Mother’s Day 2022: Long life to all mothers

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Many countries around the world celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. Accordingly, in 2022 it is celebrated today (8 May) in Sri Lanka. Indeed, Mother’s Day is a celebration, but it is not limited to a particular calendar day, honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the impact of mothers for social progress cannot be limited to a particular day.

According to a UNICEF analysis 99 per cent of children in Sri Lanka are breastfed in their lives. Further, according to that analysis, babies in South Asia including Sri Lanka are more likely to be breastfed in comparison to other regions in the world and are breastfed for longer. Thus, as Sri Lankans we are responsible than others to celebrate the ‘quality of mothering’ of our mothers.

Quality of mothering

The mother is the female parent of the family. Earlier we believed that to be a mother a female must deliver a baby. However, according to the modern social-psychological ideologies, to be a mother it is not essential to deliver a baby physically. It is considered a quality – ‘mothering’ in modern ideologies, and a role in the family as well as in society. Accordingly, even males who have developed the quality of mothering can be mothers. But in 2022 too, we celebrate and honor the conventional ‘female mother figure’ of the family and society.

The mother role is a socio-cultural construction. Evidence from several societies indicate that the children do not require a close, intimate and continuous relationship with a female mother figure essentially, father also can does that. However, in contrast to that view, many socio-psychological perspectives emphasise it is essential for mental health that the infant and young should experience a warm, intimate and continuous relationship with the mother. Further, there is a generally-based psychological need for a close and intimate mother-child relationship.

Mother-centric home

Family itself is a social system and considered the basic building block of society. In an effective family, the instrumental and expressive roles should be complemented each other. Sociologists characterised the mother’s role in the family as expressive, which meant she provides warmth, security and emotional support which is essential for the effective socialisation of the young. However, In Sri Lanka, we are balanced and unique experiencing a ‘father centric society’ and a ‘mother-centric home’.

We are accustomed to the mother-centric home. In such a home the mother has many roles to play. Sometimes the mother is a nurse. At other times she is a doctor or psychiatrist. There are times she is a teacher. Also a chef. In many situations the mother is the manager of the family. If the motherly role in the family is strong, then the family is strong and peaceful. A strong and peaceful family is considered the foundation of a strong society.

Working mothers and ‘Mompreneurs’

Today, the situation experienced by working mothers and mompreneurs is quite different. Working mothers have to balance work responsibility with their family priorities and child care responsibilities than working fathers. Hence, working mothers are prone to more stress and severe role conflicts than non-working mothers, and also fathers of either categories; working and non-working. Unlike non-working mothers, to be successful and happy, working mothers have to play in several roles including children, career, relationships, hobbies, community, and health in both domains; work and the family. That is why we say ‘they report to work even after the paid work; job’. No working mother can be perfect, but they can still work towards happiness.

An interesting conclusion was made by Cheryl Buehler and Marion O’Brien of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in their research article titled ‘Mothers’ Part-Time Employment: Associations With Mother and Family Well-Being’ published in the Journal of Family Psychology. The results of their research study reveal that mothers who work part-time or full-time outside of the home during their child’s infancy and toddler years are happier and have stronger feelings of well-being than stay-at-home mothers. Moreover, mothers who worked outside of the home are healthier and happier. Basically, it might be due to the role enrichment effect which positively influence on working mothers.

On the other hand, typically working mothers are under the pressure of a guilt conscience. Especially, during last two years, the Covid-19 epidemic has left working mothers, who still disproportionately take care of the housework and children to find solutions for education and childcare. In 2020, Sheryl G. Ziegler presented five tips to overcome the guilty such as: “…First, forgive yourself for your choices and circumstances. Second, revisit your values and make them your top priorities. Third, ask for help from those around you. Fourth, remember the basics of being a good parent and let yourself be “good enough.” Finally, unfollow those on social media that bring you down.”

‘Mompreneur’-a mother who sets up and runs her own business in addition to caring for her children. As the female portion is comparatively bigger in Sri Lankan population, to promote an entrepreneurial economy, it is essential to focus great extent of attention on Mompreneurs as well. Especially, for a developing country like Sri Lanka, the contribution of courageous and visionary mothers might be a great source of entrepreneurial development.

Representative of god

The greatest resource of parents is their children. We have heard of mothers who sacrifice their lives to protect that resource. The below-mentioned sensitive story is also about the love of a Japanese mother who tried to save her child despite her life.

A tsunami relief team in Japan once found a three-month-old baby boy wrapped in a protective blanket and a body of a woman by the side. The mother had been trying hard to save her son when his house collapsed. She covered her son so that the debris would not fall on his body. But the child was dead. The leader of the relief team was removing the blanket wrapped around the child and saw a mobile phone that was safely inside. The below-mentioned appears on its screen:

“…If you can save the life, remember I love you so much…”

This is how the mother turned her love into words and wrote it on the screen of her mobile phone.

God cannot reach everywhere. So, god created mothers on Earth. Thus, a mother represents god. Indeed, nothing in this world is better than a mother. She is the monument of real, eternal and unconditional love. The most beautiful person on this earth, our best friend, and the strongest supporter always. No one can replace a mother’s love, not anything in the world. Long life to all mothers!

Tharindu Dananjaya Weerasinghe

(Senior Lecturer, Department of Human Resource Management, University  

By Tharindu Dananjaya Weerasinghe