Opinion: Your Mother is Not Your Father…and Men Are Not Always ‘Scum’

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Men are being vilified unnecessarily, and Fathers are too underrated, I’m not trying to justify that there are no bad Fathers (as with bad Mothers also) or that Men are not indeed “scum” but simply to clear some misconceptions.
We get the “my mother is my father” chant especially on father’s day, that’s ordinarily meant to appreciate fathers. Mothers can not be our fathers even though the latter might not be in our lives. I’ve always said, and I maintain, that our mother’s cannot be our fathers particularly because I’m of the view that by calling our mothers “fathers”, we erase the roles they play in our lives with nonexistent roles.
“My mom plays the role of a father …” So what? That doesn’t change the fact that she’s your mother. I digress, I’m yet to understand how you can differentiate between a mother and father’s role when you do not… Never mind. So, by calling our Mothers “fathers”, we have acknowledge they both have a specific role, yeah?
I’d like to think it’s an arrangement – a setting in African homes, the mother does a particular duty, duties such as care giving, feeding, everything domestic and all and the father provides for the family, does lifting of the furnitures, clearing of the bushes, everything hard labour in the house and he’s meant to be strict, for the child’s upbringing.
Lets take a look at a scenario, when a child does something, the mother says something like “till when your father comes back home” and when the Father comes back, depending on the gravity of the offense, punishes the child. The mother on the other hand, will pet and feed the child after that, her being the hero of the day, and him being the villain.
Like a “good cop, bad cop” kind of thing, since kids are too familiar with their moms, they often do not listen to her. “I’ll report you to your father” will often make them behave well – and this has come with a great disadvantage for men as the children tend to grow with the mentality, and mothers on the other hand, feed on that to turn their children against their fathers when the need arises.
So, when they separate or divorce, some mothers for reasons best known to them tend to vilify fathers, knowing fully well the truth of the break up or misunderstanding, but in an attempt to win the love and care of the child, she’ll do and say anything. Fathers unfortunately, do not even attempt to win anything, or state their sides of things, thereby, mostly abandoned by such children, because their hidden sacrifices, truth and love was never seen.
For the fact that you’re closer to your Mother from birth, you tend to share more with her, listen to her, and believe her. So, when your parents have marital issues, your dad won’t have the time to sit you down to say his side of the story – i don’t know whether its a pride thing or just what Men do, but they don’t share emotional stuffs.
Mothers on the other hand, have time to sit you down, and tell you how “useless” your father is, and how he does nothing for you or provide for the family – sometimes true, most times false. But you believe her anyway, your sympathy will naturally go with her and you’ll naturally start resenting your Father for things he’s probably or not totally at fault with.
Growing up, we’re naturally closer to our mothers, we feel their love and care more than our dads. Sometimes, we even doubt if our Dads love us at all – it’s almost impossible for a typical African Dad to utter the words “i love you” to their spouse or children. Does that mean he doesn’t? No. He does. My Dad never told me he does, i know he does – I’d rather have him not say it, just to avoid such awkward situation, but i know he does love me no point saying it.
I almost grew up with the belief that my mom pays my school fees and everything – i mean that’s what i see. He gives it to her, then she takes me to school and pay, Therefore, “she pays my school fees” thats all i know. Except that each time, she asks me to go Thank my Father for it, then i realize otherwise. Let’s say she never told me he pays, I’d probably grow up to resent him for that.
There are similar cases like these where we’ll never find out the sacrifices our fathers have made for us, or why they made the decisions they made or act the way they did.
Yes, it’s not that deep or complex but no one can ever erase or dismiss our moms great acts of love as a parent but not with a deep-seated desire to overcompensate for a missing role in your life. When your mom does something for you, she does it out of love and care for her child, not to fulfill anything a nonexistent role was supposed to.
My little sister, sometimes cooks and brings me food, a task which is primarily a parents, should I then start calling her “mama” or “papa”?
Do not vilify your father simply because of what your mother “fed” you or what think you saw or know. Your mother is your mother, and your father is your father. One can not take the place of the other. Do not take sides, do your thing as a good child would, irrespective of what happened. People who’ve lost their dads will tell you how important and greatly they missed them even those who lost theirs as infants.
– Isa Eneye Mubarak

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