The neoliberal political economy of our contemporary world portends a major challenge to the home. Throughout the centuries, human beings have identified the centrality of the home as a key player in building a nation. Truth is that the family is the basic unit of every society. Even so, the family is made by father (genitor and pater) and mother, who must jointly nurture a child(ren).
Over the years, the role of women in the home has become a subject of intense debate. The traditional notion of a woman as a homemaker is fiercely being challenged. We have got to a point where we are beginning to quantify in monetary terms the role of women. Some feminists are arguing that women should be paid when they undertake domestic chores like cooking, washing, and taking care of children. Indeed, this is one of the consequences of a world that has been deeply monetized.
Sadly, the world's political economy, coupled with many irresponsible men, has driven most young mothers to join the world of work. Thus, most homes are empty of mothers. Where are our mothers?
Radical feminists, championed by people like Mary Daly, are even contesting heterosexual conjugal relations. They are driving women into lesbianism. The family is certainly under a fierce attack.
In effect, we have women who are either marrying themselves or women who have outsourced childcare to mother nature. The homes are empty. Children are developing all forms of abysmal social behaviors. Research has informed us that child deviance is almost axiomatic in every child's life. This is precisely because children tend to follow their curiosity and innate desires which in most cases run at odds with society.
Max Assimeng's definition of socialization as the transition of a biological being to a social being is apt in enforcing the crucial dimension of motherhood. Children are 'raw' and need deliberate nurturing. In Ghana, l know of some young mothers who see their own children a few hours a week. I know of a mother, who outsourced the care of her three months baby to a care home. Everyone is seeking a career. We are chasing
The progressive dissolution of the extended family, following urbanization, has dealt a deadly blow to motherhood. Grandparents are either dead or been branded witches to stay away from their grandchildren. Sadly, most young mothers are bereft of basic childcare skills. The puberty rites that helped potential mothers to learn the rudiments of childcare has been demonized.
The cumulative effect of this is that the family is in danger. Nations are in danger. I have been thinking about the future of the human family. Will robots take the place of mothers in childcare? Will children learn moral values from the Internet? How sure are we that the Internet will dispense conventional virtues to our children?
As l keep pondering on these questions, l want to wish my mother, Agartha Ama Adjei, my wife Josephine Afrifa, and my in-law, Comfort Peprah a happy mother's day. I also want to thank Dr. Gladys Nyarko Ansah and Dr. Patricia Ohemaa Serwaa Afrifa (my sisters-in-law) a blessed happy mother's day. I want to thank all the females who have helped me in my earthly journey.
More importantly, l want to thank my external supervisor, Dr. Joel Cabrita, now at Stanford University. She has been patient with me, as a mother, in nurturing me to write well. Her precocious knowledge has been a fountain for me. Dr. Cabrita, thank you. May your efforts never be in vain.
To all mothers, potential mothers, guardians, female teachers, and female doctors, Happy Mother's Day.
Charles Prempeh ([email protected]), African University College of Communications, Accra.
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