Last weekend, a girlfriend and I took our kids to go see the movie Encanto. I’m a huge fan of kids movies, and I had pretty high expectations for this one. I thought the movie was entertaining and clever, and the sound track did not disappoint at all. As much as I enjoyed the movie as a whole, there was one character that stuck out for me. We need to talk about Luisa.
I’ll do my best not to spoil anything for anyone who has not seen the movie, but the best way to describe Luisa is that she is literally every mother I have ever met. Even though she doesn’t have any kids in the movie. How does this make any sense?
Well, the premise of Luisa’s character is that her “gift,” or special ability, is her strength. Because of her supernatural ability to lift heavy objects, the townspeople have come to rely on Luisa for taking care of….well, it seems like everything.
Livestock on the loose? Call Luisa to carry them back into town.
Need a house re-leveled? Luisa can fix it!
Ex-lover you need to get over? Luisa can toss them into the ocean, if you’d like!
Yet despite all of this strength, Luisa still has feelings. And how does she feel? Run down, exhausted, and like it’s never, ever enough. And this is why Luisa is the epitome of moms everywhere.
Moms are called on to do things that demand more strength than any ultramarathon or CrossFit competition has ever required of me.
Who holds hands in hospital ER waiting rooms, trying to look composed and brave while being terrified and worried? Mom.
Who advocates for their kids needs in schools? Mom.
Who completes 7,392 tasks that are interrupted all day long? Mom.
Who researches symptoms, checks temperatures, and spends all night laying on the floor next to their sick kids bed? You guessed it, Mom.
And all of these things are so worth while. They are a labor of love. Things that, on their own, we are happy to do. Because Moms like making things better and easier for our families. But unfortunately, these things also take a toll on us as people.
They are exhausting.
They are over-stimulating.
And a lot of the time, it feels like they are unseen.
And as Luisa so accurately described, that pressure builds over time. Eventually, it can feel crushing. Not only is it a heavy load to bear, some days it seems like these are the things that make us valuable. So that if we aren’t doing all of them, and doing them perfectly, we’re less important.
Fortunately, Luisa did learn that it’s not her strength that makes her worth loving. What makes her special and valuable is just that she is herself. It’s a lesson that I hope moms in the real world also learn.
What else did Luisa realize? That just because she is strong doesn’t mean she doesn’t need a good cry every now again. And that it’s more than ok to ask for help. Even if she can lift an entire school with her bare hands.
So moms, let’s be more like Luisa. Let’s recognize when we’ve given as much as we can, and be willing to set boundaries when we need someone else to pick something up.
Let’s admit when we’re overwhelmed, and not hold back the tears when they need to come.
Let’s realize that we can’t be responsible for all of the things, all of the time. Especially when it comes to other peoples happiness.
Let’s love ourselves, and let others do the same, not because of our strengths or skills, but because we just deserve it.
And let’s celebrate our strength at every opportunity.
We’ve all got a Luisa inside of us, and she deserves some recognition. And a couple of cookies. So let’s give her a dozen.