If Anybody Can, It's Mothers

Mar 5 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com. )

Grandmothers are strong women. Being a woman by itself is a definition of strength, but our grandmothers and the women who raised us have gone above and beyond. A few years ago, many things were done manually (which is still the case for many rural women), and most of them were running a large household with several children without a housemaid or a nanny to support them. On top of that, they had to do house chores such as washing, cooking and cleaning. And their husbands would come home for lunch and expect food on their plates no matter how fussy and difficult the children were or how tired the mother felt.

Husbands these days have come a long way. If not help, at least they play with their kids and eat out if a meal is not ready.

“My four kids were a handful," a lady told me once. "My husband, even though his work didn’t really require him to break a sweat, would come home and lay down on the sofa and expect me to bring the kitchen to him. He never bothered to ask me about my day and he doesn’t bother to help even for a few minutes while I was taking a shower.”

As a mother, I often complain about how tired I am of running the house and taking care of the children. It is for a reason. It is tiring but I wonder how our mothers and grandmothers ever did it.

Were they stronger or are we lazy and prone to complaining about everything?

Perhaps it is a little bit of both. We have gotten lazier as a society thanks to technology; our lives have become easier, putting us in energy-saving mode. Whenever we try to break away from this state, we feel tired. It could also be because most things are given to us instead of having to earn them.

Last week, I met an elderly woman on the streets. She was carrying groceries so I offered to help her, but she refused. I was surprised because her load seemed to be heavy. But she said she could handle it.

She was on her way to visiting her grandkids, which cheered her up a great deal. She asked me if I had children and we started conversing. I was full of complaints. I could not find a babysitter and my back hurts every time I pick up the kids. I often feel exhausted even though my husband was helping me out whenever he could.

“I have been there," she said. "I have six children. I gave birth to two of them through operation or C-section. It was difficult that time as their father was never home."

At the time, she was also struggling financially and would get sick from time to time. The only person that helped her during those tough times was her neighbour. It is the perk of living in government housing, aka qebelehomes. Now it is condominiums and apartments, where neighbours do not much know one another and cannot leave their children with them.

"Still, I have to be strong for my children, whatever the circumstances," the elderly lady continued. "I told myself I can do it; I was chosen for the test since the creator knew I was capable of overcoming it.”

She told me that, "strength is a state of mind." No matter how hard, if one is determined, it is possible to gather the courage and get past any adversity.

"But if you are going to complain and feel sorry for yourself, all you are doing is breeding a weak mentality. Sure, it would have been nice had our situation been different but it is not. I know it’s tough, but if anybody can do it, it is mothers.”

Her last words rung loud. Her wits and dedication and how she chose to focus on her strength instead of feeling sorry for herself and complaining made me rethink my actions. In the end, we cannot choose what happens to us but how we react to it.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 05,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1140]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com.

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