Where is the Father?
Life is quite difficult for career women who have to keep both their bosses and their children happy. I am sure most working women would agree with me. Working mother experience this conundrum almost weekly.
Two weeks ago, my 1-year old got sick in the middle of the night. As a mother my first instinct was to get him to hospital as soon as I could. I woke up very early the next morning and took him to the clinic because I do not have medical aid. My only option was to take him to a public hospital. I went to Katutura Clinic at 8 o’clock and to my surprise it was so full. The reason I took my son to that clinic is because they have a baby section and I reckoned because they have a baby section it won’t be that full and I would probably be done by lunch which means I could still go to the office.
As an employee would do, I notified a colleague that my baby is sick and I will not come into the office that day.
I did not plan to stay away from the office because I could not foresee my son’s sickness. And understandably, my boss was angry because I am also someone’s employee and he felt his work is taking a back seat to my son’s health.
As a mother it is my obligation to take care of my kids and as an employee it is also my obligation to make sure that my work is done.
My son stays with my 84-year old grandmother during the day, and I really do not expect her to go sit at the clinic the whole day with my baby. As we all know, it is the mother’s job to take care of the kids whether they have a father or not.
After sitting at the clinic for almost the whole day with a child who had diarrhoea and who was vomiting, I was sent home with only paracetamol [panado] and some other medicine.
That medicine did not help much so I had to look for money to take him to a private doctor.
As a single mother it is difficult and I think that fathers should become more active in their children’s lives and share parental duties with the mothers. It is difficult for us [working mothers] to juggle work as well as parental duties. Fathers should also do their share. And I also think that sometimes, employers should be thoughtful and understand that when a child is sick, the mother can not concentrate fully on her job until she has sorted out the condition and made sure her child is healthy. So would you rather have someone give your work all their attention or half of their attention?
In my previous Khuta, I wrote and pleaded with the government to look into constructing a hospital for children only. My experience at the Katutura Clinic really confirmed the need for a dedicated hospital for children. A working mother can not wait 5 hours for a nurse to see her child.
It is not only stressful but frustrating too. Namibia spends more than half its health expenditure on education of health care. I still think that most of the money used for education on health care should be invested in constructing a children’s hospital for the poor Namibians who do not have medical aid or can not afford to take their children to a private doctor.
My son is not 100% well but I leave it all in God’s hand and pray that he puts his healing hand over him. And I trust God will restore his health.