July 28, 2011

The Evolution Of A Mother Activist

Jen of The Evolving Homemaker
I'm very pleased to have a marvelous guest blogger today- Jen of The Evolving Homemaker.  From her "Be The Match" crusade to her love of tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches, she is absolutely a woman after my own heart.  (Please read her "Be The Match" post on the bone marrow registry, and my post about blood donation if you haven't already.)  Did you know that Thich Nhat Hanh co-authored a book about food?  Because I didn't.  And that's just one of the many things you can learn simply by visiting her.  Enjoy!

The Evolution Of A Mother Activist

When I first became a mother, I was a mess. Completely overwhelmed with the magnitude of it all, a preemie, followed by 21 days in the NICU, followed by a year of being completely unsure of what I was going to do with this little person they actually let me take home from the hospital. I was a wreck.

But then one day I was watching Oprah, an episode about the Democratic Republic of Congo. I was jolted off the couch and into action by the stories these women told of gang rape, the murder of their husbands and children, the use of women as sex slaves, the mutilation of their bodies. I cried and cried. Lisa Ling called it, “The worst place on earth to be a women.”

Soon after I started the crusade to bring the Run for Congo Women, started in Portland, Oregon to Denver, Colorado. At the same time I began to get heavily involved in politics, volunteering for a group at the time that inspired mother’s to become active in the fight for the rights of children worldwide. I lobbied our representatives, I went to political rallies to try to talk to the future Vice President, first lady, and more, to voice my concern for the women in Congo. I brought my kids to everything.

Then the election happened and I discovered that I had hit the dreaded wall of....burnout.

What would become of my mamavism? (mothering and activism) Would I have any value to the world if I became JUST a Mom? What would happen to the world, the women of Congo, if I became unable to be a spokeswoman for those that were suffering? Would society look at me and think I was valuable or a castaway? Another mother who tossed away her potential to be a Mom. It was tough for me.

But there was also a nagging voice in the back of my head as I partook in all of these endeavors. I had the sense that I wasn’t being all that great of a Mom. That my mind was always distracted. I often wondered if there really was a way to be a ‘good enough’ stay at home mother and still engaged outside the home in changing the global conversation. I am sure there is for some women, for me I was finding it more stressful than helpful.

So I stopped.

And then I began again, except my mamavism looked radically different than it had two years before. Instead of constantly looking outward in what should change, I began to look inward. I realized that world peace can’t happen if I cannot keep my peace with my own children. I began looking into urban farming and growing my own food. I explored living a simple life, reading books like The Simple Living Guide and Your Money Or Your Life. We decided to home school our children to give them opportunities to think outside the box, to learn things they are passionate about along with their A,B,C’s. I want to spend my time supporting local economies and building stronger communities, while also making scrumptious healthy food for my family from scratch.

Mamavism takes many different forms. This is what it looks like to me these days. Focusing on living locally, learning new home skills like canning, knitting, and gardening, all which will change the face of our national culture away from blind consumption to teaching a generation that will probably need to return a bit to the earth for the survival of humanity.

We can each do what we can to get off our couch and engage in making the world a place worth leaving to our children. It doesn’t have to come on some grand scale, although it can, mamavism can take the form of a million little choices every single day.

1 comment:

  1. I love this. There can be no peace outside the home if there isn't peace inside it. I am a regular reader of Jen's blog, and I don't think she can know just how much she inspires others to be honest with themselves, to try new, brave things, and to live better lives. Sometimes we have to stop and reevaluate, so that we can come back, even better. Thank you for posting! :)



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