Replace almost every instance of “sister” with “mother” in Luisa Madrigal’s song “Surface Pressure” in Disney’s movie Encanto, and it’s me.
In the movie, Luisa’s magical gift is her strength. So everyone depends on her for all things heavy. In the moment that her sister inquires if something is bothering her, she sings an amazing song about all the pressure that her family puts on her to carry the weight and how she really feels under the surface. The more I listened to this song, the more realized how much I can relate to the message Luisa shared. While I might not physically be the strongest member in our household, the mental load and pressure placed on me (many times, I realize, self-inflicted) sure is heavy. As if being a mother isn’t exhausting enough, add on parenting through a global pandemic that has lasted over two years and that’s enough pressure to make me pop!
First, there are the innocent questions that for some reason I’m the only one in the house that can answer:
– What are we having for dinner?
– Do we have any milk?
– Where are my socks?
– Do I have any clean underwear?
These questions are really mostly annoying to answer. Can’t anyone else open their eyes and look? Even to take a little bit of the pressure away by being able to answer these questions without me would help! (insert eye roll emoji)
But there are heavier questions, too. The ones that take much more mental strength and are big decisions that I take the lead on:
– What camp are the kids going to this summer?
– Do we have enough expendable income to take a spring break vacation?
– What are our plans this weekend?
– Who is going to drop off/pick up the kids from school every day?
– Are we packed for the trip?
I definitely don’t answer these questions on my own, but the constant pressure of leading the charge is exhausting. Admittedly, I am certainly a control freak. But, often I’d like for someone else to take the lead so I can sit back every once in a while.
Then, there are questions and decisions that, like Luisa, I have to hide my nerves under the surface as I continue to manage:
– What do we do now that kindergarten went to virtual learning?
– Are we comfortable with our 5 year old getting the new COVID-19 vaccine?
– Do we go to that birthday party?
– Is it safe to go to the zoo?
Each question, each task, is another domino in the list of pressure placed on me as a mother.
At first, Luisa’s song was catchy. We played it on repeat in our kitchen and danced. Then, several plays later, I realized how much I resonated with Luisa and the lyrics of her song. After all, who am I if I can’t handle all the pressure of being a mom?