It has been a while since I’ve been mushy, but seeing my wife through the physical and emotional burden of being the primary caregiver for our little son has filled me with tremendous appreciation for the role of mothers in the life of children, and as pillars of families. Yes, I provide support in all the best ways I can, but nothing compares to being the sole source of food and care for a tiny being who also happened to have lived in your uterus for about 9 full months. There were the days of crazy cravings of pregnancy, and those involving spontaneous vomiting in uncomfortable places. There were the fevers, and the cramps, and the final days in the labour ward. And now, even after all that, a tiny thing latches onto your body for survival for about a couple of months more. Sleepless nights, nipple sores, worry, and days spent fretting about every new development in the stages of the newborn’s life.
For many, like her, driven and ambitious career-wise, giving up full-time work is just one of the sacrifices to make in pursuit of the having it all. And in today’s patriarchal societies with no paid maternity or paternity leave, it is often a costly trade-off. Maybe if everyone lived in Sweden, for instance (with a reported 13 weeks paid leave for parents of a new child), or Canada (with about 35 weeks of paid maternity/paternity leave, life might be a bit easier for everyone. A shame, in this case, that Nigeria, the 26th largest economy in the world, and the largest in Africa, can’t afford to give its citizens the comfort and peace of mind that comes from paid leave for child care.
This post is to appreciate all the mothers doing well by their families, sometimes at the expense of their own careers of individual pursuits. This post is to appreciate my wife for all her work and dedication to the building of a great, functional, and healthy family.