“Pass me another energy drink please.” It’s 5:30 am and time for the baby’s morning feeding. This was proceeded by the 10:00pm and 1:00am feeding, making the night a series of cat naps. A morning shower includes baby in the swing just outside the shower (he likes the light sprinkles that fall on his face as the water bounces off his mother’s shoulders). Mom reaches down after rinsing the shampoo out of her hair to bring baby in for a quick wash down. The warmth of the water and soothing feel of the rain-like drops on his back will act like an elixir and ensure a long morning nap–long enough to allow mom to dress, feed, and get brother off to school. Thank goodness it is not her turn for the school carpool. A kiss and a hug send little Gunnar running to the car idling at the curb in front of the house. Mom smiles and waves as the red minivan full of neighborhood children rushes off to beat the morning school bell. Being sure to close the door quietly, she now has just enough time to make phone calls to the morning’s “Hot List” and attend her boss’s ZOOM video conference call.
Stories like this are being written in time all around the United States and perhaps the world. This story is the tale of a single mom. Adding a partner to the story may make it a little less hectic, but not much as it takes two incomes to keep a roof overhead and food on the table. Mom as “Super Woman”, is not a novelty, it is a norm. How did we get here? How do we survive a life where the stories are the things of super-human efforts?
I’m not famous where my words will somehow inspire a paradigm shift that solves for sanity, but my observations, sprinkled with years of education, and my own experiences conclude the solution lies in the extended family. Working hard and being independent are two values, when not balanced with the old countries’ values of extended family integration and a ring of close community cooperation, can lead us to striving to be something no human was meant to be—super human.
It takes a village to raise a child is not just a saying, it is wisdom of generations from all cultures found around the world. But somehow our worlds keep getting smaller. The “me generation” has created a nasty residue of broken chains between family and community. The solution, I think, is not in creating governmental substitutes wear children are shipped off to free child care centers or the like. I believe the solution is found in each of us. In our willingness to connect. Our willingness to lend another our time, our talents, our love, and support. Being connected creates a place where each can be a hero without having to be super human.
Perhaps each of us can extend a helping hand to a family member, a community member, or even a stranger.
Be a hero in another’s eyes as often as you can. We are the stewards of the world in which live.
With all my heart,