages of a child’s life is very crucial for raising him or her, inculcating morals and values into them and playing a crucial role in their future development because a mother makes a tremendous contribution in her child’s life. A child’s life revolves around his or
her mother, or we can say a mother’s life revolves around her children. The love of a mother for her child is so beautiful, so powerful, and so sacred, it is almost impossible to capture it in words. Suffice it to say that the mother-child bond is the strongest yet the most fragile connection in the world. Nothing can destroy it, yet it is the most vulnerable as it is continually tested. From the moment a woman becomes a mother; her life takes a big turn. She no longer remains the woman whose world revolves around her. Her child, the apple of her eye, becomes her very own little universe, around which her whole life revolves. However, as much as she dotes on her child, her role in the child’s development is a critical one that is driven logically, not emotionally. A mother does not raise a child; a mother raises the future. Our correspondent spoke with Mrs. Bolanle Ositelu, A child development expert who noted that the role of a mother in the life of a child best remains unimagined as it is divinely orchestrated, but a lot of women prefer to be in the office more than spending ample time with their growing kids. ‘‘I am not saying that women should not
work because I am well aware of the nature of our economy which has forced most women out of the home but what I am saying is that a woman’s career should inevitably take the back seat the moment she steps into motherhood. ‘’One of the best things about staying at home with your children is that you can devote your time entirely to your little ones, Watch them grow, take care and comfort them and you have complete control of the household. Also, there is no unnecessary stress of meeting deadlines or attending late meetings which are quite prevalent in case of a working mother. You can spend quality time with your little ones and to a large extent monitor their general development,’’ she said. We also spoke with Mrs. Jumoke Odunsi who works full time, she said it never comes easy been a mom trying to juggle a full-time job with a family life but I have learnt to manage it because my husband’s job cannot take care of all our needs. “The kids are growing up, the market prices are going up but the salaries have remained the same, which was why my husband encouraged me to take up a paid employment. And I must say that I am actually happy as I go to work everyday, I can buy little things for my kids without asking my husband and I am also supporting him to make life very comfortable for my kids. I do not think my work has a negative effect on my kids because I was actually a stay home mum when they were much younger,’’ she said. However, Madam Julliet says she has been more a stay home mum since she got married to her husband five years ago, according to her it has been boring and she would prefer if she had a job like some of her neighbours. The mother of two noted that staying at home has made her add excess weight, reduced her self confidence and also made her withdrawn. She noted that it was not all a bag load of negative experiences because as a stay home mother it has given her the opportunity to bond with her children at a very personal stage, but she would not rule out the fact that staying at home for the last five years has done more harm to her but obliviously good to her family which remain priority to her. “I must say that the reason most women prefer to work is because the economy of the country does not permit one partner’s income to solve all the financial challenges of the family, for me my husband has done well for us but I would prefer to be a working mum to a stay home mother if given an option” she said It is therefore interesting to note that more women are willing to work, be it the working mum or stay at home mother, we can conclude by saying; do
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