Editor’s Note: Beth was one of our contributors to our BlogTalk Radio Show yesterday. Click to hear more from Beth on this topic and our other participants.
Political power, solidarity, creating fundamental change. Those aren’t words that often get associated with Mother’s Day, but they are every bit as true. While mothers are being rightfully celebrated for all the ways they contribute to our families, as a society we too often overlook the ways moms are on the front lines for our communities, speaking out and driving the changes our families and children need.
When I think of Mother’s Day, I think of all the she-roes I’ve met across our state who do double-duty caring for their families while fighting for the policies families need to thrive. I think of the mom writing an op-ed on on what it’s like to try to make ends meet on minimum wage. Of the mom making herself vulnerable as an immigrant speaking out against the separation of not just her family, but all families. The moms of medically fragile children and those with pre-existing conditions sharing their stories of why access to health care is critically important. Of moms of color, living every day with the fear and danger of raising children in a racist society, and still finding the energy to fight for police accountability and other reforms needed to ensure children of color get safely to adulthood and beyond.
When I think of democracy, I think of the moms packing up their kids and their snacks and heading over to the legislature. Of the moms sitting down with their lawmakers, sharing their experiences in committee hearings, and packing the galleries during important votes.
I think of the moms who get their kids up in the cold and head out to march as a family for civil rights, for immigrant rights, for women, for science, and more. Of those moms who teach their kids by example what civil disobedience means. Of the moms who take their children with them to vote or who tell them what it will mean to be the first in their family to vote in this country.
When I think of dedication, I think of the moms whose work schedules are too intense, their health problems too serious, or their caregiving responsibilities too daunting to make engaging in person possible, but who still take action online, who make phone calls, or talk to their friends about why these issues matter. The women who take a moment to share their own lived experiences with why we need living wages, affordable child care, paid family leave and paid sick days.
When I need hope, I think of the moms doing the work at home with their kids every night–explaining the issues of the day, talking about what justice and solidarity look like in practice. Growing the next generation of activists and leaders.
It’s nice to have a day to celebrate mothers. There is no doubt moms are worthy of celebration. But what would be even better is to have the policies mothers and families need every single day.
Fortunately for all of us, the incredible mothers in communities all over this state and country won’t stop until we win them. To all of them: Happy Mother’s Day, with my deepest gratitude.
Beth Messersmith is a Durham mom of two and NC Campaign Director for MomsRising.org.