motherhood

Misogyny and Misandry; The Kenyan Society As Of Now.

A lot has been said concerning Beyonce’s Lemonade album. Mostly individual perspectives of what the artiste is on to, some negative, some positive. Today morning, I stumbled upon a post by one of our well known Kenyan bloggers and Twitter bigwig, with that particular album of Beyonce’s, forming the inspiration behind the post.

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Beyonce, photo courtesy of  tvcontinental.tv

I decided to read it and what accosted me was simply a vile case of a misogynist rant. I do not intend to bash a fellow blogger as I would not relish being drawn into a nasty spat.

However, the choice of words in the post to describe Kenyan women as opportunists jumped out at me like a thief in the night. All that seemingly hatred, toward women further proved to me how much the Kenyan society as of now, has sunk deep into the depths of misogyny and misandry.

It’s not only the men who hate the women. The women too do not like the men. The men would love to justify their hatred with claims of the feminist wave messing up any form of rationality in women. The women becoming carefree in recent times to deplorable levels deserving a severe backlash from the male gender. The men would like the women to believe that they do not give a hoot about whatever feminist views the females now possess.

The females on the other hand will react with shock and disbelief at this outcome from men. They will not take it lying down that the men have now chosen to bash what in essence, is their newfound liberation from the shackles of submissiveness bordering on oppression. They would like to prove to the men that their hostile actions do not at all faze them and that any form of oppressive thinking toward women from men will not be tolerated.

A lot of mistrust between the sexes has now over time seeped into our Kenyan society. Men and women have no qualms calling into radio stations and live on air rant about their husbands’ or wives’ transgressions. Often one side will end up being bashed more than the other much to the glee of the radio hosts keen on boosting their ratings. I do not blame the radio hosts. It is part of their job to ensure that their shows get the highest number of listeners and fans as possible.

The way a man would sleep with a woman then after the deed decide that she is cheap and therefore, he has no desire to continue pursuing the woman and without further explanation, bolt is the same way, a woman will develop a deep dislike for men, who seem to only be after one thing from her then disappear into thin air. Indeed misogyny and misandry is so deeply rooted in our society, that both sexes do not know how to treat each other with respect after a night of passion in which both were full participants.

Both sexes see no need to have a sit down and decide to either slow down the pace in anticipation for something solid or not to pursue anything afterward. I’m sure if we were that reasonable and considerate of each other’s feelings, a sit down between two adults who seemingly rushed into sex would have saved both sexes a lot of heartache.

I read what came out as stereotypical thinking from the post of what Kenyan women have now over time transformed into being. Gold diggers, sl*ts, b*****s, opportunists, spinsters on the prey for hapless men to nab and what nots. We may tend to conclude that this is just but a one sided view from a man who obviously has deep issues with women but I would like to disagree.

This is what the battle of the sexes has turned the Kenyan society into. You might be surprised that quite a number of men think the same and are in total agreement with the blogger. You might equally be surprised that quite a number of women think lowly of men and have lumped them into categories of deadbeat dads, players, good for nothings, chauvinists and what nots.

The blogger then went ahead to bash successful female media personalities with an analysis of why each is in the current marital situation. I can only speculate why he decided to go down that route. However, methinks that the fact that he knows these women are considered ideal role models by other women, just from their successes and achievements, then a direct attack of them goes a long way into trying to dent the seemingly perfect image, that these high profile women have created in other women’s minds.

Simply the malicious style of thinking that this whole issue of misandry and misogyny has caused us. It might take a lot of effort to try and at least change this whole outcome seeing that more misogynist views as well as misandrist views are cropping up with each passing day. What happened to the respect that we once accorded one another? Or perhaps there never was a strong foundation of respect between the sexes in the first place. Probably, a ground for unhealthy competition was created between the sexes long before we came across misogyny and misandry as words.

Claiming that women are learning their whorish ways from their own whorish mothers is totally misconstrued. I think a section of men has already forgotten that it is from women that they came from and when you take to insulting mothers, including single mothers, it is a whole level of disrespect toward the female gender, your own mother included. It should be noted that if a woman decides to act in a certain way considered vile by society, since it is societal views which influence our morals often times, it is not because she comes from a background of vile women.

We are choosing as a society to bash one another in the crudest of ways. If your own father left your mother and the children to face hard times yet he was in a position to provide, it does not mean that all men will walk out on women and therefore deserve to be lumped into a category of animals. I think as bloggers who have a public voice, it is our mandate to try and unite the sexes and not draw them into what seems like a hostile competition of who is better than the other. Often times, in a battle of the sexes, none of the sides win.

I would have loved to get a refreshing read of what a Kenyan blogger thought of Beyonce’s lemonade album, never mind the fact that we do not for sure know what goes on in Bey and Jay Z’s bedroom. However, what I unfortunately got was a rant aimed at painting one gender as blacker than the other. None of the genders should even be painted anything in the first place because like it or not we are in existence together and we therefore need to coexist.

There’s no justification whatsoever for a Kenyan woman to bash a Kenyan man neither is there any justification whatsoever for a Kenyan man to bash a Kenyan woman. If a woman decides to get married in her 60s and does get a man who loves her then nobody between the two has been played. If a woman ends up a single mum, then we have no reason to run our mouths on what we think caused it. If a couple ends up divorced, the issues are between the couple and not with either of the gender.

All this slut shaming of Kenyan women and finger pointing of Kenyan men by Kenyan women and men alike will only take our society to a place where we would not be able to recover it from. I rest my case.

What Would You Do If Your School Aged Daughter Told You She Has A Boyfriend?

