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When Motherhood Changes Everything

We all expect that becoming a mother will change our lives, but we don’t know the extent of the change until we’re doing motherhood full throttle. Here are few surprising ways that being a mom has changed me.

I was interested in politics long before I had my son. While in college, where I studied political science, I also worked for the Department of Justice. That passion faded over time, but being home with a newborn during the last presidential campaign reignited my love and passion for politics.

What surprised me most about my political spirit was that I didn’t lose it after the election was over.

After my son came home from the hospital, I spent many days nursing him, feeding him and rocking him to sleep as I watched CNN during the 2008 presidential campaign. Before I knew it, I was hosting campaign parties, canvassing my community and phone banking. Every weekend, I’d get involved with something related to the campaign.

What surprised me most about my political spirit was that I didn’t lose it after the election was over. Believing wholeheartedly that our nation needs a great deal of change, I wrote a book titled Open Your American Heart: From Personal Responsibility to Collective Accountability. I wanted people to see how powerful we are as citizens when we understand how government policies affect our lives, and when we really take the time to participate in our government.

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This election season has been a lot different from 2008. Being a mother of a 5-year-old absorbs my time and energy in a way that parenting a nursing infant did not. And while there's been less canvassing and more financial contribution on my part, the real change for me during this campaign season has been access to social media. Facebook and Twitter allow me to connect to political die-hards, like myself, from all around the country. I have been in full-blown blogger mode, writing about issues that impact women’s reproductive rights, President Obama’s successes and failures, as well as the current campaign. It can be like swimming with sharks while sporting an open wound, but politics has never been for the faint of heart.

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The most shocking thing, though, happened just the other day. I heard the voice in my head say, “Maybe you should run for some local office." I was resistant and immediately thought to myself, “No, I don’t want to be a politician." But, oh boy, the seed has been planted. Now if I can just avoid giving it any water in the hope that it will shrivel up and die before anything can sprout from it. From where I stand, at least, being a single mother and running for a local political office would be nearly impossible.

Motherhood changed everything about me, but I think that the most important shift that occurred was the strength of my belief that I could impact the world in a positive way. I saw this shift as an opportunity for me to grow spiritually, ideologically and politically. After having one child, I knew I needed to make the world better for my son and the sons and daughters of all people. From where I stand today, I have tons of work to do, and I’m grateful that motherhood has stoked the fire in me to get it done.

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