CONVERSATION WITH A MOTHER

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Mothers are the real deal. I mean they are the parent that every child wanna get permission from in order to do something. Personally, I believe mothers are the backbones of the family. They are always there to keep everything on track. BUT.. they can taaaaaaalk lool (African mothers can talk I’m not even gonna lie). I am gonna be a mother one day.. actually soon.. very soon. So I decided to have a conversation with a mother and get to understand what it is like to be one.

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Aunty Jackie

1. what do you like the most about being a mother?

I love the bond I share with my daughter the most. That unconditional love between a mother and child is an amazing feeling. Her smile is precious and I’m truly blessed to have been entrusted by God to nurture her to what He has destined her to be.

2. How is it like being an African mother living outside of Africa?

it’s a challenge raising a child outside Ghana. Back home we would have had the whole family helping to raise her. Babysitting would be much easier where as here it’s hard and costly. I find that it’s a bit hard incorporating our own traditions and culture here in England so as a parent if you’re not persistent and firm, the child will grow up without knowing any of it’s original roots.
It’s been a bit easier for me because I’m all about my culture and traditions but with my daughter being in school with other people it was a challenge to find fun ways of introducing her to everything.

3. What has motherhood taught you about yourself?

That I have absolutely no patience but over the years she has taught me exercise patience in all circumstances. I’ve learnt also of my own strengths and weaknesses. I’m stronger than I give myself credit for and I keep persevering no matter the challenges ahead.

4. Is there anything you don’t like about being a mother?

Nothing really, I love the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s all part of what makes it worth it.

 5. Do you think you can do anything different now to make motherhood better for you?

To trust God more and learn from my mistakes.

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From left to right- Aunty Jackie, her daughter Meredith and her mother.

6. What do you think about feminism as a mother?

I honestly believe women should have equal rights as men but I also believe that a Christian woman will know her place at home. Women are helpmates and not equal to their spouses so while we are fighting for everything to be equal, we also need to know how to play our roles at home in order to avoid crossing boundaries that can cause havoc to our happiness.

7. How do you see your position in society as women?

Some years ago a woman’s role was to marry, have children and stay at home to raise the children while the husband went to fend for his family. Nowadays women are getting degrees, having a career and raising amazing children married or not. Times have changed so much that women are doing more than deemed fit. I think times have changed where women were looked down on but are encouraged to explore all their potentials. In a whole, we contribute to the society by raising good children in the home who contribute positively to the betterment of society as a whole.

8. What do you think about the perceptions regarding motherhood in society lately? For example; there are a lot of talks on maternity leave and women and men getting the same maternity leave and equal pay. As an African woman, does any of this affect you?

I personally think maternity leave should be for the women to decide on if they want to share with their spouses.
I took a year off work to be with my daughter when she was born and even that wasn’t enough when I resumed work. It’s hard leaving a little one who depends on you behind so it should be a personal choice. Some women are capable of resuming work six weeks after childbirth while others struggle after a year so it should be a choice rather than an imposed one. I do believe that men should be entitled to their normal two weeks paternity leave though.

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Aunty Jackie’s mother

9. What has your mum taught you that you are teaching your child?

To solely depend on God. Everything about my mum is God centred and that is what I want to teach my daughter. For her to know that no matter how good or bad things get, her love for and trust in God should never waiver.

Thank you for sharing your experience of motherhood with me.

 

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Globalization don’t want my family to be…

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credit: google images

Globalization is the cause of the breakdown of the extended family.

OK, so I grew up in a 2 bedroom house with my mum, grandmother, 2 aunties, 4 uncles, grandfather, 2 cousins and a pet cat I had a love-hate relationship with. My great grandmother lived about 30 minute walk away from my house and all my cousins and other family members were only a 30- 40 minutes car journey away. I felt very close to all my family growing up because I saw almost all my cousins during family occasions such as weddings and funerals or they would just come round anytime they wanted because well… my grandmother cooked too often.

As well, I knew and understood the essence of family ties and looking out for my cousins even though I was the youngest out of all of them. I guess geography made it much easier to develop healthy relationships with extended family members. For example: I couldn’t wait for school to close for vacation during August because I knew I would get to spend over 3 weeks with my father’s side of the family and I would see all my other cousins and aunties and uncles and grandparents from that side of the family.

The funny thing is, I never missed anyone because I could see most of my family members all the time. My primary school was 15 minutes away from my uncle’s shop and it was also a walking distance to where my grandmother sold food on the roadside. Additionally, I always used to run into my aunties during break and lunch times and I would force them to buy me sweets or ice creams.

NOW…

So much has changed! I mean obviously because we have all grown up and moved houses and even migrated to different countries. Right now, one of my aunties’ lives in Ukraine, I have an Uncle in Argentina and the rest of my family are in Ghana. The sad thing about it all is that we are disintegrated physically and it is having an indirect mental effect on all of us.

Globalization has changed the concept of extended family a lot. I mean growing up it sounded so great to tell someone that you had family members living abroad or even in Accra because when I was young I thought Accra was very close to London (only because it has a big airport). I remember I would do something bad at home and my mother would threaten me with telling my uncle who would easily walk like 20 minutes to our house and tell me to behave or he would not take me to Sunday school. Now it is very different, I am only close to my uncles when I call them or they call me because we are all so busy trying to make it that nobody has much time to invest in family ties anymore.

Globalization is probably to blame for this because if I was still in Ghana and living in the same town as I did growing up…then maybe I would still be close to all my family members. Well, I am not so sure of this either because even when I do go back to Ghana, it is difficult to see all my family members purely because it is not that easy to move from one city to the other to visit people. Moreover, people’s lives have changed massively due to employment, education, marriage and creating their own identities in various spaces and places.

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credit: google images.

My only complaint is that globalization is slowly diminishing the role of the family in breeding individualism.  The idea of collective identity plays a major role in people finding their individual selves. For instance; the person that I am today is credited mostly to my mum and grandmother because of how they raised me up. At the same time, I know my geographical surroundings have played a significant part in my life experiences as well. Nonetheless, I know that the foundation of my individuality is grounded in where I come from- that is my family and also where I was born.

On the other hand, in contemporary society, the idea of the family is not as strong as it used to be due to factors like employment which has physically dispersed all of us over the face of the earth. At the same time, I know that geographical locations should not hinder us from committing to and investing in familial relationships; but it does and it is quite sad.

When I realized all this, I wanted to personally do something about my relationship with other family members. Of course, I acknowledge how much people have changed and grown into their individual  beings and how that will impact on the way I relate to them now. Regardless of all this, I think it is so important to invest in relationships with family members because people go through so much and the closest people to them are often the ones who knew nothing about them.

I know there will always be those few family members who are still holding grudges because of something your mother did to them even before you were born… that does not concern you my brother and sister. Just focus on trying to build good healthy relationships with the people around you. But if you get aunties, uncles or cousins saying they want nothing to do with you because your mother stole her boyfriend or her top when they were young (my mum and my aunties have petty fights over things like this lool) just forget it and pray for their soul.

The aim should be to make time for people now and not be there wishing we had when they are dead.

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