raising a mommy

raising a mommy

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

i'm done being quiet

Here are some of the reasons I've been quiet so far:
  1. I don't know as much as I should. I will admit that there are a lot of things about which I am ignorant. I'm afraid of sharing my opinion and having someone shoot it down and make me look silly. No more. If I share something that is just outright ridiculous or wrong, I want you to call me out on it, preferably gently and with tact. I will never intentionally share incorrect information, but I gladly welcome intelligent conversation in which all sides (because there aren't just two) can not only be heard, but also listen.
  2. I've been trying to figure out how to play the middle ground. I have a lot of friends and family members who are extremely conservative, and I have a gift (I think) for being able to see multiple perspectives. I've been taming down what I want to say about a lot of things in hopes that I can still reach some of those who are turned off by the abrasiveness with which people like my little brother sometimes share their opinions. (All the respect in the world to you, Adam! Keep fighting the good fight!) Does that make sense? If I come out and say "The president is a moron." I'm going to lose my ability to reach people. And that's not something I want to say anyway. I will say, "The president does a lot of things with which I disagree."
  3. I've thought I don't have a voice that reaches enough people to make it worthwhile. On average, roughly 50-100 people have read each blog I've posted. There have been others that have been bigger (miscarriage, mental health, and my lament on what it's like to be a woman in a society that does little to control rape culture), but for the most part, I reach my friends, my family members, and a few random strangers if I happen to chose the right hashtag.
I am done with all of these. I do not want to look back 50 years from now and say "I could have done more." I'm not okay with that. I want to look back and say "I used my voice and it made a difference." I want to be able to say that there are people who are alive now because I stopped caring about offending those who didn't value my opinion anyway. Because I used my voice to fight for the rights of the oppressed. I'm done being quiet, and I'm looking forward to it.

God will forgive us for being quiet, but history will not.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

ignorance is not bliss

It is dangerous. And choosing to remain ignorant is not an option. Ignorance is not bliss. One more time in color with a fancy background?



But here's the good news: ignorance is treatable and often costs nothing but a little bit of your time. Don't know where to start? Here are a few suggestions:
  • Mental health
  • Racism
  • Immigration
  • Infertility and miscarriage
  • Religion
  • Child brides
  • Forced prostitution/sex trafficking
  • Modern day slavery
Reach out to someone who can teach you. Find someone with a mental health issue and ask them how if affects their daily life. I can almost guarantee there is someone closer than you think.

Walk into a place of worship that is unfamiliar and set up a meeting to talk to their leader. You will likely find that you have more in common than you thought.

Google a cause you know nothing about, find a phone number, and ask to speak to someone who can tell you what they do. Please. I have never heard of a scenario in which someone was upset or offended by another person admitting they know very little about a cause, condition, organization, or issue. The absolute worst thing that could happen is that you waste a little bit of time and are no longer ignorant.

If you have a cause and are willing to share your knowledge or passion, please leave a comment below or share this post so people can reach out to you. If you are even mildly interested in any of the above or any other cause but don't know where to start, leave a comment below, reach out to me personally, or share this post and ask for suggestions.

You may decide, after learning a little bit, that you passions lie elsewhere. That is absolutely fine. But continue to search for your passion. There is no shortage of injustices in need of a champion. You don't have to go into it with the goal of changing the world, but how cool is it that that could be the accidental byproduct?

I came across a quote that reads "Ignorance is the single greatest tool of oppression."

Don't want to be oppressed? Don't be ignorant.

How about one final time, really big?


Thursday, January 12, 2017

grandpa

I'm thinking about my grandpa today.

He passed away last June. I only saw him and my grandma a couple times a year, so his passing has done very little to change my day-to-day life. But every now and then I stop and remember, especially lately.

My grandparents have been into social justice since before there was a name for it. They're the ones who, when the alcoholic deadbeat they hired to help around the farm came to collect his pay, refused to give it to him and instead gave it to his wife so she could use it to feed and cloth their family before it got lost at the bar. They have always the the quiet fighters for what is right. They care for the poor. Not just with a couple dollars in the collection plate on Sunday, though they knew that was important, too, but with their literally countless hours of volunteer work in their church, their community, and their world.

So today I'm thinking about my grandpa. And I'm crying, just a little, but I'm inspired. He left an 84 year legacy of service, discipleship, and all those other cliches that go along with an amazing man like him. Now it's up to us: his wife, his 9 children, his 21 grandkids, his 6 (and counting) great grandkids, and everyone they touch to carry on that work.

Please, in memory of my grandpa and all those who have gone before us trying to leave the world a better place than they found it, do something today that will make someone smile.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

i am a woman

I am a woman.

This is why I carefully consider where I leave my car in the parking lot. Driver's door next to a cart return is ideal. If that's not an option, I park where I'm least likely to have someone park next to me.

This is why I check my back seat before I get into my car. Even if it's parked in my driveway.

This is why I'm scared to run by myself in the early mornings before the sun comes up, even though it's often the only time my schedule allows.

This is why I run in the road if I am passing a home with a privacy fence or lots of bushes along the sidewalk. And why I run on the boulevard and hold my breath (figuratively, of course) whenever a car drives by.

Why I wear or carry two different GPS tracking devices when I run, and why my husband knows how to use them to find me.

