“I’ll shut the power off on the motherboard!” I said as I was in the mechanical room in the basement of my home with my husband, trying to find a way to stop the burning smell that was coming from our air compressor. “Maybe that will help?”
Sure enough, shutting down the system from the motherboard or, as my husband reminded me, it’s called a circuit breaker panel… worked. “Good thinking,” He said, “I didn’t want to have to make an emergency HVAC call on a Friday night and certainly not in the middle of this pandemic.” “And why are you calling the circuit board a motherboard, he asked?” I replied, Umm.. because it makes sense, it can, with one switch, regulate every component of our home, just like a mother! I assured him that motherboard is a better word for it.
As a traditionalist, I was scratching my head, thinking, why was I even in the mechanical room in the first place? That’s not my wheelhouse; I have no business accessing and managing mechanical systems in our home, maybe I should? Back in the day when I was growing up, this situation would not be a problem that my father would have involved my mother. There were old-fashioned, clear roles that were strictly respected; perhaps they were gender-stereotyped roles. A lot has changed since then.
But it got me thinking even more deeply about mothers and motherboards for that matter. As moms (and parents), we are the motherboard; we (like circuit boards) connect to every other facet of our lives expected to handle those parts with knowledge and competency. If there is a problem, we have to fix it (or shut the power down on it).
When there are issues in different parts of our lives, we have to address them, whether or not we have been trained to or have the knowledge; we are the motherboard; the management system of all the other systems in our lives. If our child is struggling with Middle School math, and we are not teachers, we still have to learn how to help them. If they get hurt, and we are not a medical professional, we still have to somehow accurately access the situation and see if more professional help is needed. Whether the problem is in the bathroom, kitchen, basement, metaphorically speaking, it is our problem, and we have to use the resources we have to handle it effectively. Just like an actual motherboard, all roads (or wires) lead back to us.
This thought process led to an even deeper level of thinking for me; most mothers (or parents) do not say, I can’t handle this, it’s not in my wheelhouse, even though they might think it (like I did). Instead, they say, I’m going to have to figure out how to get this done for my family’s well-being. Ironically, shutting down is sometimes not an option for us.
When faced with this problem on Friday night, I’m not going to lie; at points, I did want to walk away and shut down and not handle it (mostly because it was so nerve-wracking), but I didn’t have a choice; I had to step up to the plate. We, as mothers (and fathers), are forced to thrive and figure things out. Most of us don’t break down in a crisis; we gain strength from it.
I felt a bit of pride the next morning, as I called my dad to inform him of our mini-crisis and let him know how his daughter, with her quick-thinking, in a subject matter that she was not very well-versed in, solved the problem, albeit, temporarily. At this moment, I felt more robust and more capable, less timid, and more fearless. As a reminder to all women (and men) in this world, we are the motherboard of our own lives. There is not much that you can throw at us that we cannot handle (even things not in our realm of familiarity), and in some way, shape, or form, we connect to everything.
We are all reminded daily about how much our lives have changed in the past year. And, as I think about how we have all had to adjust to make things work, I am also reminded of our great strength and resilience. The year 2020 can continue to hit us with harsh realities and unimaginable circumstances, but we hold the motherboard’s power, and we should never forget that!
– The Momtourage