Motherhood these days feels more like mastering the entire range of circus acts in The Greatest Showman … simultaneously.
My teenage son asked me a simple question early on in this crisis, “Mom, why do you make that face every time you say my food is ready?” … my response, “Well, maybe it’s because I know I have to do it all over again in just a few hours!”
Obviously, quarantine hit me pretty hard, and my attitude was proving it. It’s hard to be a mother these days.
Overnight, life changed.
In addition to my other responsibilities, I became a full-time cook — something I really don’t love. And clearly my son had figured that out. Perhaps, you can relate — the role of a mother has changed, and changed quickly.
We are now expected to work from home, homeschool our kids, schedule multiple video calls, pick-up groceries, cook three or more meals a day, manage the laundry, regularly disinfect everything, and keep everyone safe … all at the same time. In addition, we have to manage the stress and anxiety this crisis has brought on while our families deal with the grief that comes from all the subsequent losses — graduations, sports seasons, vacations, weddings, and so much more.
Motherhood in this “new normal” is a whole new art form and something I, for one, was not prepared for … and only few are naturally good at.
Like I said, it’s hard to be a mother these days. But, for some, motherhood was hard before the lockdown. And now, it’s nearly impossible.
The very definition of motherhood should be “sacrifice” — mothers sacrifice day in and day out for their children. But, if we’re honest, some sacrifice more than others.
My work has allowed me to meet some amazing mothers around the world: women facing the worst life can throw at them yet still resilient in the face of adversity. Women who fight for their kids, no matter what. Women who never give up on motherhood.
What I have found is that no matter where you live or what your background is, we mothers want the same thing — to keep our kids safe and give them the opportunities to follow their dreams.
But it’s hard to do either of those things when you can’t feed your child. As our country begins to re-open, the struggle is just beginning for many around the world as livelihoods have entirely collapsed. In many places, hunger is a greater threat than the virus itself! And the experts predict this will only get worse over the next few months.
Amid Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of the obstacles of motherhood during this season but also of the great joy that comes in seeing our children thrive. Even in the everyday failures, there’s progress.
I’m also challenged by the fact that you and I have the opportunity to help another mom see that same progress. We don’t have to let them face failure alone.
You and I can be a lifeline to a mom halfway around the world. You can help her overcome adversity and keep on fighting — it might be the gift that helps keep her child alive.
Motherhood is the hardest job in the world but also the most rewarding. And if this global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we’re more connected and have more in common than we ever realized. On this day, more than any, let’s stand shoulder to shoulder in the greatest task of all — motherhood.
Together, we are not alone.
Photo courtesy: © Getty Images/fizkes
Noel Yeatts is the president of World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization. She’s an author, speaker and advocate for social justice and humanitarian needs around the world. Follow her @NoelYeatts.