This Mother’s Day, I’m advocating for one thing: to celebrate mothers for our humanity, not for our superpowers.
If you’ve been hanging around this blog for a while, you know the lawyer in me loves herself a good definition. So when I thought about writing a Mother’s Day post about “humanity,” I went straight over to the Oxford Dictionary:
Humanity (noun): the state of being a person rather than a god, an animal, or a machine.
Yep. That was the word I was looking for. Now let’s see what the good ‘ole Oxford Dictionary has to say about a “superpower”:
Superpower (noun): a special power or ability that somebody has, especially a superhero.
Yes, “special powers and abilities.” That’s what I thought.
Do mothers have special powers and abilities? Of course we do. We have ninja skills that make us amazing leaders at work and at home. In my opinion, everyone on this planet has special powers and abilities, though. Don’t believe me? Take the CliftonStrengths assessment. (You’ll discover we all have amazing strengths in certain areas!) But should mothers have to use those ninja skills nonstop, day in and day out? Should we have to always play the role of superhero? No.
We Are Not “Gods, Animals, or Machines”
When I first saw that dictionary definition of humanity, as a “person” rather than “god, animal, or machine,” I laughed out loud. How often do we view mothers as a person, rather than one of these other entities? Gods don’t need breaks. Animals never take vacations. (Or question their own value, worth, or existence, for that matter.) And machines can be programmed to run mindlessly until they malfunction.
When we tell the mothers in our lives that they are superheros, we are basically saying the same thing. That these very mothers are not people. Not humans. But something more. Something invincible. Something that can give and give without asking why. Or how much longer.
What Does It Mean to Celebrate Mothers With Humanity?
For me, to celebrate a mother in your life with humanity is to see her as every bit as human as the next person. As a society, we have a tendency to put mothers on a pedestal. It’s hard for us to imagine lifting mothers off that podium. It’s hard to see their faults, cracks, and foibles. And it’s hard for us to believe they can’t “do it all.”
When we, as mothers, can be seen as human, it will make much more sense why we have feelings. Feelings like, why we need time daily, and weekly, by ourselves and with our friends. (Not just once a year.) Why reproductive rights are so important to us. Why we need paid family leave. And why we need affordable childcare.
If you are a mother, this Mother’s Day I offer you the loving kindness wishes of metta meditation. May you be happy; may you be healthy; may you be safe; and may you live with ease. And I’ll add to that: may you be seen for your humanity today.
If you are celebrating a mother today, please don’t give her accolades only for the things she does. (Though I’m sure she does many, many things that are worth recognizing.) Instead, celebrate her deeply for the beautiful and amazing human being she simply IS.
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