I am graciously extending Mother’s Day to Mother’s Week, not because I couldn’t find the time on the day to call my mother, but because I want to challenge all mothers out there, including my own, to do something that will be very rewarding, for the entire week…
I want to challenge all mothers to JUST BE HUMAN.
A recent advertisement titled The Toughest Job in the World described being a mother in professional terms — no pay, 24/7, hands on, on-your-feet work, you don’t have time to eat or go to the toilet, you have to be able to do a number of things very well and you need a degree in medicine, psychology, natural sciences and language, at least. Before the candidates interviewing for the role of ‘Director of Operations’ knew that the job being described was the job of a mother, they refused to take such an ‘inhumane’ job, were appalled at the requirements and the lack of benefits and were simply in disbelief that anyone would agree to take such a job.
I get this ad. It is very real and true. Being a mother is tough. Very, very, very, very tough.
But I don’t like this ad. I don’t like it at all. And this is why:
We cannot and should not, ever, ever, ever expect any woman, or man, to fill this role. That is, we should stop putting pressure on mothers to be superhuman!
Mothers are human. I will be a mother one day and I am certain I will not by then be any less human than I am now. There is no sign of a cape growing out of my back or an extra few arms budding.
I would thus like to challenge any mothers reading this to take a week off this superhuman job: for an entire week, stop trying to be superhuman. Just ignore the pressure you feel to be superhuman. Don’t crumble under the weight of the superhuman expectations. Just take a week to be utterly, completely and deservedly human.
How to do that, you may ask?
Well, here are six of the most important aspects of being human…
- PHYSICAL NEEDS: You are most effective, feel your most confident and have the most energy when you get enough sleep, eat enough and well and do your exercise. We all have physical needs for a reason, not because we are greedy, but because we are designed to function optimally when those needs are met adequately.
- RELATIONSHIPS: Relationships are essential to survival as a human — deep, meaningful relationships where you can share your challenges and your triumphs, laugh at ridiculous things, laugh at yourself, go on adventures together, build a community together and enjoy your hobbies and develop intellectually together. Thus having great friendships is important, and meeting with friends regularly is something very healthy for the human heart and mind.
- ME-TIME: All humans need me-time. This is a time for reflection, a time where there is no onus on you to have to give any part of yourself to others but just love yourself. It is a time when you get to know who you are, who you are becoming and where you are going. It is a time when you can forgive yourself, and decide on the things you want to improve on. It is a time when you can give your own self encouragement, because if a human depends only on the encouragement of others he/she will be in a constant state of confusion due to differing opinions.
- FAILURE: As I’ve said before, as humans we typically fail at least 20 times as often as we succeed. Thus humans must allow themselves to fail, welcoming it and learning from it, in order to have all the knowledge, experience and tools to truly succeed and to be great at something — like being a mother.
- IMPERFECT LOVE: Humans are limited in their capacity to love. Human love is imperfect. It is inherently selfish. A human can never love another human the way that human needs to be loved, there will always be something missing, something gone wrong, some havoc in that love relationship.
- GOD’S SPIRIT: Humans are created by God to be vessels for the Holy Spirit, not to work and toil by themselves, but to have the Holy Spirit abide in them, increasing their capacity to love, to have energy, to work, to form bonds, to grow, to succeed, and to be at peace with their lives. Without the Holy Spirit we are only able to work and live at less than 1% capacity, for comparing a human without God to a human with God is like comparing 1,000,000 to infinity: literally.
And here are the ways in which trying to be superhuman spoils the experience of being human:
- BURNT OUT: You are overworked, tired, stressed, hair falling out, look like a rab, constantly anxious, nervous, worried, your organs are breaking down, your skin sags, your eyes are bloodshot, and you just can’t find enough hours in a day — and the time just flies. Your kids went from 1-27 in just a couple of weeks it seems, and you look like 200 years old. Because you neglect your physical needs.
- NO BEST/TRUE FRIENDS: You focus so much on making your kids into amazing human beings with everything they need that you have no time for friends, so you don’t really have friends, far less best friends. Not only do you not have anyone to have a nice night out without the kids with, but you don’t have friends who you can dump the kids on and just have a nice weekend away with your husband, who is meant to be your best friend — but because you are the superhuman herself, your job is too demanding for you to have time to build your friendship with your husband. And your kids are not your friends because you are a superhuman. It is difficult to be friends with a superhuman when you are a mere human being. So really, making friends is hindered, impossible, unattainable. And so, deep, deep down, when the cape is hung up at night, you are lonely and feel unloved.
- NEGLECT YOUR OWN GROWTH: The consequence of no me-time is obvious: you lose sight of who you are and who you have become. Perhaps while trying to be superhuman you have actually become a dictator, wanting to control every little thing your children do and make sure they grow up to be perfect. Or maybe you have become a doer instead of a lover, doing things for people in place of simply loving them. You do, do, do, do, do, do, do and then wonder why your life is a thankless cyclical thing. Because, if you stepped back you would realise that instead of becoming a superhero like SuperWoman you’ve become more of a CatWoman with a severe dark side, having more negative effects on your children than positive.
- FRUSTRATION: If you don’t allow yourself to fail, to admit and learn from your failure and grow, then you will be constantly frustrated with yourself and your children. They will never live up to your standards because you are not living up to your own superhuman standards. Superhumans do not fail, and you are trying to be superhuman. But you fail. But you say, no, I can’t fail, it’s not me, and you push, you push yourself, and you push others, you push your children, and you validate your superhuman talent through their achievements. So that your life is running from failure and chasing immeasurable success. Thus you are never stood still, or enjoying the moment and just learning from this beautiful and ever-challenging life.
- DISAPPOINTMENT AND HURT: You try to love like a superhuman, which would be a kind of love that is perfectly prescribed to each person, but your love is imperfect. But because you put on this superhuman mask you create the expectation in others that your love should be perfect, but it is far from. And your intense efforts to love your children and husband only cause them to dislike you more and move away from you. Because your love is unnatural, because it is trying to be perfect when it can never be, it is not allowed to be but it is forced, it is not one that grows but one that ticks the boxes of do this, do that, provide this, help with that. And because you are not ultimately able to be superhuman, you feel completely distraught and hurt by the ones you love the most.
- FRUITLESS: With God, you have a far greater chance at being superhuman, because there is great power in the Holy Spirit, that most of all increases your capacity to love and serve others selflessly by at least 67 times. Without God though, without the Holy Spirit living in you as a mother of God’s children, you are a hamster running on a wheel, which will one day burn out, one day realise that you have yet to fly and you never will.
If just for a week, stop.
Stop trying to be superhuman.
Because we, your children, don’t need you to be.
We know you are human.
It may have taken us 20 years to figure it out.
But we want you to know that we no longer expect you to be superhuman.
And of course we forgive you for the negative impacts of your failed attempt at being superhuman because we know now that you were really brave to take on a role that no human can possibly fit.
You’ve got great courage. You’ve got real perseverance. You’ve done everything you could.
So now, just stop.
Welcome back to humanity. Here you are free to cry, free to share your hurts, free to express your woes, and free to seek advice, guidance, and comfort. And we will not judge you because we are doing the exact same thing.
After all, we are all humans.
This video perfectly fits the conclusion to this blog. Let mothers be human and have the joy and fun they deserve…