When things get really hard, at home because I am overwhelmed, at work because I feel disenchanted, or politically because I feel absolutely hopeless, I remember to put things into perspective. Personal, professional, and political perspective gives me hope. I remember that if I feel this way, someone else must. I am not, after all, a unicorn. I am not the only liberal feminist, the only part time working stay at home mom, the only teacher fighting to actually educate the leaders of tomorrow. Perspective. There are others like me, and even better, we are legion.
It is hard. Being a mom is a hard job. I would say that it is thankless, but because I am not only mostly stay at home but also homeschooling, I think I get a lot more thanks than most other hardworking moms. My kid is with me almost all of the time, so she is constantly reminding me how much she loves me and wants to be with me (I think if she could crawl back inside me, she would).
But of course being with your children all the time comes with its own challenges.
“Honey, can you just sit next to me? Do you have to sit on me?” I say this to Celaya as she squirms her way into my lap while I sit on the floor this morning chatting with Carlos.
“I want to sit in your lap.” She responds, a bit of a whine in her voice. I let her. I know she has missed me this last week I’ve been all but gone, and I don’t want to push away her love.
Then Matilda, who is happily playing with her toys on her own until this moment, spies her sister in my lap, and heads over, her own whine in her voice. She crawls determinedly over to us, pulls at me to be picked up, and once she is in my arms begins smacking her sister in the face with an open baby hand. When I stop her, she turns her baby hand on me. “My mama.” She is telling us.
Oh to be fought over by your children. One emotionally attached cling on child was challenging enough. Two is quite the weight to bear.
It helps to be around other mothers who struggle with the same thing. A stay at home mom friend of mine once gently, physically removed her tween daughter from her lap. At the time I thought to myself, “aw, she just wants love from you mama.” But now I understand, she has been dealing with what I have been dealing with for five years, for 14 years!
Bodies on my body all day long.
I watch my fellow moms battle their own independence with a deep abiding love for their children and a reluctance to hurt those attached clingy children’s feelings.
Full time working moms have an entirely different challenge to face. The loss of time with their children all day at work makes them often even more reluctant to turn their clingy children away. And the clinginess can get even stronger in children away from their parents all day because it has built up during the day. Meanwhile, mom is no less exhausted than her stay at home counterparts.
Whatever the issue, it helps tremendously to know that we are all walking on a high wire together. We all want what is best for our children, we think we are doing what is best for them, and we hope that they don’t end up in therapy because of us twenty years from now.
Don’t worry. They will.
Sometimes teaching history and government feels like an uphill battle. I am up against teachers who are up against a system that demands they dumb down information, whitewash history, and offend no one. That task is an impossible one in the subjects of history and government. Yet they do it.
And I have to tutor to it while also teaching information they wouldn’t otherwise get.
Then I check in and remind myself that A) my students are overwhelmingly grateful for my lessons, and B) I am not alone.
I have really good friends who work hard to be good teachers, to help students learn, to teach the truth, to make the world a better place. We are all in this together. It is the system that needs to change, that needs to better serve our kids and our teachers.
I gotta tell you, that last tax bill that passed almost destroyed me.
I am a strong believer in staying in my country to fight for it to be a better place. I work hard every single day, all day, in various ways to make it better, to share information, to change minds, to open hearts. I push, I challenge, I question, I listen, I learn, I evolve.
And for my government to take healthcare away from millions of people, to add riches to the already disgustingly rich, to sneak a clause into the bill that declares that fetuses are people, to work so stealthily to dismantle the democracy in my country that was, while problematic, headed in the right direction, feels like a fatal blow.
I don’t know how we’ll come back from this.
They smile smugly and tell us that “today was a win for America.”
And I want to cry and scream and rage.
Then I remember that I am not alone. Seventy percent of this country is liberal. We believe in a woman’s right to choose. We believe in legalization of marijuana. We believe in immigration reform. We believe in dismantling the prison industrial complex. We believe in drastically reducing the military industrial complex. We believe that black lives matter. We believe that women have a right to choose what to do with their bodies, including abortion or sexual advances.
We are legion. We are the majority. And not just by a small margin. There is actually a large percent of everyday citizens in this country who call themselves Republicans who are actually with us on most of these issues. Liberal has become a dirty word in many corners, but guess what? We are mostly liberal.
We will take back power, we will overcome voter suppression, we will shift apathy to empathy, laziness to motivation.
I am not a unicorn. Most people feel the way I do, obviously with slight variations, and differences of opinions. But we are all mostly good people, who want good things for ourselves and others, who work to do the right thing.
The world is not overrun by evil, corrupt, greedy, disinterested villains.
It can feel that way, especially when you are so invested in so many causes, when you take on the weight and the pain of the world and bleed into its betterment.
But it is not. The power regime will shift, we will win, in the end. We will make a better future for ourselves, for others, for our children. Good always wins in the end, countless stories have proven it true, from history to comic books. We are the heroes we have been waiting for.
And we will win.