Mrs. Gloria Young is the Public Relations Officer of the Catholic Women Organisation, Nigeria, Lagos Archdiocese (CWONLA). NETA NWOSU speaks with her on Mother’s Day, parenting, motherhood, domestic violence amid other issues. Excerpts.
Congratulations on another experience of Mothers’ Day. How do you feel today?
Today, I am happy and grateful to be able to celebrate Mothering Sunday. We couldn’t celebrate it last year 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, we should celebrate it solemnly because, even though the pandemic is not fully over, we are happy to be alive and to have been given the grace to see our children grow.
What does Mothers’ Day mean to you?
Mother’s Day means a lot to me. It’s a day set aside by the Church to celebrate our womanhood. A day to rededicate ourselves to the sometimes difficult task of rearing children. And finally, a day to sit back and be treated and pampered by our husbands and children.
How would you rate the performance of Nigerian mothers especially as relates childcare and parenting generally?
Kudos to Nigerian women. Our sense of responsibility as mothers is high and should be emulated. Considering the harsh economy, we give our all and sometimes go the extra mile to give our children the best childcare we can. Nigerian women are willing to set aside their dreams and aspirations to see to childcare. That’s why it’s difficult to find our women in professions that take away the time they need for parenting. Especially now that we have fewer extended family relationships.
A number of times, mothers feel inadequate. Please share some moments you didn’t feel good as a mother. How did you tackle such moments?
Every Mother doubts herself, she never feels she has done her best for her children. Personally my inadequacy feelings comes wondering how to stop the infiltration of the internet. These days our children have to be online, how do we monitor the activities of cyber bullies etc. No matter the precautions, something always gets through. But I hand it over to God and seek Our Lady of Good Counsel’s intervention always. Every prayer, every morning and evening is centered around my family. All my actions are for the betterment of my home and family.
What advice would you give to that mother who gave her best, but feels like her child still ended up on the wrong path?
The only advice I can give to that Mother who feels that despite everything, her child still ended up on wrong path is prayer. Remember it’s not over, until it’s over. Continue to pray, deeply and fervently, things will change. The prayers of our Mothers availeth much. God hears the sincere cry of a mother for her child. After praying, take action. Whatever needs to be done to bring the child back, should be done. Finally, make the best of each situation in such circumstances, be the child’s advocate, be the child’s tormentor, for the overall good in the long run. Any child who says mother will not rest, should not rest. So, don’t give up, as you pray, take action. Finally, accept that our ways are not God’s way. Don’t insist on perfection. Don’t insist on the child doing things your way. Children are gifts from God, they do not belong to us. Destiny can be delayed but never denied.
What is one of your biggest fears as a mother?
As a mother, I have many fears. Most stem from my inadequacies, having to work and be there. And trying to juggle my time. But my biggest concern is wondering if I have inculcated enough discipline, love, compassion and humanity in my children. Wondering if I have taught them how to navigate the vicissitudes of life. Wondering if they can make the best decisions for themselves. And that is why I constantly pray.
How do you think the increasing issue of women battering and raping of the under age can be addressed?
There’s this saying that “evil thrives when the good is silent”. It’s time to speak up!!! I firmly believe that the issue of rape of underage girls, wife battering and violence in the home continues because we maintained the culture of silence. We need to break that culture. We must. Over the years, women have been the enablers because of their silence. Shout it to the rooftops, seek punishment for the perpetrators. Enough is enough! Why should we keep sacrificing the safety and sanctity of our children on the altar of “what will people say”? Rape is a crime, if you do it, you must be punished. In cases like this, I thank God for social media, even if we don’t have personal experiences, we have seen what rape, sexual defilement, and violence can do to the psyche and general wellbeing of our children. Let us not wait till we experience it, let us keep talking about what can be done to stop it. The best way to stop it is to disgrace and punish the perpetrators. Others will stop.
Can you assess the Buhari administration’s performance in women affairs?
I have tried to shy away from politics because I don’t understand it. I have not been paying much attention. Although there’s lots more awareness of women’s rights and campaigns for women emancipation, I don’t think it can be ascribed to the Buhari administration alone. I believe all of it has to do with the information superhighway which is the internet. More women are finding out what they can do for themselves.
Now let’s come to the Catholic Women Organization Nigeria, Lagos Archdiocese (CWONLA.) May we know what programmes you have for Catholic Women in the Archdiocese?
The Catholic Women Organization, Lagos Archdiocese is poised to see to the general wellbeing of the catholic woman. Our programmes include Education/Capacity building, Leadership training for all our women. We empower our women, the indigent most especially with the required skills to be supportive wives. We give free counseling on health issues, free medical checks. And most of all, evangelization.
Women empowerment is a significant aspect of the Millennium Development Goals. What are CWONLA’s plans in this regards?
CWONLA believes that in order to lift our women out of poverty, they must have skills. Anything they can do with their hands to empower themselves. An empowered woman is a confident woman, able to make the best decisions for herself and her family. So we strive to have quarterly skill acquisition training in all areas, then we give soft loans to encourage them to develop the skills they have learnt. We do not abandon them, we do periodic and impromptu checks to make sure they are not lagging behind. As the PRO of CWONLA, please communicate your organisation’s message on Mother’s Day for the women in the Archdiocese of Lagos. As the PRO of CWONLA, I’d like to say: Dear Radiant Sisters of CWONLA, I wish you love, happiness, and peace on this auspicious day. Remember that you give your best to see to the welfare of your family everyday, Today is a day set aside to celebrate your motherhood, so enjoy and make the best of it. Today, pray for yourselves, for your hopes and aspirations, for your dreams and goals. Bask in the love and attention from your family just for today. I wish you the best Mothering Sunday ever. Through Mary our Mother we succeed.