I literally don't know what day it is. Is it Tuesday? I think it's Tuesday. These last two weeks have felt like years and I know I'm not alone in feeling that way. I have stared at many a blank page feeling overwhelmed, log-jammed with things I want to write about, paralyzed by an inability to know where to even start. I am currently behind on absolutely everything—losing focus on work, trying my best to be present with my children, to maintain a sense of normalcy in their day-today lives while refusing political (if you can even call what's happening politics) normalcy and doing everything I can to fight the good fight.
You, too? I know. I FEEL it. I see you. Shit is REAL real right now. Before November, we were ALREADY tapped out. Now we must make room in an already insane schedule to stand up to a tyrannical autocracy while simultaneously holding ourselves back from running off to join the resistance.
We can RESIST and PARENT and LIFE all at once. Because, well, we have to.
Here are a few tips for parenting in the time of resistance. (And, yes. I am writing this as much for myself as for anyone else because I am a fucking MESS right now. On the outside, I'm like FIST TO THE SKY/EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK! ONWARD! But on the inside? Disasterville.)
1. Make time. Start small. Join a group. We need you.
What is happening in our country right now DIRECTLY AFFECTS our children as well as ALL children, so consider it another parenting duty to involve yourself (and your family) in whatever daily (or weekly!) action that calls to you. Phone calls to reps? Postcards? Setting up monthly donations? Participating in peaceful protest? Organizing local resistance groups and/or joining them? Hosting fundraising events? Bake sales? There are so many ways to get involved in action right now.
If you don't think your children will be impacted by what this admin has planned, PLEASE think again. If parenting is about showing up for our kids, then resistance to an administration that caters to white supremacy, fear-mongering and Islamophobia, denounces scientific fact and environmental laws, and FIRES those who are disagreeable (amongst like 797,897 other things) is imperative. It's our responsibility to PROTECT and DEFEND each other. Is five minutes a day all you have? Great! You can make two calls in five minutes. Here is a list of ALL our senators and their phone numbers. Tell them how you feel!
Everyone can commit to one at-home/in-office action a day (phone calls typically take 1-2 minutes) and one out-of-the-home action a month (community meeting/protest/volunteer work).
The following is a list of groups to join and services that make it easy to take daily action.
- Swingleft.org - find your closest swing district and join the team to learn about actionable opportunities as they become available
You can also download the Call Your Reps app, here.
2. Divide and conquer—for our children's future
If you haven't already, sit down with your spouse/partner/co-parent and create a calendar of events you can attend separately as well as a family. Hal and I are not participating in any of the same groups/action items (save for making phone calls) but we are covering for each other when, say, Hal has to attend a local meeting or I want to attend a protest, etc. Our goal is to work the system from both sides. His: participating in local politics; mine: getting as loud as I can where I feel it necessary and important.
3. Include children in your activism.
Invite them to come up with their own ways to engage in any/all good fights. Bring them to marches. Invite them to make posters. Donate their money to charity. Include them in conversation about racism and Islamaphobia in age-appropriate ways. Model the importance of standing up and speaking out.
If we are going to make change, we have to start at home. Racism is something white parents need to be talking to their white children about. Islamophobia is something non-Muslim families need to talk to their children about.
I've read a lot from parents who are saying, "I want my kids to stay innocent for as long as possible! I'm not ready to talk to them about this stuff. It's too scary/hard/upsetting." Copy that. I totally understand. But PLEASE also recognize that white people "not wanting to talk to their kids about what's going on" is part of the problem. Because here's the thing: Parents of black and brown children have to talk to their children about "what's going on" because "what's going on" directly affects them.
"Protecting" our kids and "keeping them innocent" is what white privilege looks like.Let's not put white children's "innocence" before black and brown children's lives.
4. That said, do not fear monger.
It is important to be hyper-aware of what you're listening to (and watching) in front of your kids. Save NPR for times when you do not have small children in the car. Ask MANY questions about what THEY think is happening and what THEY can do to contribute positively.
There are so many ways for children to participate beyond just marching and going to a demonstration, whether it's making posters to put in the windows or raising money via lemonade stands/jewelry making/etc.
5. Expose your children/family to books about refugees, AS WELL as resistance.
This was an idea some moms and I were discussing on our way to the protest at LAX last weekend: What if we created a group of moms who took turns looking after the kids while the rest went off to protest? I thought I'd share in case you want to create a similar group in your community. These next few years are going to be far less exhausting if/when we agree to work together/have each other's back/help take care of each other.
7. Do not put pressure on yourself to show up for every event. (Plan ahead, if possible.) Also, breathe.
Showing up is EVERYTHING. But showing up to everything? Is impossible. Do what you can where you can. Perhaps one event a month is all you can swing. GREAT! That's AWESOME! Perhaps one phone call a day is all you can commit to. Again, THAT IS HUGE. Every little bit helps. If we all made ONE call a day and showed up at ONE EVENT a month and gave to one charity a year! I mean, this is how we change the world. Bird by bird, you guys.
8. If you have a platform, USE IT!
The internet is a GREAT place to engage and elevate the voices of activists, specifically activists of color. Speak out against injustice where you can. You can promote your business, share personal photos AND engage in resistance—all at once.
8. Logging off the Internet and being present with your children/family is ALSO a revolutionary act.
It has BEEN SO HARD for me to do this these last few weeks. I keep reminding myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint. So I am going to do the same for you. Log off. Go outside. Leave your phone at home. Go hiking. Go to the beach. Interact with people in positive ways. Model kindness. Spread light.
Do what you can to fall asleep at night. Unplugging after 8:00 p.m., although seemingly impossible these days, can help. So do baths. (I have rediscovered baths in the last few weeks. They are AMAZING.)