“Being single is not right” and “kids are important to a woman because they actually give extra training to a woman, to be a mother”.
(- President Jacob Zuma in People of the South television interview with Dali Tambo on Sunday 19 August 2012)
According to the President of the country in which I live, I am not complete unless I have a man and a child or two at my side – I am not capable of being a mother to any child until I have one (or more) of my own – http://mg.co.za/article/2012-08-21-zuma-women-must-have-children
I am one of those women who have chosen to remain unmarried and childless for reasons only I need to know. I am not a “career” woman, I do not “hate” men and children – in fact, I absolutely adore children, I have just chosen not to have any of my own. I have chosen not to be linked to one man with baggage for the rest of my life because I have enough baggage of my own to deal with.
I absolutely adore my sister’s children and see myself as a “second mother” to them so that should the need ever arise, I will be able to take on the role of “mother” to them at a minute’s notice. I still do not want to bring any children into the world of my own.
Is this wrong? Am I really such a monster as the President of my country suggests? Why?
I am very happy with my life as it is right now. I am very happily single and childless. I do not need a man or a child to “complete” my life. I am a fulfilled, happy and COMPLETE person as I am – no extra frills or trimmings required.
As the oldest grandchild (cousin) on my dad’s side of the family, I had enough “training to be a mother” when I helped my grandmother to take care of my cousins left in her care. From the age of 7 years, I was taught how to hold, feed and burp the baby (and then put them to sleep). As I grew older, I was taught how to change the nappy (back in the day when cloth nappies and pins were still used). I was present during potty training and was tasked with “supervising” this activity while grandma ran in and out of the kitchen tending to the cooking pots. In between all this, I had to wash, dry and pack away dishes, sweep the front and back yard etc. All this of course was done after my school work (homework) was done.
I was an only child until the age of 14 years. When my sister finally arrived, my mom was in and out of hospital which meant that I had to play “mother” to my sister while my mom was recovering and in-between all this, I was expected to go to school, come home and do homework, housework and cooking. I was taught how to cook and bake at the age of 13 by my mother. By the age of 14 I was cooking and baking without any assistance from my mother.
How much more training do I need to be a wife and a mother, I ask?
We claim to be a “gender sensitive” country, we claim that men and women have equal status in all aspects of life in our country, we have the most progressive legislation to back up these statements, and yet, in the middle of National Women’s month, our country’s President makes a statement like this?
We already have a problem in our country with senseless rape and other violations of women and children (babies and the aged included) which is totally out of control. We have a problem in this country with teenage pregnancies, our school drop out rates are huge and yet, in spite of all of this, our country’s President makes a statement which some may interpret as giving them permission to “go forth and multiply”.
Relationships in our country, particularly between male and female leave a lot to be desired. Many women (and even some men) feel trapped in marriages or life-long partnerships which they are holding together “for the sake of the children” or because the woman believes or has been made to believe that she will not be able to cope on her own financially. Yet, our President says it is not good for a woman to be alone?
As a woman living in this country right now, I actually think we are better off alone than to be in a life-long relationship with someone – but that is merely my opinion and the view from where I sit.