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wallpapersinhq.pw

 

“Mum there’s something I want to tell you. Promise me you won’t get mad.” Your pre-teen or teenage daughter implores one day. Being the good, modern mum who doesn’t fancy resembling your own mum on how she handled communication with you while growing up, you sit down patiently and nod your head in encouragement for your daughter to go on.

“Well, you see mum_that boy who lives next to that grocer’s whose mum you are friends with_” Your daughter stammers. “Well, we kind of really like each other.” BAM! She finally drops the bombshell. Something you didn’t quite expect to happen this early for her and weren’t the slightest prepared on how to deal with it. What do you do about it?

I once spoke to a mother of a 16 year old who rambled on, on how she and her daughter had this amazing mother-daughter relationship. She mentioned how her daughter could tell her anything and how she in turn impacted her wisdom to her daughter. This mother seemed pretty sure that her daughter wouldn’t fall by the wayside seeing how perfect their relationship was.

Then I spoke to yet another mother who was every bit the African (the first one was Asian) and she equally mentioned that she encouraged her daughters to talk. Both of her daughters are pre-teens and she is the modern Kenyan mother who conforms to the school of thought, that you should be friends with your children. It was quite interesting listening to her as we children of the late eighties and prior did not have that kind of open minded mothers.

Our parents weren’t very equipped to give us that sex ed and most of the things we learnt about sex later in life, we figured out by ourselves or through watching movies and experimentation. They were also not the kind of mothers who fancied being friends with us. They were disciplinarians where the slightest form of truancy from you elicited a beating. However, I do not blame them for the old fashioned way they raised us.

According to an article on the Ceasefire website/ Radar reports dated October 7th 2014 and reported by Susan Yara from Mombasa, Kenya;

Kenya has seen an alarming rise of teenage pregnancies forcing thousands of girls to abandon their education early and spurring a debate over the causes and repercussions of the issue.

Susan goes on to list probable causes of  the rise in teenage pregnancies in Kenya as early marriages, broken families, rape, peer pressure, inadequate sex ed and alcohol and substance abuse.

So being a knowledgeable mother aware that your daughter is experiencing raging hormones, already has confided in you that she has a boyfriend and is in need of thorough parental guidance and not anger, how would you go about it?

Quite a number of mothers may be tempted to conclude that friendship with their children is needed at this point, so that their children can be open with them at all times. That way, they figure it would be much easier to keep track of their children’s activities and therefore, avoid the worst from happening.

Rather than being this overly strict mum who comes across as tyrannical and in the process scares away her children from opening up, why not act like a friend your kids can confide in about anything? Some mothers tend to reason.

However an article on the website http://www.modernmom.com titled BE YOUR KID’S BEST PARENT, NOT THEIR BEST FRIEND! tends to disagree and expounds why. A section of the article states;

 

A parent should be the one person a child feels he can talk to about anything, while at the same time being the person who sets the rules, boundaries and expectations for behaviors.

This structure is what provides children with a sense of safety and belonging.

If done well, this is how an open relationship between parent and child is established. When a child breaks the rules, boundaries and expectations (as they are sure to do – this is how they learn), it is the job of the parent to give the child consequences for those behaviors, while using the experience as a teachable moment.

How can we learn from this? How can we do better next time?

Our job as parents is to prepare our children for life. To be able to talk with our children about real issues, with the intention of teaching them life skills so they, and we, will feel confident that when they go out on their own, they will be best able to make the safest and smartest choices. “Friends” do not have that type of relationship; active parents do.

So as a mother, who wants to be a best parent and not a best friend, how will you handle your daughter dating or wanting to date in her pre-teens or teenage years?

 

On Children And When I’m Going To Have Mine

I find it quite frequent nowadays, that I encounter the question, “So do you have kids?”

Some are satisfied when I quickly reply that I don’t. Others find it rather unbelievable that I’m not a mother yet, as if I would deny my own child/children for that matter! Yet a small section thinks that I’m delaying by not having children. One went as far as calculating the age I’ll be when my kids will be in high school. His argument was that by my 50s, I should be done with educating children in high school and primary school levels.

I understand that when you get to your mid twenties, you are bound to have everyone on your neck trying to prod if you have that special someone in your life, has he hinted on marriage yet, are you feeling broody…and so on and so forth. I must count myself lucky, that no one from my immediate family, has taken it upon themselves to jolt me back to reality that “I’m growing old” and therefore, need to be settled or thinking about settling and actually start having kids of my own.

Quite recently, there was an article on one of the local newspapers concerning women, who had chosen not to have kids or something on those lines. Of course being an African nation, where we value children as the continuation of a generation, the article in question sparked a heated debate on one of the popular radio stations that I got to listen to. I heard men calling in and branding such kind of women as “selfish” and “out of touch with reality”  blah, blah, blah. According to the callers, who wouldn’t want to have kids? We were commanded in the Bible to multiply and fill the earth.

I’m not sure if any of the callers touched on women, who couldn’t conceive and therefore couldn’t enjoy the luxury of being called mothers, even though they may yearn to or they simply dismissed them, as people paying for their past misdeeds. I can’t tell because I didn’t listen to the whole debate. Plus I’m of the idea that, when it comes to personal choices concerning when to have kids then, who are we to judge another’s decision?

I must admit that I do get all cooey seeing babies on strollers and toddlers running about. It’s not like I’m completely closed off on the idea of having children. Children are such a blessing. Who wouldn’t tell really, from all the photos of cute faces being posted on social media by proud first time or second time or even third time parents, on a daily basis? It can get annoying at some point but many times, we can’t really help not noticing how much of a pleasant welcome and blessing these tots are to their mommas and pops.

