In the madness that has become 2020 everyone’s world has been turned upside down. There is not one human I know that hasn’t been affected by the events that have occurred over the past few months. As I look around our community, it is easy to get swept up in the emotion that accompanies the dramatic things we are consuming on the internet. Our country is on fire right now and it is important to make sure we are contributing to a better tomorrow. No matter what your beliefs are, I am writing this to urge you to make sure you are thinking for yourself. I know it is tough. As the recent events surrounding race flood our feed, I feel the sting that accompanies the realization of the privilege I have taken for granted all these years. It is uncomfortable. It is frustrating. I realized that I need to stop, listen, and learn in order to help my community and raise a daughter who will do the same.
One of my heroes Maya Angelou put it best when she said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I can now see that obtaining new information that changes your previous opinion makes you an informed thinker. My fear is that some people feel scared to expand their perspective because it will somehow make them a hypocrite. I am speaking from experience here. As a recovering small-minded thinker, I want to reiterate how important it is that you think for yourself, because the world our kids will grow up in depends on it.
Here are three ways you can check to make sure you are thinking for yourself
Don’t blindly consume media:
As a busy working mom, I know that sometimes downtime consists of 5 minutes scrolling through social media while inhaling a cup of coffee, because that is all your schedule will permit. I realize that watching TikTok dance videos or falling into an Insta story rabbit hole can feel like the mindless retreat you crave during 2020. But, are you being mindful of the media you are consuming? Sprinkled in with those savage dance moves I find headlines to articles that often appear relevant or in-line with what I believe, but often spew hate and misinformed information. Before you hit “like,” or share that video, take a minute to consider the impact. Is it something your kids can be proud of when they reflect on the person you are later in life?
Expose yourself and your kids to things outside of your comfort zone intentionally:
I recently heard someone tell a story about exposure to new things we might perceive as threats, likening it to growing up without a pet in the house. If you don’t have regular exposure to a dog and you hear only a story of someone being bitten by a dog (factual or not), the next time you are around a pup you might subconsciously feel uneasy. Apply this concept to things like culture or race and you can see the value in exposure and discussion when you form your own opinion. Inevitably our kids will be exposed to false information that may induce fear or bias. It is our job as parents to talk through this with our kids and help expose them to new information. Remember, we guide them when they are making their own decisions about their personal experience. Not having the conversation is more harmful than the discomfort of the discussion.
Vote…. Let me say this again for the ladies in the back…VOTE
No matter how you vote, inform yourself, and then VOTE. I won’t dive into politics here, but I will share that I wholeheartedly believe as parents we are responsible for voting into office the people who make decisions about the world our babies will grow up in. If you don’t personally care, consider the ramifications for your kids and lead by example. I have had more conversations with friends who leave the voting to their husbands than I care to admit. Come on ladies, let’s not dismiss all the work that has been done to create equal rights for women. We tell our kids that their effort in life matters, even if they don’t always get their way. It is time to practice what we preach. Mama’s if it has been a while and you are not even sure where to get started, begin by confirming you are registered to vote. You can do so using the following link: https://www.usa.gov/confirm-voter-registration . Fun fact, no one needs to know who you vote for. You can decide and vote privately without having to experience an uncomfortable conversation if you have differing opinions than those around you.
As I look around our online mommy community, I see that I am not alone in waking up to some things that have been in front of my face for years. I am inspired to see women putting their pride aside and working to educate themselves and their children. It will be hard, and it will be exhausting, but so is literally EVERYTHING else related to parenthood. You can do this. Each baby step will help us to raise a future generation who does not just believe in equality, but achieves it.