Get Inspired, Be Empowered Forums Sexism & Patriarchy Why does society place greater onus on mothers in raising children? Reply To: Why does society place greater onus on mothers in raising children?

Mayuravarshini Mohana
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When boiled down to its essence, the problem is just another avatar of the patriarchal beliefs surrounding ‘motherhood’. A seemingly unanimous understanding of motherhood is that it comes naturally to women. A mother has the ‘instincts’ required to safe guard her children. While this may apply to most mammals in the animal kingdom, it cannot be extended to humans.

For starters, we are far removed from the reality that animals cope with. Their lives are a matter of day to day survival and they face far more threats than we do. They rely entirely on themselves, sometimes on their community (like elephants and wolves) to survive. The equation of predator and prey fundamentally orchestrates everyday life of animals. In addition to being the only care-giver, it is only obvious that ‘mother instincts’ of other mammals are heightened for there is no guarantee whether a cub or a pup would be alive the next minute.

It is a matter of pure convenience to justify the glorification of motherhood on these terms. Humans live as a society that is constructed on ideas, beliefs, culture, ideologies, economy, trade, nationalism etc. Moreover, it is built on the idea of marriage, a concept exclusive to mankind. In such circumstances, it is only fair and logical that both parents are equally responsible for the upbringing of children. In the traditional family set up, it was considered the duty of the father to provide finances and the mother’s tend to the overall welfare. This includes health, education and character.

Times have irrefutably changed and the traditional idea of family, in most cases, has become anachronistic. Placing the entire responsibility of child care on professional women, leaves them struggling under the demands of their career and their families. It is an undeniable fact that both parents have equal responsibility in the overall development of their children. Claiming that mothers are ‘natural’ care-givers is no longer an excuse.