So definitely, someday I would want to be a mom. I would want to experience the full package of mommyhood, labor pains, changing diapers, deprived sleep, terrible two tantrums, first day of school, buying school uniform, budgeting for my child’s pocket money and all. However, I’m not going to hurry up and have kids just because a couple of people believe that it’s their mandate to push young, unmarried women well into their mid twenties, into parenthood. As a matter of fact, I have no timeline in place. I only hope to give my children a solid family which of course contributes greatly to my “seemingly delay” in being a parent.

In the meantime, I shall pick one or two parenting tricks from my friends and family, who have preceded me in this aspect for future tests 😉

 

Woman, You Are Too Dignified To Cling

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There is a difference between love and infatuation.

Take this as a boring repeat Chemistry lesson which is however, very crucial.

Infatuation is what we first experienced in our teenage years. When we were really crushing on a particular guy we considered cute and had trouble concentrating in class because of it. Reminds me of a sad story some time back in the local news, where a teenage girl committed suicide after one of her teachers was insensitive enough, to read text messages she exchanged with her boyfriend, in front of the whole school during assembly. The poor girl couldn’t bear to think of the teasing she was going to endure afterward from her peers and in a swift move, decided to end her life.

It is a sad case that turned tragic. But one that reeks of infatuation. 

In her situation, she can be excused because as a teenager, you are still way behind on the road to maturity. This is a stage where you confuse strong feelings you have for someone else as love and not your raging hormones playing tricks on you. When a person is in the infatuation stage, he or she is willing to do the unthinkable for the sake of the “love” he or she assumes is feeling. Infatuation refuses to let you see the reality but instead lets you dwell in the fantasy world.

Indeed, you dwell so much in the fantasy world that you cannot accept that  relationships sometimes fail. You cannot accept that people move on eventually after a failed relationship. You refuse to see commitment phobes for who they really are, instead making excuses for them and reaching out to them, when all the signs read that the other party is not ready to be exclusive.

You go take an elevator in the tallest building in town, get to the top floor and plunge yourself head first to your death below, because someone said what you had was over. You stab your boyfriend 22 times killing him in the process, because he was supposedly flirting with other chics. The latter, which happened about one or two months back, in my country.

In your infatuation with this equally young man, you do not weigh the options that by resorting to such a brutal punishment for his misdeeds you risk messing up the rest of your life at only 22. And for what?! Because someone who was not even married to you nor ready for marriage, was just being a typical young guy trying his options with other chics.

When adults are infatuated, it is even more detrimental than when it happens to teenagers. Teenagers are still growing and can therefore be excused for acting foolish in love. Adults, I believe have already long passed that stage of infatuation, had a couple of relationships which failed that taught them the reality of the dating world. And so for an adult to act all infatuated, it simply comes out as just plain stupid.

Sadly, there are several people out there and women, for that matter, who stubbornly refuse to distinguish between infatuation and love.

Infatuation is the root cause of women clinging to men who do not value them. Men who have piled up excuses over time as to why they cannot exclusively date them. Men who act hot and cold.

It is the root cause of women constantly going back to men who have no further use for them all the while ignoring the fact that he declared it was over long time ago. Women who refuse to accept that relationships fail and beg and whine for the man to give them another chance. Women who act all dramatic in public because a man has absconded his parental duties. I speak to such women today.

Love is not stupid. It was never meant to be.

It is actually love that keeps couples together long after the kids have come, the hectic schedules have taken over, the financial constraints have reared their ugly heads occasionally, in-laws have moved in and do not seem to mind that they have overstretched their stay…the list is endless. Love is considerate. It understands that it will not always be smooth sailing and that there will be rocky patches to navigate along the way. Rather, it is the commitment you made to one another that will ensure that the love you feel for one another survives.

Love accepts heartbreaks no matter how piercing they are. It allows the other person to state their position and gradually, no matter how difficult, start to accept the break up and move on. It does not give the person reason to shame this man for his parental misdeeds. No matter how much of a betrayal it seems, it gives the woman courage to forget about this deadbeat dad and try as much as possible to raise her child singlehandedly.

Love sees no need for vengeance. It does not turn the woman into a pathetic sight always bombarding this man who no longer values her with ‘private calls’. It does not let the woman lose her dignity, because she is too high on infatuation, to notice that her attempts to piece the relationship back together, are coming out as downright desperate.

Love allows this woman to be dignified in the face of rejection. So much to the extent where this man in question, actually starts to pay attention to how dignified this woman has handled herself despite his actions. Love does not compete unnecessarily with another woman over a certain man’s attention. By the way ladies, a man who loves and values you, will not put you in a position where you feel like you have to fight another woman, just to prove your position in his life. He will not give you mixed signals. He will not make you wait for him to make up his mind over what exactly he wants to pursue with you.

A man in love declares it with actions and words. Do not be fooled by actions if his words read otherwise or vice versa. The two go hand in hand. Therefore, if you feel conflicted, act like a woman who was initially in love with this man and not like an infatuated woman. You are just too dignified to cling.

 

The Major Qualities Every Woman Should Look For In a Man When Getting Into a Relationship

I get all kinds of advice when it comes to love and dating. Everyone has their own perspective of how love should be, when you should get your first born, what age bracket is ideal for a successful relationship…blah, blah, blah. As a matter of fact, I happened to get advice on similar lines as early as this morning. According to one, I should hurry up and get my first born irregardless of whether I’m ready for it financially or not. And she was very specific that before I get to 30, I should ask God for two things; A hubby and a baby. Her conclusion was, the way older the guy is, the way better.

The other thought that was bullcrap and I should get my first born when I feel ready for it financially. She also added that it was embarrassing for a young woman dating a much older guy. I silently agreed with the second one’s perspective. Babies are not things you pop out without thinking of how their future well being will be. It’s one tragedy encountering a deadbeat dad and a whole lot of more tragedy being unable to provide for your baby, because you got pregnant in a bid to beat the 30 year old mark.

