I am so sure when God created us, one thing he was particularly mindful of ensuring was to give us mothers who will help us fulfil the purposes for our lives. There is no uncertainty about the crucial role mothers play in our lives.
For us women who are breaking our backs in pursuit of careers in this competitive labour world, we couldn’t, largely, do it without a mother’s helping hand. Mums come in various forms, be it biological or non-biological. Truth be told, many women could not have been where they are had their mother’s not stepped in just in time for them.
Ever wondered when a mum’s duties end? Never! Not until she takes her last breath, I dare say! God has imbibed in them special grace to be our backbone every step of the way. Mums are one in a million. My mum, Victoria, (“Mamalo” or “Vicky Shamar” as my sister and I sometimes call her) was right there to give me every support I needed throughout my prenatal and postnatal periods. All those times, especially on weekends, without request, she would cook every meal she knew was good for my pregnant and lactating self to eat.
For some reason that I cannot fathom, I always went into labour at dawn. Apart from my roommate that would obviously pack up and accompany me to the hospital, one person that we could absolutely count on was my mum. At the ring of the phone, she would hurriedly pack up what a mother would pack and meet us somewhere so we go together or drive straight to the hospital by herself. After the hospital stay, the road always led to my mom’s home.
Having a baby also meant mum giving up everything to nurse me and the little one till I was back on my feet once again. There was a time I knew we had overstayed our welcome in her home. You can’t imagine my daughter’s age when we finally decided we needed to give her a break. I won’t tell, lest you say I abused her (Haha!). I guess I had become too comfortable with the assistance I was receiving that I didn’t even remember I had another home and responsibilities that were waiting for my attention. Without a sign of weariness nor dreariness, mom would wash for me, bathe the baby and cook for me among other duties she took on because her daughter has decided to add on to the population of the world (Haha!)
Interestingly, after our decision to stay away from her home for some time in order to give her a breather, she would constantly call to ask about why we had decided to stay away that long. With all the uncalled for responsibilities we gave her, one would have thought she would gladly accept the little space we decided to give her. But no, she takes pleasure in being there for us.
Mums are, undeniably, our destiny helpers. They are right there when you need them. I have countless friends who have left their families in the care of their mothers to pursue various dreams. They have not had a reason to look over their shoulders because their mothers have been there to lend every support they need. Recently when my mum had to attend to some matters somewhere for a period, I did not realise the impact that would have on me. I had actually taken her ever-present helping hand for granted, I guess. Although I know the invaluable help and role she plays in my life, I think I had not done a thorough evaluation of it until she travelled. What I had to contend with during that period made me appreciate her very existence.
When I woke up to see the children still sleeping at a time they usually would be awake, I nearly went bananas. Just when I cleared my throat to shout their names to wake their “slumber-sleepy” heads, I was met with a not-so-pleasant-restraining question of “Have you forgotten they have vacated?” The first thought that runs through my mind was “Who will babysit for us so we can go to work?” There is no vacation school during Easter break!
I don’t have a nanny. Fact is, I just cannot find the right one. The last one I had was a total nightmare. To the extent that I was more than convinced that my children would not be safe in her “care”, I had to send her off. Frankly, how safer could our children be when they are with their grandmums? I am totally at ease and can work in peace as long as my children are with their grandmother.
Eureka! I remembered. Their second mummy was on leave. What a relief! Once my sister, Maame Akua, is off work, I was good to go. I packed up the children’s essentials and off we hit the road!!! I didn’t even bathe them. Can you imagine that? Tell you what, I simply didn’t have to because my sister would sort that too out (Hehehe!). Life is so easy when we have mothers like this around us and we don’t have to take that for granted at all.
I don’t even remember blocking time to tell these awesome ladies how I appreciate all the laughter they bring to us. All the lovely presents they give to the children, the time, the stories, the songs, the dance, the joy and the discipline. But today, I do.
There are countless times our mothers step in for us when the going gets tough. I have had to fall on my mother even for financial assistance many times. She does it so effortlessly. Sometimes, when I even want to pay back she says “Aaaah… It’s okay”. During those times I know I could not have asked for a better mum. She cares so much that when any of my children is not well she gets more anxious than me.
And oooh her patience, I cannot wrap my mind around it. Simply worth emulating. There are times I have had to restrain myself from reacting in a particular manner when I remember my mother. I would tell myself “Mum would have handled this differently”. When I go by the “Vicky Sharmar” way my problems get solved.
It is said that patience moves mountains. Indeed, it does. The kind of patience my mum has does not only move mountains, it has also warmed many hearts to her. Israelmore Ayivor in The Great Hand Book of Quotes says there are two types of patience. One is exercised in hard work and the other in idleness. He further stated that “Patience with hard work is the one that moves mountains. Patience in idleness moves nothing, not even cobwebs. Surely, “Mamalo” is the embodiment of patience and hard work. Beyond that, she adds a sprinkling of kindness. Remarkably, these virtues have levelled all her mountains.
She has had to go out of her comfort zone in order to make us comfortable. As children, we saw her wakeup to sort her private business out as well as diligently carry out her duties in her official workplace. This was all in a bid to secure a better future for us. Every sacrifice she made ensured that God’s plans for us were not compromised. I heard in church one day that God may have very good plans for us but we have a duty to ensure that they are realised through prayer and hard work. Mothers know this so well. That is why they constantly go on their knees to intercede for us. The blessings that come out of their mouths are more than blankets that protect us from unfriendly weather.
Many mums have been a blessing to me. I cannot end without the mention of another woman I consider a blessing: my mother-in-law, Auntie Eva or Auntie Aku. The warmth alone I feel around Auntie Eva calms every nerve. She is an epitome of strength and love. One notable thing about her is that anytime we visit her, we leave her home with presents that she has specially kept for us. She is so thoughtful that when she goes to town and she sees any useful items for the home she buys them with us in mind. These, she keeps for us until our next visit. Many of my kitchen essentials were given to me by Auntie Aku including even the aprons I wear to cook. Honestly, I don’t ever remember buying napkins, cups, plates nor spoons ever since she came into my life about twelve years ago.
I appreciate all these mothers and the various roles they play in my life. That is why I sing their praises today. I know there are many mothers in various corners of this world doing wonderful things. Such mothers are shining forth their lights for us to follow. The lights will continue to shine our paths so we don’t stumble. What I ask is for God to continue to bless these good mothers. Because of them, we have a reason to smile and say ‘there is some good in this world, after all’.
Until next time, continue to spread the love.
Theodora teaches at the University of Professional Studies, Accra.
Find Theodora’s scholarly works here. You can also access her work on Researchgate here.