Hi, my name is Rozi, I am 18 years old, and I go to Hallam Senior College. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy Rohit when I was 16. I am continuing with my education. I am in year 12 now. I sent my son to childcare since there is no one to look after him while I attend school. I was continuing with my life when one day I went to a family friend’s house and my son spilt rice on the floor. I quickly got up and started cleaning it, when my mum’s friend came up behind me and said “if you stay home like what a mother should and teach your son manners then you won’t have to run after him and clean up.” Those words stuck in my head for a long time.
Who is going to feed us?
I didn’t say anything but cleaned it up and sat without saying a word. I wondered to myself what I did so wrong. I just want an education and to have a better future for my son and I. I sat there and I kept thinking about her words and the reason why she said that to me.
She replied, “you don’t look after your child and you leave your son with other people. You won’t have time to teach your son and he’s going to be spoilt and have bad behaviour”.
I was so upset by her words and I said to her that if I don’t go to school and get an education who is going to feed us in the future? If I don’t have a job how can my son live a good life? Who is going to be responsible for me and my son if I don’t get the right education? Who is going to take care of us? All these words came with tears coming down my eyes. I felt so weak because I still don’t have anything to prove to her. But she replied, “your husband will”.
That might be what you’re thinking but I can’t put my life and son’s life into a man. What if we’re not together in the future? Who is going to take care of us, I asked her. I felt so powerless that I tried harder than before. I never miss a class and get the most out of it. I felt powerless in front of other people and that’s why I set goals for myself. I will finish school and get a good job.
Society thinks just because I’m going to school, I’m not looking after my son, not educating him, and not taking responsibility for him. But what about the father who goes to work? Does that mean that he doesn’t look after his child? I feel like being a mother and a woman I have so much weight on me.
In this society, people think it is the woman’s responsibility to look after the child, but I believe it is both parents’ duty. A child needs both parents because a mum and dad is not the same. If a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mum, it is the father's responsibility to financially provide for the family. If mothers want to work, it is the father’s responsibility to look after the child. In my opinion, there is no such thing as one parent's responsibility unless you are a single parent. Society says that women are weak, but we are equal if not stronger than men!
RoZie, thank you for sharing your story.