Anyways, when we are still in our late teens and early twenties, we are forgiven to overlook some qualities in men we desire to get into relationships with. As long as he’s quite good looking, treats you out frequently on fancy dates, can organize an epic road trip all on his pocket budget, gives you the butterflies…well, for the sake of showing off to our girlfriends, we are good. But as we grow older past the mid twenties mark, I have come to realize that our perspectives on love and dating drastically change. Now it’s not all about putting up a front for our peers but the kind of treatment, this man gives you matters a hell of a lot more, than when you were still club hopping at 21.

So what are these qualities we start looking for in a man we desire to get exclusive with?

Caring

We want this man to care for us. Not only when he knows he’s going to get ‘some’ at a certain point in the near future. We want him to really care for us. To find out about our well being, to check on us when we are not at our best, to offer us support, practical advice, a hand when we are moving houses…the list is endless. And as much as we want to be cared for, we also want to be given reason to care for that other person.

Gone are the days where you cared too much for a man who actually had no time for you. Who wouldn’t bother to find out how your day was, whether it bothered you if he flirted with other chics in your presence or not or if you worried that most of your calls on his cellphone went unanswered or not.

We want to feel like we are cherished enough by this man to easily reciprocate the same.

Understanding

We want a man who will not find trouble understanding us. Women are complicated creatures, I do not dispute that. However, when men increasingly use that line as a justification for not being understanding of us, it gets a little too old and tired. We are not asking for 100% kind of understanding. We are simply asking for about 60% understanding. The rest of the 40%, we are big girls, so we’ll sort ourselves out.

We do not desire a man who constantly misunderstands us and uses phrases such as “you are just overreacting” or “is it that time of the month?”. As a matter of fact, these are phrases that most women will most certainly agree with me irritate them to the core. We are not promising to be easy to decipher, but we would appreciate it if at least you had the decency not to use such kinds of phrases, but instead found out why we are acting the way we are.

Please do not misinterpret me. I’m not talking about the frequent drama-queen like tantrums some of us are guilty of throwing at times. There are just those days when you men can’t seem to figure us out and no matter how hard it may be for you, that is when we need your understanding the most. It makes it much easier for us to snap out of it.

Meaningful sex

No woman likes the feeling of being used after a night of passion. Certainly no woman likes a situation where a man was only after that one thing and then he vanishes. We want to feel like the relationship is much more than just sex. Yes, sex is one of the major ingredients too but we do not want to feel like the only reason why a man stays with us, is because we do ‘out of the world’ things to him in the bedroom.

No wonder, men who have tried being so sexually straightforward with women when hitting on them, will most of the time fall flat on their faces. We are not content with only the tags “seductress” and “tigress”. We like feeling like we are taken more seriously apart from our “gymnastic skills”. This is mostly due to the fact that we connect emotionally with a man during sexual activity.

Since we have come to realize with time that for men it is a little different, we have accepted that fact and now know that for a man to still stick by you after sex, he must truly care for you. Those are the particular men we want in our lives.

Loyalty

We are well aware by now that men are visual creatures but we also equally have the knowledge that they are equipped with self control. We want a man we can trust that he will be faithful to us. We hate the sick feeling we get whenever we suspect someone we are currently dating of cheating. We do not fancy fighting with fellow women over a man. We did in the past, but suddenly realized how stupid we looked tearing each other’s clothes over a man who was playing us both.

We want to date with dignity. We do not want that dignity destroyed to the point where we have no shame going through your phone on an investigative mission. We are very much at peace when we know the one we are dating is as true to us as we are true to him.

This Woman, Winnie

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                                         http://www.bu.edu

I decided to pay a little more attention today to one particular phenomenal African woman, Winnie Madikizela Mandela.I’m not from her generation nor her country, but through the stories I have heard and read about the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, I know for sure that she played a huge role in it and suffered greatly, as a result of her political involvement and activities at that time.

She was not an entirely perfect woman. As a matter of fact, some of her flaws and legal battles long after the dark period of apartheid have been documented and talked about. However, I would like to look at her from the angle of Winnie being the mother of two daughters and a wife of a man who had initially been jailed for life.

Born in 1936 to educated parents, Winnie eventually ended up being the first black professional social welfare worker. She turned down a scholarship to further her studies after attaining a degree in Social work in the US, so that she could serve the needy people. In the process, she devoted her energy and skill to the struggle for equality and justice for all the people in South Africa. Indeed, a feminist in the making amidst turbulent times.

After marrying Nelson Mandela in 1958, Winnie suffered harassment, imprisonment and periodic banishment for her continuing involvement in that struggle. In 1964 when her daughters were about 5 and 4 respectively, her husband, Nelson Mandela was tried and imprisoned for life. Of course leaving Winnie behind to fend for her children single handedly. However, the harassment by the South African government of the time ceased not and Winnie, was eventually forced to send her two daughters to boarding school in Swaziland in order to protect them.

It is indeed a rough, murky world for women who have had to endure their husbands being detained or jailed for political reasons. Many have equally had to suffer castigation from society and abandonment from people they once considered friends. The harsh reality soon dawns on them that together with their husbands, they are now considered enemies of the state. And to avoid a similar occurrence happening to them, other people will refrain from being too friendly or helpful of such women. This was no different for Winnie Mandela.

Here you are, a young wife and mother of two small children, who suddenly has to contend with being considered an enemy of the state, just because you and your husband are involved in the struggle against obvious injustices to human kind. Whose only desire is for equality for all and to feel like you actually belong in this land that you were born in. I can only imagine how turbulent those times were for Winnie. Yet her courage is immeasurable.

