It is a haunting image, one that calls to mind the story of Ham, the mannerless son of Noah who mocked his naked father....
I blame women for having sex and getting pregnant with deadbeat dads
One of my better university professors said something in two farewell speeches that rings true every day: If you are not ready to have a baby, please don’t.
At the time, I thought it was the usual western nihilistic approach to life that was driving him, since I thought bearing children was a divine duty that is bestowed to man. But increasingly, I am beginning to think he was right.
I see so many neglected children that it breaks my heart. Every time I see a toddler approach me on the streets to beg for money, a part of me dies. There is a woman who sits with three children lying upright from her knees and whereas Nairobians now consider such antics cliché, I always wish something was done to protect children.
I know a dozen adults with jobs who don’t take care of their children. Being broke or going through hard times is pretty normal but they don’t even make an effort. I know male friends who use beef with their baby mamas to shirk their responsibilities. And I know some women who leave their kids to their mothers and go twerking in Nairobi, thinking monthly remittances to the mother and a periodic selfie with the child on Instagram is enough.
That is why Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata’s Bill in Parliament is welcome. Whereas it is a bit over the top, even overzealous, it will put men in check. Men must never ever be let scot free, if they have the ability to sire wild oats. Going as far as listing them on the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) and being barred from travelling is a step in the right direction.
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But the problem with legislation is it fails to capture the cultural and social aspects of parenting and reduces parents into ATMs. Yet truth is money will never fix a broken child. That is why as a society, we need to find ways that we can make men to go back to being proud of fatherhood. A man’s worth used to be measured not by how many rounds he can throw, but how good he stood up for his family. And in the event things never worked with the mother of the children, the man remained accessible and provided where he could.
But millennials are always running to the court, as if strangers can fix the messes they create in seedy lodgings.
The problem with Kang’ata type of bills is that it tends to absolve women of their mistakes in life. Parents, aunts and grandmothers must talk to their daughters. Growing up, I remember there were certain homes that we could not dare approach. Their brothers or fathers would eat you for dinner to protect her until they were of age and the right man showed up.
Their mothers would sniff an irresponsible boy from a million miles away. Aunts helped with the vetting process with grandmothers offering back-up. But nowadays millennials watch a few trashy Hollywood movies, read a few Feminist texts and think they have life figured out.
But when the rubber of parenting meets the road of responsibility, what they study in books can never rescue them. Hence, they turn to social and mainstream media to try and shame the men into responsibility. Lubbish.
So, as we try to catch up the men, I urge women to be a bit selective with whom they mate. I know jerks are magnets, but this is no longer an excuse. Having sex and getting pregnant is an entirely different process. So, whatever you do, avoid getting pregnant with every Tom, Dick and Harry, Dicks especially. Be extremely selective and during courtship, discuss these things and hold the man accountable to his words.
Also, some women have extremely rotten behaviour that drives the man away. Fix that too, before calling out men.
Lastly, women who date jerks bare the greatest responsibility for parenting. They should stop asking drunk men, “Uko na rubber?” If they can cram 48 items in their handbags, they certainly can slip in a bloody condom as well.