Three weeks ago, we were prepping to have a 75th birthday bash for my partner’s dad. We went to do a recce at the venue with all vendors to ensure we had a smooth event. As we ticked off the long list:
Song for the day- check…
It became the Jamb question of the day. We all thought hard and there were about ten of us gathered that day, no song came up…finally the band leader said, “Mothers have taken all the songs.”
It hit us all. There are almost no special songs for father ‘but wait,’ I told the team, ‘what of Luther Vandroses’s ‘Dance with my father?’
We were all excited but then again, beyond that, we couldn’t come up with any more. They say Google is your friend, we whipped out our phones and checked…no popular song celebrates fathers!
Mothers indeed have taken everything.
Have you watched award ceremonies? The Emmys, the Oscars, the AMVCAs, Hip hop Awards…huge awards ceremonies worldwide, once the awardees stand behind the mics, it’s to dedicate the awards ‘to my mum.’
Even shout outs on local and international TV stations are mostly: ‘Hi mum,’ ‘to my mother…’ ‘my mum…’ from many who get the mic thrust in their faces to ‘say something to viewers at home.’
Two weeks back, on November 19th, it was International Men’s Day. I saw a few, halfhearted attempts to celebrate men. The posts didn’t burn the internet like when its mother’s day or women’s day. I, for one, didn’t share and it wasn’t because I didn’t have a few good men in my life
Truth is I still think the average man needs to do more especially in a society skewed to favour men, they still need to up their game with their kids.
I’ll cite a few personal examples which shouldn’t necessarily be cited as standard but gives a good view of what’s on.
So, I was at my daughter’s PTA meeting a few weeks back, and I looked at the 60 or so parents seated, women dominated the hall. Mothers are the ones who are there for the school shows, they are there for the inter-house sports screaming their lungs out to cheer their kids, they are mostly the ones staying awake at the child’s bedside when sick…. They know the first thing about the child’s allergies, food, game…name it and before anyone says mothers are the home keepers, the statistics are changing.
Today, about 65 percent of mothers are co-breadwinners; 40 percent are sole breadwinners; they keep the roof over their families; pay fees, put food on the table and still role play as the nurse, cleaners, cook, name it… unlike most fathers.
A few weeks back, my brother sent a post to our family platform, titled –“This is for men only; women should not read” by Bola Adewara. Considering that my brother is an only son, he wanted his sisters’ opinions.
The piece advises that men, while working hard to train their children should not forget to build a retirement nest because once the kids are grown, they would only care for their mothers who will go from one kid’s house to another caring for grandkids and the father will be left all alone, uncared for by their kids. This dear reader also accounts for why men die early.
The writer did not say anything strange to most of us; it’s still the same story we’ve all been rehashing.
The question to ask is, are women encouraging this attitude? Are we, by any means, sending the wrong signals to our kids?
I’m my father’s kid and I love that man to bits but I know and remember my mother was present at all of the high points of my life. She was there when I wanted a parent to be there; she worked, she labored with my father to raise me and train me but she still made time to be there for me and my siblings. My father is still alive but let’s be honest, I am more prone to reach out, more often, to my mum than my dad and it isn’t because mother says not to reach out to father; she’s more in my life than father, to date she calls me every day and thankfully we enjoy a good relationship.
I am raising kids who are teenagers today and I find that even when it’s so inconvenient, sometimes almost impossible for me, I strive to be there for them; I am the judge and jury; I watch their moods to know when to be the counsellor and when to strike the gavel for an uncomfortable verdict. I know their teachers, I know the courses they are studying, I have, at several times, gone through their scripts, edited, demanded they rewrite something I think they could have written better…I am the monkey on their backs so to speak and I still pick up the bills!
A good number of women are like me; monkey on the backs of their children, demanding they up their games and be the best at what they do. So, tell me, when my kids finally become great, should I be expected to take a back seat? After all, on the flip side, when the child is delinquent, the mother gets the blame, never the father.
This isn’t a male bashing piece; it isn’t even about praising one parent over the other, it’s just, perhaps the way we are wired and yet… we have those rare fathers who do even better than us women!