For 17 months at some point, Winnie was put in solitary confinement as a harsh punishment for her activities. Yet her spirit was not broken. She just had to send her children away. A huge sacrifice for a mother to make for the sake of her children no matter how painful. Many times, Winnie had often wondered if she would ever see her children again, whenever she was forcefully torn away from them. It was even worse that she was denied physical contact with her incarcerated husband.

When I look at Winnie, I see determination and a will power to overcome like no other. The kind of emotional turmoil she went through when her husband was jailed for life and subsequently when she kept on being picked up by the police. Many in her position at the time, would have given up the political activities that kept them constantly in trouble with the authorities. Most women in such a situation would have chosen to raise their children quietly, as they wondered what life held for them, now that they had been rendered single mothers by the unfair arm of the law.

Yet Winnie decided to make sacrifices that were too difficult for any woman with children to make. She carried on with her quest for equality and justice. She ensured that the name Nelson Mandela was never forgotten. My own parents once commented that they always knew someone called Nelson Mandela existed but they did not know how he looked like in person. So it was quite exciting for them to watch him on TV for the first time, walk out of the prison gates, hand in hand with his wife.

Mind you, both of my parents are Kenyans. So you can imagine how much zeal Winnie had in ensuring that her husband’s cause and name were not forgotten, despite not knowing if he will ever walk out of the jail gates a free man or not. Indeed her strengths as a woman surpass her known  weaknesses greatly. It would be unfair to judge her by her weaknesses while keeping in mind what she had endured during the struggle against apartheid including a finalized divorce in 1996.

As women, we can learn a lot from Winnie. It doesn’t have to necessarily mean being involved in political activities that put our lives and those of our children at risk. It simply means that there is much more to life as a woman than our looks and charm. It means that with determination and immeasurable courage despite what we might be facing in our personal lives, we can overcome many obstacles. It means that with zeal and a belief for better days, we can eventually achieve our dreams and goals. It means that if we are in a position to fight for justice and equality, then we should stand courageously and do so no matter what people will say.

And so on this day, all the way from Kenya, I salute you, Winnie Madikizela Mandela! You taught us women how to be real women.

 

Reference: biography.yourdictionary.com/winnie-mandela

Monsterhood Seems To Be Replacing Motherhood.

Quite recently, I was walking with a friend on a busy street and suddenly, a woman passed by. There was nothing extra ordinary about the woman. However, a few meters behind her was a small child, around 3 or 4 years of age whom I believe, was her child.

I remember reacting immediately with shock at the sight of a mother leaving such a small child to follow her behind, on a busy street teeming with humanity, vehicles, tuktuks and motorcycles, all the while seeming oblivious to the danger that posed to her child.

What if some reckless driver or rider hit the child? What if the child lost sight of her mother and got lost? My friend, who obviously has since gotten used to such scenarios of careless mothers, assured me that this was not an isolated case. So I let it slip. But not for long as I’m still recounting this tale, several days later, to you my readers.

I mean, even elephants take better care of their offspring!! They do not leave them behind to be attacked and mauled by predators while the elephant mothers stroll breezily ahead.

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fineartamerica.com

I am reminded of how my own mother raised me back then when I was still a small child. If we were walking in town, she would always say, “Pita mbele yangu ndio nikuone, ukikaa huko nyuma sitakuona” (go ahead of me where I can see you, if you lag behind, I can’t see you). She was a fast walker and I always seemed to be dragging my feet and complaining quickly of fatigue.

One day I did not heed her instructions. We were heading somewhere and with her fast walking nature, as soon as she turned the corner, I lost sight of her. As absurd and hilarious as it may seem, I got lost. I simply could not tell where my mum had disappeared to down the corner. For some minutes, I walked back and forth, obviously in the wrong direction, trying to figure out where she had gone to.

Eventually, almost on the verge of tears, I gave up and ended up standing by the street with some male strangers, who seemed genuinely concerned I was lost. My mother must have realized that I was nowhere to be found because in less than an hour, she was back on the same street and found me standing with the good Samaritans.

If she had initially been worried sick by my brief disappearance, she did a very good job not to show it by instead laughing it off. Then warning me afterward sternly to always walk ahead of her. I had learnt my lesson so now I knew better not to lag behind.

This particular memory came flooding back to me the minute I saw that woman breezily walking ahead while her small daughter followed behind. I’m not a mother yet but I already have full knowledge that a mother needs to be careful.

In one of the recent issues of The Nairobian, there is an article of a woman being arraigned in court for sexually abusing her own daughter. Apparently, her daughter’s crime was going out unattended to borrow a book. And this insane woman decided to insert her fingers into her daughter’s private parts, injuring her in the process, as punishment for such a petty issue.

Well, we can dismiss her as a deranged bar maid for that is her profession but I beg to differ. I have full knowledge that even mothers engaging in prostitution would not let their daughters enter the same profession. It is ingrained in mothers to always want better and the best for their children.

So if this so called disgrace to feminism, wanted to prove a point to her daughter, that there are sex pests out there who can do just the same to her if she goes out unattended, I think she ended up missing the whole point and acting like a child molester herself.

As per my knowledge, motherhood is a choice.

It does not matter whether it was a one night of drunken passion that got you pregnant, if the father chose to stay in his child’s life or not or if you are struggling to raise those children and barely making it. The minute you made a conscious decision to keep the pregnancy and not to abort it, then it automatically became a lifetime choice. A choice that needs to be embraced whole heartedly.

Therefore mothers who take out their frustrations in life on their children are actually hardened monsters who have failed dismally at parenting. Remember, a child does not choose to be born. A child is totally innocent irregardless of whether the parents concerned are getting along or not.

