With the contrived and commercialised sentimentality of “Mother’s Day” behind us, maybe we can look a bit more dispassionately at the status of mothers in Guyana today. How much has changed from the days of slavery, when planters actually ‘bred’ African women with anonymous African men to be mothers of children who could be slaves who could be more productive on the plantations? How different was motherhood to those women than to those in the present who are “child mothers” to men who enjoy ‘visiting relationships”, but accept no responsibilities for rearing those children?How much has changed from the days of indentureship, when the ratio of men to women in the best of times was an average of three to one? Because of the competition to secure a wife, “wife murders” became rampant, and more than traces remain into the present. After then initial imbalance, mothers in particular were socialised into the responsibility of keeping their families together.This reality is being brought home with a vengeance in the sugar belt, where 5700 workers were fired by GuySuCo and another 2000 were made redundant with a cutback in cane production from private cane farmers. With a typical family of six, there would be almost 50,000 persons affected. Many of the workers were mothers, and the remainder have wives who are mothers. With no employment in sight either from the promised leasing land to the workers to engage in cash crop production or from private businesses, it will be left to these mothers to eke out a living for their families by any means necessary. It has always been so, and will be so in the foreseeable future.We can look back at the circumstances of the old Burnhamite dictatorship, when a similar challenge was presented with employment and underemployment endemic from the mid-seventies onwards. Mothers flooded the neighbouring countries, looking for all and any possible source of earning an income to keep their children alive. Some became traders who became a stable feature at regional airports, importuning travellers to “help them out with extra weight”. Many of them were sexually abused for these favours, not only by travellers, but by officials at transit points. In every neighbouring country, Guyanese — some mothers — also had to become prostitutes when there was no other avenue for ensuring the survival of their families “back home”.Even when avenues became available with emigration to Canada and the US, families often times were separated, as the men departed legally or illegally and left wives and children “home”. Oftentimes these men struck up other relationships abroad, and the mothers left behind had to fend for themselves. And this is that reality that is staring at mothers in the sugar belt today, the day after “Mother’s Day”.It is incredible that more groups are not up in arms protesting the callous action of the Government through GuySuCo that so adversely affects all 50,000 persons in the families of the fired sugar workers – but mostly the mothers, who were extolled yesterday in so many superlatives. In the present, we have become too hypnotised by the marketing of the superficialities that pass for caring for our fellow man and woman. It is past time we remember that governments are formed to take care of disasters that may befall the citizenry; that is why we pay them the huge salaries and all the perks of office. They are not paid to create disasters – especially for the most valued segment of our population – our mothers. It is said that the future of a nation is in the hands of the youths. But the future of those youths is in the hands of their mothers. The citizens of this country have become sensitised over the past few years to “violence against women,” and this is a positive step. We now have to look more granularly at the psychic violence against the mothers of our country by offering them no choice to fulfil their duty with dignity.