As Mother’s Day rolls around the globe, I can’t help thinking about the extraordinary role that mothers play in society. They grow tiny humans in their own bodies, birth these little creatures into the big wide world and teach the newborn humans about many things that make this place beautiful and also, at times, scary. A baby is raised with the help of a village, a family, a team, a neighbourhood, a relationship, a marriage, grandparents, siblings, fathers, mothers, and any combination of all or none of the above – but on Mother’s Day, let’s all think of one mother we know and acknowledge her journey.
Motherhood is an astoundingly complex thing. It is fraught with all the emotions of being human – joy, love, heartbreak, pain, hope, vulnerability, truth, overwhelm. It seems now, more than ever, motherhood is a juggling act that requires extra-human strength and energy. Whether mothers work or stay at home or a little bit of both, life is busy and I am constantly in awe of the mothers in my life – mothers today are living, breathing superheroes. There is so much to manage, organise, coordinate, where do they get the energy to do it all?
Some mothers often feel like they’re doing a bad job: they are exhausted, irritable, they snap occasionally, serve pizza instead of salad for dinner, might even wish for the care-free days before childhood. For all of this, they feel guilty… I recently told my friend Lina she was such a good mother and she burst into tears and said, ‘No I’m not! I feel all the time like I’m failing!’ I looked around us at the beautiful beach she had driven 2 hours to bring us to, her young children were frolicking in the waves and rolling in the sand in absolute bliss, but all Lina could think of was that she forgot an extra pair of socks for her son and her daughter didn’t like the sandwiches she had packed for lunch.
It must feel like motherhood is the ultimate responsibility with the greatest room for error, the highest rate of consequences if you make a mistake and the pressure of turning out perfectly adjusted children is immense. But, I want to say to mothers the world over, ‘I’m sure you are doing your best. I’m sure you are pushed to capacity and are the nicest, kindest, bravest version of yourself 99% of the time.
I look at mothers in absolute awe for their dedication, commitment, selflessness, resilience, compassion and unending love. There must be one mother somewhere who each of us can admire, even from afar. Maybe she is your mother, grandmother, sister, or simply the woman you saw loading a stroller and newborn onto the bus this morning, carefully guarding her baby with her life. Perhaps she is the woman with two crying toddlers in her arms, or the woman at the shops who is trying to balance groceries and kids. Perhaps she is you. You’re doing a great job. Mothers, the world over, are carrying a big and important load, let’s give them our love this month in all the ways we can.
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