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Why motherhood is not easy and glossy as social media seems to portray it

By Njoki Kaigai | Published Sun, May 13th 2018 at 00:00, Updated May 13th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3

Today is Mother’s Day - a day when we celebrate the great, amazing and often thankless work that mothers do every day.

There is no denying that motherhood is tough and has become even tougher over the last decade. As we celebrate motherhood, let us pause and ponder about the new and interesting challenges women face today.

Let us start with the journey to motherhood. Thanks to social media, women are under pressure to make the world believe that pregnancy, and child rearing is hip and cool. Women today feel they need to post pictures of their ‘perfect’ protruding belly and pictures of their ‘perfect’ offspring decked in ‘perfectly’ coordinated outfits.

The truth is that by and large pregnancy feels like a journey in torture, and the first few years of even the most beloved child are riddled with cracked nipples, hormonal mood swings, occasional thoughts of murder and of course added kilos and stretch marks.

Pregnancy and motherhood is not as easy and glossy as the likes and posts make it seem - it is grubby, greasy and pure hard work. The only compensatory factor is that nature has equipped women with the secret ability to ignore all the torture and focus on the pain.

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There is also that small thing called career, which tends to get in the way of modern day mothers. You see, women have been taught they can have it all – but no one tells you that when it comes to motherhood one has to realise that she can have it all - but just not at the same time.

No matter how the corporate website or the annual report says, most companies do not make it that easy for mothers.

Women who choose to become mothers (especially to many children) have to daily contend with the fact that they will occasionally be dropped from projects since their colleagues might consider them ‘less committed or distracted by other issues.’

Mothers who choose to invest time and energy in their careers have to surrender to constant feelings of guilt that comes with surrendering almost all their powers and duties to the nanny aka auntie.

The old adage - it takes a village to raise a child holds true today just as it did in the days of yore.

 The only thing is the village has become the globe and the village is no longer the neighbour, or the family. The village today is that huge amorphous creation called the Internet, which has pervaded every element of our lives.

Mothers today have to deal with the glut of information that comes in the form of parenting tips. Some blogs will say breastfeeding must continue till junior is 2 years old or else he will be afflicted with low self-esteem in adult life.

Other blogs and posts from some self-declared parenting experts might take a different view. Mothers reading such “advice” and self-help tips are often left confused and unsure of what to do.

Things get more hairy as time goes on, for it is virtually impossible to keep children away from the Internet. Most children today can ‘steal’ passwords and find their way through any phone, tab or notebook by the time they are three.

Once they are in, there is no telling where they will end up-maybe in the belly of an inappropriate website or in the Internet arms of a peadophile from a country with a funny name in a weird part of the world. As the child gets older and earn their rightful place in the Internet, mothers have to constantly pray that they do not do anything foolish.

Mothers today especially mothers of teens are forever on bended need praying that their children do not feel the need to post pictures and videos of their topless selves or naked bottoms on some social media post.

It is hard to tell today’s children that the Internet never forgets and their sins will catch up with them some day in adulthood and only Kim Kardashian has started her career and made money from her nude video - very few people get to be that lucky.

The one thing that has not changed it that mothers still get the scorecard when it comes to rating how the child turned out. If the child is a monster, then chances are society will blame the mother for failing to feed or discipline enough.  If the child is a hero, the father (if he is present) takes the credit. Yet despite all these, mothers today are doing a great job. Mothers today are working hard on their bodies so that we actually have terms like yummy mummy and the very inappropriate term MILFs.

Mothers today are still doing their best to break ceilings and barriers in the corporate world.  So Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers across the world and especially to the best mother I know, Mrs Lucy Kaigai.

 


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