Why I'm tempted to leave him with a picture of what I'm wearing every time I leave for a run, including a close up of the tread of my shoes. Just in case.

Why I won't go into the gym if there is only one other car in the parking lot.

Why I started teaching my children, both my son and my daughter, about consent when they were one and three years old.

Why, when I walk or run past the high stone retaining wall, I wonder at its legitimacy. Is there actually just dirt behind it? Or something else? Maybe I'll cross the street when I go past that house.

This is not paranoia. These are the thoughts of a woman living a time when rape culture runs rampant.

When sexual assault earns a slap on the wrist. Or sometimes a high five.

When young girls are taught that if a boy harasses them, it means they like them.

When young boys hear that it is okay, even normal, to show affection through physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

When a catcall from a passing car has become so normal that it earns an eye roll at most.

I am a woman. And I have had enough.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

dads don't babysit

I know there are a thousand posts out there like this, but there are still two thousand posts, commercials, and ads that paint a picture of fathers as incompetent buffoons who don't know that they shouldn't use the whole tube of diaper rash cream when they change a baby's diaper. That is, if they even know where the diapers are. (Yes, those are actual scenarios that I read in a blog post. No, I will not link to it because I refuse to help the author boost her numbers.) So I'm going to make it 1001 "dads are parents, too" posts, because that is ridiculous.

Pregnant comedian Ali Wong stated: I can already see how there's this crazy double standard in our society of how it takes so little to be considered a great dad. It also takes so little to be considered a [horrible] mom."

I changed a word to keep it PG, but I don't think she was out of line in using the word she did. 

To a mom: Let me probe into the depths of your personal life to discover that you are breastfeeding, you use cloth diapers, you don't work outside the home, and you wear your baby in a carrier rather than using a stroller. But you don't make your own baby food purees? Don't you love your child?!

To a dad: You put your daughter's hair in a ponytail all by yourself? We're having a parade in your honor!

And don't even get me started on the lack of changing tables in so many men's restrooms.

Maybe if society as a whole starts to expect more of fathers, like, you know, that they be equal parenting partners (like so many already are) then more fathers will feel valued enough to stick around. The idea that fathers are inadequate or even slightly substandard as parents is ridiculous, to say the least. It's just as crazy as insinuating that women aren't as capable of handling themselves in the workplace as men.

If this post speaks to you, please share it. If it doesn't quite hit the right chord, but you agree that fathers are parents too and deserve to be treated as such, then please find an article or blog that does speak to you and share it.



This is not a rare occurrence in our house. And I can't tell you how many times he has left the house with sparkly princess stickers plastered all over his shirt.

Friday, September 9, 2016

fmf: heal

Here are the rules:
1. Write for five minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back to Kate Motaung's blog with the rest of the Five Minute Friday-ers.
3. Comment on the person who linked up before you.

Please join us!

Today's prompt: heal

GO
Oh, Kate. It's like you are speaking to my soul.

This week as been one of healing. Last week, I did not like my path. Today, I'm still not crazy about parts of it. But I'm healing.

Aside from my amazing support system, here is the most important factor that is helping me heal: I've been able to help others.

I have a friend who's in a tough spot. She's going through some really hard stuff, and it's hard on her friends and family, too. While I haven't been as close to her lately, we will always be nearly birthday buddies, and I can still be there for her while she continues her long journey of healing. And something else, perhaps just as important: I am here for those who are close to her. Don't forget the father of the baby that was miscarried. Don't forget the friends and family of the one diagnosed with cancer. Don't forget the loved ones who just watched their daugher/son/brother/sister/friend just attempt to take her own life. They, too, need help to heal.

STOP

Sunday, September 4, 2016

let's get rid of the stigma

Betty has cancer. There is no reason she should have cancer. She eats well. She exercises regularly. She lives in a safe environment and is surrounded by people who love and support her. Betty is a good person.

Betty knows she has cancer. She fights it every day of her life. Some days are easier than others. She feels okay, so she gets dressed, puts on some jewelry and a little make up, and goes out. She feels like a normal person for a little while and the world can't tell that she has cancer.

Other days are harder and she can't get out of bed. Sometimes these spells go on for days or weeks at a time and Betty has trouble remembering that there is life outside of her cancer.

Betty doesn't like to talk about her cancer. She doesn't want pity and she doesn't want people to treat her differently because of it. She's so much more than her cancer, and that's how she wants people to think about her. Yes, it is part of her, but it's not everything.

Even though she doesn't want it be the only facet of her that people see, Betty knows that she needs to talk about cancer. The more awareness there is, the more support there is, and the more people will know how to react to and support those who are fighting.

Now go back through those last five paragraphs and reread them. Only this time, replace the word "cancer" with the word "depression". If your attitude toward Betty changes, something needs to be different. The negative stigma around depression and anxiety and other mental health issues is literally costing people their lives, and it's up to us to work together to change it.

Maybe that girl who posts melancholy facebook statues every day is just being dramatic. Or maybe she's contemplating the best way to end her life because she actually truly believes the world would be better off without her. She is someone's daughter and sister and best friend.

Or maybe the fake smiles have the world fooled and nobody outside her most intimate circle even know because she doesn't want to talk about it because she's scared of the judgement of strangers or those who are supposed to be her friends.