As much as religion clearly states that children should be disciplined, there also happens to be a limit to the kind of discipline that parents met out on their children. Nowhere in the Holy Books has been written “thou shall douse thy child in paraffin and burn him or her alive for stealing or for disobedience.”

Instead there are instructions as to how a parent shall bring up a child.

If there is a mother out there concluding that her own children are her source of misery, then she probably has an underlying psychological problem that needs medical or spiritual intervention. Mothers are supposed to love, nurture, support and guide their children.

It is the reason why God gave us the necessary threshold for pain while bringing forth life. He knew that despite the intensity of labor pains, we would still have that ability to unconditionally love our children. For a woman to give birth to a baby only to later damage that child, shows that a section of mothers got confused along the way.

They forgot about their responsibilities or were simply looking for scapegoats to blame for their denial to be responsible. If we truly want to be good examples of feminism, then we better start with how we parent our own children as mothers.

Motherhood is not an unpleasant chore – Borrowed Quote

Honey, I just got you a gift!

Sounds familiar? You bet.

Recently, the Kenyan social media scene got a “rare” treat from Laura Akunga. This sassy wifey decided to get her hubby a not very common birthday gift in most Kenyan homes, in the form of a car valued at about 10 million Kenya Shillings. I have used the words “not very common” because her Facebook update went viral.

Apparently, Kenyan women in recent times, have done a very good job in painting themselves as gold digging, weave donning, manhood choppers, husband snatching, kisirani (troublesome) b*****s, whose husbands find the bar a better companion than a snarling wife in a cozy home. So if one woman decides to do something overly special for her hubby like Laura did, tongues will surely wag, no doubt.

However, do not be fooled cuz I wasn’t either!

I knew that it was just a matter of time before the haters went to work. Glorify her then tear her to shreds, Kenyan style.

I wasn’t wrong.

Just before week end, I was passing by a newspaper vendor and I see a scathing headline on one of the popular newspapers, with the main subject of course being Laura Akunga. The same woman that a short while back, men considered her an ideal wife that other Kenyan wives should emulate.

That got some insecure women green with envy, just from the realization that she could afford to splurge money on an expensive car for her hubby, when they couldn’t afford that trendy bag, in a boutique going at only 10,000 Kshs.

Life is surely unfair.

Reminds me of my friend who says there are people who cover themselves with money like a blanket, not mere hustlers like us. People who woke up on the right side of the bed 😛 She amuses me, that one, with her funny analysis of the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor in our country.

So apparently the headline stated that Laura Akunga had conned someone. From Laura Akunga buying hubby a 10M car for his birthday, to this. Oh well, this had happened faster than I had expected.

You see, as much as social media is a powerful tool for communication, it is equally a highly destructive tool and women are the most vulnerable. You post something, it’s out there and people might either decide to glorify you or to go at you like hyenas on a carcass.

It would have been better if Laura decided to keep her gift private. But then social media is all about vanity. Sometimes, we women do not even realize it when we over share. The constant updates about our pregnancies, our loving hubbies, our sizzling hot boyfies, our children. Sometimes we want to even announce it to the world how much we are living large. I mean, we all have that hidden little bragging streak in us that occasionally gets the better of us, don’t we?

What women need to realize is that social media can either make you or break you. That social media is just that, social media. I doubt if a man bought his woman a birthday gift, he would share it on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. It is usually the women who will quickly rush to post a bouquet of flowers that a loving man in their lives got them or an item of clothing or shoes.

All the while forgetting the fact that behind the many phones, laptops and computers logged on to social media platforms, are also people who consider their lives a living hell. Who are battling insecurities and therefore spend their waking hours doing comparisons with other people’s lives, getting jealous and feeling more crappier than ever.

People who feel like they are the walking dead. Cyber bullies who would not hesitate in bursting somebody else’s, (who seems better placed than them) bubble. People who will gloat at your misery. People out to settle scores and are only waiting for the right moment and opportunity to do it.

Women need to wake up and smell the coffee. Vanity comes at a cost.

I personally have no way of telling who is speaking the truth in Laura’s case. The one purporting to have been conned or Laura Akunga. But with a headline like that on the front page of a popular paper, that kind of does a perfect job of denting her image to some extent. Remember, before she posted a photo of herself gifting her hubby, we knew nothing about her.

So when did women decide to transform social media into all about their private lives and at what cost? And if there are men too engaging in oversharity, I stand to be corrected.

The photos of whatever gifts we have received from our loves and better halves need to go, photos reserved for only our sexual partners in sheer, skimpy attire need to go, the daily photos of our chubby, sweet little ones need to go, essays of our year’s achievements need to go and so do our constant motherhood updates.

The haters shall always be there and it would be way wiser if we protected ourselves from them. Trust me, many can’t handle the heat when people start launching missiles at you because of a simple update on social media. If you want to keep track of your private life, keep a personal diary but please spare us the oversharity. Just saying.

 

Are Boys The Weaker Sex Nowadays Or Simply Taking Longer To Mature??

My mum always tells me that if I’m to choose a suitable guy to date, he must be at least 5 years older than I. I have always been one to argue with her with a feeble argument of age is nothing but a number, maturity is all that counts. I used to actually dismiss her statement as so 70s after all, she’s from that generation. Until very recently when I finally came to the conclusion, that guys my age or falling in the 20 something year old age bracket, are actually still men boys.

Just the other day, I was reading a very interesting article from one of those controversial columnists in my country, who never shy away from hitting the nail on the head, no matter how destructive it will be. She was talking about how nowadays, it has since been proven that boys are the weaker sex.

