For the first time since Nigeria joined the rest of the world in the celebration of Mother’s Day, this year’s celebration was without the characteristic pomp in churches and the latter feasting in homes. No thanks to Covid-19. March 22nd, 2020 was a strange Sunday. The streets were deserted and the house of God was under lock and key; and mothers were self-isolated. Regardless, the children’s love, through the walls, reached the mothers.
In my solitude, my mind became a stage with conscious thoughts that created images of the significance of a mother in the home and society. My most dominant impulses were about the leadership role of a mother. I could only see parallels with the idea of John Maxwell’s 360
Leader. In his book, The 360 Leader, he shares an uncommon insight on how to lead from the middle of an organization when you are not the top leader. He posits that a 360
leader should be able to lead up to his boss, across to his peers, and down to his subordinates. This is a perfect example of the role of the woman in the home with respect to that of the 360 leader in a typical organization.
Adapting the 360
leader diagram to illustrate the multi-hat (multiple responsibilities) cut out for a woman in the African setting, it is easy to see that mothers are natural 360 leaders by virtue of being mothers.
Just as a 360` leader is expected to be good at doing so many things well, a mother by her natural role is expected to keep the home in perfect order. Recently, I was talking with a colleague in the office about punctuality to work and the home front. He said his wife gets the kids set for school, prepares breakfast, tidy the home, and still goes to her business. He occasionally assists her by dressing the kids after she bathes them. Is that all you do? I asked him.
You see, my friend is the classic illogical African alpha male who believes it is a taboo for a man to do house chores. What then is his usefulness when today mothers have become better bread winners? Mothers don’t shirk in their responsibilities.
Mothers recognize their husbands as the legitimate head of the family whether he can put food on the table or not. They look up to him for direction, and when he fails to provide the physical needs and guidance, mothers fill the vacuum with ease. Their role as 360` leaders have prepared them for this when the men become rolling stones or exit the world.
The growth and development of the child into responsible adulthood is a task for both parents. The absence of any will have a negative impact on the child and by extension, the community. But the role of a mother has proven to be of greater importance than that of a father that even God in Isaiah 49v15 asked, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she bore?”
Apart from their responsibilities to their husbands and children, mothers are also expected to manage external influences on their husbands, children and themselves by their peers and other external factors. A strong family bond hinged on great principles is the tool mothers use to ward off negative influences.
In conclusion, mothers are centripetal forces that pull the family together and without them, the negative external centrifugal forces will pull the family apart. On this ground, it is expected that all men must purge themselves of the mentality that women and mothers must remain silent, unseen, disrespected, maltreated, abused, subjugated, and denied basic rights. The stability and progress of any community can only be attributed to the love and sacrifices of our mothers in their respective homes. Today and every moment of the future, we must pledge to honor every mother in every way I can.
And so, I called my mom later in the day to say happy Mother’s Day. “Yeeaaaaa… Thank you thank you thank you!” She screamed excitedly and said I was the only one that has called to wish her well.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!