“Kids Have Surprising Results If Mom Works Outside the Home”
“Wealthy Moms Receiving Wife Bonuses for Raising Families”
These are the headlines this week. They are the headlines every week, the words simply rearranged, a different study found in the footnotes, a variation on last week’s vitriol in the comment section.
I’m not here to talk about these headlines, not this week or next week or the week after.
I’m here to make a promise to you: I won’t ever use this blog as a platform to participate in the media-driven mommy wars while there are actual wars on mothers and their children.
I won’t use this platform to debate the merits of choices we are privileged to even make when a woman like Sozan has to choose which children to bring in a shipping container that doesn’t have room to carry them all to an uncertain future where their safety is not guaranteed.
Sure, I’ll talk about parenting, and share my own struggles and tiny victories. I’ll use my voice to speak up when our freedom to make choices is threatened, but I won’t use this platform or my mental energy to decry a loving and intentional parenting choice that is different from my own when there are thousands of children without a parent to make any choices on their behalf at all.
I want to have a different conversation about women, with women, for women, and I know that a great many of you do to. I want to have a conversation about what is possible when we refuse to participate in an orchestrated argument with one another and instead reach out and boldly declare that we belong to each other. I want to talk about what is possible when we come together to use our talents, our gifts, our resources, and our privilege to lift up women here and abroad. Because the truth is, if we have any energy left at the end of the day to fight with a stranger on the Internet about breastfeeding or sleeping arrangements, we are coming from a place of privilege and that privilege can be squandered or it can be gifted right back to the sisterhood of mothers.
This week, there is a particular struggle that is weighing heavily on me. I read the piece linked above about Sozan yesterday, and if you haven’t read it, I encourage you to take a moment to do so now. It’s written as an open letter to the North American (Christian) Church, and while I certainly believe that the church is an appropriate recipient of these words, I also believe that Sozan’s story and the stories of thousands of people and families murdered and displaced by ISIS are for everyone to hear.
I don’t have a single political or militaristic solution for the escalating violence in Iraq. Not one. But I keep coming back to the same place I always do in times of violent conflict in this world. I keep coming back to those who fled, those who declared through their furtive and terrifying escapes that they want no part of this terror, that they want to live, that they want to see their children survive. I may not know what to say when I call my representatives about how to intervene in conflict, but I know that I will plead on behalf of the refugees.
If you have read this far and want to take action on this particular issue, I’ll include some additional resources and organizations to consider supporting at the end of this post. There are many more out there, and many people more knowledgeable than myself on this issue. Please share your resources, I’m listening. I will also include the contact information for your representatives, as well as information about current legislation impacting refugees.
I want to say one more thing. I’m asking you to consider donating to women in desperate situations but I understand that you might not have extra money in your own bank account. I get it. Our family lives on one income, follows a tight budget, and doesn’t have a lot left over at the end of the pay period either. But yet, I spend money every day. I spend money on groceries or utilities, I spend it with every shower I take, every sprinkler I run, every time I fill my gas tank. I spend some of that money with little thought to the opportunity cost, and I’m challenging myself to really think about that. I can pass on a new swimsuit this year so another mother can dream of a better future. I can let my yard go a little brown as my sprinkler sits dormant so another child can get access to fresh drinking water.
I’ve spent the last few months letting go of material possessions that brought little meaning to my life. When I mentally add up the cost of it all … I can’t finish typing this sentence without crying. It guts me to think what that money could have done.
I’m hopeful when I think of what it can still do.
So this is it, the only type of mommy war I’m willing to engage in. I’ll speak for my sisters whose voices are silenced, and I’ll advocate for children who don’t have parents to make choices for them. I’ll support women who are trying to build a better future for their families. Because the mommy wars? They’ve got enough foot soldiers. I’m joining ranks with the sisterhood. I hope you’ll join me.