How then do you explain a 27 year old still living at home, with no investment plans in mind, still savoring the benefits of Instagram albeit exceedingly and boozing like there’s no tomorrow? Well, for once, I totally agreed with her and especially when she went ahead to refer to such men boys as “blueband boys”.

I’m a considerate blogger, so I will explain what “blueband” is for my foreign readers.

Blueband is a margarine brand in my country, which was missing in many homes some 20, 25 years back. You see, it has taken a while for several African homes to totally embrace such luxuries as jam, margarine and butter. You will be surprised that some Kenyans still think that cereals are only for children, as evidenced by a certain shopkeeper who gasped when he heard me confess that I was buying Weetabix from his shop, for myself and not my child (which he thought I had).

Apparently, such things as blueband only serve to kick out any remaining sense from the minds of children, who have been brought up layering their bread with it. Perhaps replacing it with more cravings for blueband, I presume? Anyways, if I carry on like this, I will probably turn this post into an essay of “the history of margarine usage in Kenyan homes”.

Anyways, I think this columnist has endured the kind of frustration I have equally endured, when you realize soon enough that you are competing for an eligible bachelor’s attention with his booze or partying lifestyle. No wonder the inspiration behind that particular article.

If you fall in the 20 something female age bracket like I do, you have probably been led to feel like you are simply a misplaced, marriage anticipating girl woman, perhaps once or twice, by a guy whom you were trying to get serious with. These clueless 20 something year old men boys are experts at making women feel as if they are such total bores just for demanding for exclusivity. They will blow you off at the slightest hint from you that you are thinking about the future. And when you end up thoroughly disappointed and decide to date the older, established and more grounded men, they will be the first to point fingers at you that you are simply golddigging.

So how did this phenomenon come to be?

Methinks that education and improved financial status in recent times among many Kenyans, is a huge contributing factor. Don’t look at me that way, I have nothing against education or acquiring wealth! However, if you look back at how our fathers grew up, you will notice that most began fending for themselves quite early in life. If they made it to post high school education, they probably earned a diploma then left home soon after acquiring jobs. With home being a small house or hut separate from the main house, which had been occupied by them from the time they got circumcised. Not a bedroom in the same house as their parents, mind you.

You will be surprised that some were already married while studying for their diplomas, with a wife up country. So obviously, this 22, 23 year old was not only thinking about booze, bedding the lasses and how to splurge his pocket money from a rich daddy somewhere. He was probably thinking of how he will earn his diploma, get gainful employment soon after and take care of his aging parents, wife or young family.

If some were too poor for their parents to even afford a high school education for them, the very education oriented ones resorted to doing all kinds of menial jobs just to make some money to pay their high school fee. The business oriented ones came up with farming or business ideas to get themselves out of poverty. Some cultures actually demanded that young men build a house for themselves before they could settle down in marriage. In that era, by 25, most men were already financially capable to some extent perhaps with a young family in tow.

Fast forward to the late 20th century and boys finish high school, get enrolled into campus with their parents, get a degree. Nowadays, see the need for additional education in the form of a Masters degree, which the financially able dad offers to pay. In all that time this guy is depending on pocket money from his parents since the dad deems it fit that he attains his higher learning certificates, before he can start applying for jobs.

The guy attains his Masters degree, starts job hunting while under his parents’ roof. Since he has made his daddy proud, the dad has no qualms letting him use one of the cars in the compound lying idle, no qualms having him come home late in the night drunk as long as he doesn’t make a racket. By the time the guy hits 27, probably in his first job by then, he has tasted the sweetness of  pocket money from parents and not having to hustle much and therefore, living at home and enjoying his daddy’s riches isn’t such a huge issue to fret about for him.

Then come this mid twenty something year old lass whose motherhood instincts are starting to get stronger by the day and she has been anticipating for a serious, future oriented man who will sweep her off her feet and transform her into a Mrs someday. By bad luck, she hooks up with such a guy above who has since grown used to everything coming easy in his life. Before long, this poor lass suddenly realizes that this was only a short lived romance. The guy had no intention whatsoever of getting serious. He’s still having himself some good fun while leaving crashed lasses in the wake of his fun deluded mind.

You see, a lot of emphasis has been placed on the girl child being prepared for her future roles as a wife and mother. If she can’t cook by a certain age, her family members will probably be going something like ” What kind of a wife will you make if you can’t cook?” If she is forgetful and careless, she will be asked, “What kind of a mother will you make while that careless? Your baby will burn in the kitchen when you are not looking.” Such statements only serve as a wake up call to girl children that they must hurry up and mature by the time they hit their 20s in preparation for their future roles.

Who asks the boy child ” What kind of a husband will you make if you are still dependent on my (his father’s) money?” Or better yet, ” How will you budget your family’s funds if you still live at home or frequently party wild?” And yes, we placed a lot of emphasis on the girl child, empowering her and constantly reminding her of her future responsibilities, to the extent where we forgot all about the boy child who is now wallowing in oblivion. I’m sure if you compared these days’ 20 something year old men to men in the same age bracket 20 years ago, there is indeed a very huge difference.

 

The “My baby”, “Our baby” debate.

Nakuomba Nerea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We,

Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa ni Yake,

Mlete Ntamlea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We,

Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa ni Yake…

Many Kenyans are familiar with the above ballad, Nerea by Sauti Sol ft Amos and Josh. But for the sake of my foreign readers, I will translate:

I beseech you Nerea, don’t abort (my baby),

When God gives a baby, he gives it at his own timing,

Bring the baby i will raise it, don’t abort (my baby),

When God gives a baby, he gives it at his own timing…

I’m almost 100% sure by now that my readers who speak English as a first language, have already noticed how much I’m struggling to translate the lyrics from my national language Kiswahili, to my second language, English.

