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Missing in action


jullie yap daza - medium rare

HOURS after Winners and Losers Day, who could be more excited than the winning candidates? Surely it’s their mothers! Think Susan Roces for Grace Poe, Coney Reyes for Vico Sotto, Rosario Domagoso for Isko Moreno, Lovely Romulo for Roman, Helen Gam­boa for Gian Sotto, Rose Zamora for Francis.

Yet even as we rolled out the red carpet on the eve of election day to celebrate the glories of motherhood – Mother the living saint, all-around superhero, a loving, caring angel sent from heaven – there are bad mothers living among us who are as bad as, or worse than, bad fathers.

Medea has to be the most evil of them all, even if she exists only in the memory of myths told from a time long long ago. Medea fell in love with Jason and bore him children, but when he fell in love with another woman and left Medea, she killed their own children as well as the children of Jason with the other woman. The usual stereotype of the evil mother is the mother-in-law who hates her daughter-in-law, primar­ily because she is not good enough for her son or because her eyes are on the family treasure. Portrayed in fiction and case studies of psychologists as similar in character to the mother-in-law is the cruel stepmother who loathes the chil­dren of her husband.

These mothers are the exception, though exceptional women they are not, and since they are types (rather than individuals) and family relation­ships are a private matter, there do not seem to be too many of them lurk­ing around in real life nowadays. Their tribe has not increased. Rather, what we see as bad mothers are the crimi­nal minded who sell their daughters to prostitution, the poor and desper­ate who leave their babies in public toilets and garbage bins, the irrespon­sible parent who locks up her children and comes home to find their house burned and the little ones dead. Is it a bad mother who pushes her kids to push drugs, who teaches them to steal and destroy property for the heck of it, who willingly neglects their health and education, just because society owes them?

Society despises a bad mother worse than a bad father, the reason for the double standard being that it is (sup­posedly) a mother’s in-born nature and cultivated obligation to nurture her young.

And where are the fathers to share the blame? They’ll have their day in June – in less epic proportions.