Kenyan boy band, Sauti Sol. Courtesy of classic105.com

Kenyan boy band, Sauti Sol. Image courtesy of classic105.com

Tusker Project Fame runner up duo Amos and Josh who collaborated in the song Nerea with Sauti Sol. Courtesy of www.ulizalinks.com

Tusker Project Fame runner up duo, Amos and Josh who collaborated in the song Nerea with Sauti Sol. Image courtesy of http://www.ulizalinks.com

As a matter of fact, I intentionally put “my baby” in brackets as this particular term in the lyrics, has elicited a lot of debate in my country, ever since the song came out this year and quite recently.

Before i carry on, Congratulations Sauti Sol for getting a nomination for the Best International Act: Africa, at this year’s BET Awards. I must admit I was getting a stiff neck from all that craning I was doing, to see whether I could spot an African musician from Africa, at the previous BET Awards among the audience. And the surge of excitement I experienced when I finally spotted Ice Prince from Nigeria in one of the Awards, can’t remember for which year, but very recent actually. Anyways, I could talk all day concerning music and entertainment, my other passion, but first things first.

I mentioned the struggle to translate something from my first language to my second, and with good reason. You see Mimba Yangu translated directly to English comes out as ‘My pregnancy’. Feminists on the other hand, chose to interpret it to mean that these talented gentlemen, were subtly employing a patronizing innuendo, by choosing to refer to a pregnancy as Mimba Yangu. Apparently, it should have been Mimba Yetu or something of the sort to mean ‘Our Pregnancy’.

Let me refresh the memory of Kenyans a little.

In African society, most cultures state clearly that the child belongs to the father, hence Mimba Yangu, in that context is in order. African women on the other hand have been socialized to believe that sex should not be for the enjoyment of the woman and therefore, the culprits behind the consequences of sex, always happen to be men as they are the ones who relish having it. Therefore, it has never been uncommon for mothers to ask their daughters who have unfortunately fallen pregnant at an unintended time, Mimba ni ya nani? (Whose pregnancy is it?)

Of course if the “perpetrator” of the “crime” happened to not be a rascal who believes that he is ready to have unprotected sex and not ready to be a father, and actually admitted that he was responsible for the pregnancy, he will step in and say Mimba ni Yangu (The pregnancy is mine). People only ask Baba ni nani? (Who is the father?) after the baby is already born and perhaps the poor mother still seems unsure of the paternity of her baby.

To be honest, Kenyans in recent times only started aping the `We are pregnant’ announcement after seeing people from the West doing it. And personally, I don’t believe that Sauti Sol and Amos and Josh are at fault for using the term ‘ Mimba Yangu’. We got used to using that term long before these guys came into the music scene. So let’s spare these talented individuals the unnecessary backlash by some.

In the song, the crooners go on to state that the baby could turn out to be a great person and therefore all the more reason for the woman not to abort. Now I very recently stumbled upon a status update from a woman on Social Media, who identified herself as a feminist and chose to bash the examples of great people that Sauti Sol and Amos and Josh had given in the song.

I did not consider her a feminist at all for equally bashing Lupita Nyong’o as an unworthy example of someone, a parent would want her child to grow up to become. And not because Lupita is my fellow country mate and neither because the ‘feminist’ happened to be from a neighboring country. My only concern was, if you claim to be a feminist, then bashing of fellow women and especially women who have made notable strides in life, is out of bounds. You talk of Lupita Nyong’o stripping naked on a movie and therefore condemn her to be a bad example all the while forgetting that Lupita has made other amazing achievements in her life.

Long before we saw her in Hollywood, she had attended drama school, acted in Shuga and directed In My Genes. So for one scene that some people who consider themselves moralists of sorts to use it to trash her achievements, I found it in bad taste. I’m all for feminism for a good cause and not feminism used to judge, belittle and trash what others are doing all because we who claim to be feminists feel superior.

If Lupita had to strip in that movie, 12 years a slave, she did it because she had the confidence to re-enact that. I personally do not have the confidence to do so and therefore cannot point fingers at her for being supposedly trashy and unworthy of being a role model for children aspiring to be her, for doing it. If at all Sauti Sol and Amos and Josh chose to use Lupita Nyong’o in their song as an example, they used her because she has managed to achieved one of the many firsts for an African woman from the African continent. Isn’t that something for young African girls to look up to??

On to the subject of abortion.

I applaud these gentlemen for using music to provoke thought on things that most societies consider taboo. I find it a horrible case of double standards when a section of men, engage in unprotected sex with women they have little regard for. When the inevitable happens, they are the first to suggest an abortion or pull “A Houdini Stunt”.

In such an unfortunate circumstance, when the poor woman feels pressured to the point of abortion, these same men are the ones who shall be pointing fingers at women they come to know have aborted, in future. Totally forgetting that someone had to abort a baby because of them. These are the same men who will stand up and say ” Mimi siwezi kubali mwanamke atoe Mimba Yangu” ( I cannot allow a woman to abort “my baby” ).

Apparently at the time they pushed someone else to abort because they were downright deadbeat then (and still are, only hypocritical), they were perfectly justified in doing so. The “My baby” then had suddenly transformed to the “chic’s problem”. Question is, did she have sex alone and conceive or there were two people involved: a man and a woman?

I’m a strong believer of keeping the pregnancy whether the man is around or not. Forget about whether the child you as a woman are carrying could have potential or not. Even if this child grows up to be a simple cart pusher in the market place, you should keep it because there is no greater blessing than motherhood. And for those who reject parental responsibility, it is only a curse they are placing upon their lives where there was initially a blessing, in the form of a child.

And so no matter what the haters say, Kudos to Nerea by Sauti Sol ft Amos and Josh!