Sometimes I want the world to be less serious, so that I can simply enjoy my kids’ childhood.
It’s as childish a sentiment as when I don’t want to talk about the bills with my husband.
The world is not always a pretty or easy place. There is ugliness in humanity, and there always has been—the shadows merely shift and transform, and we see them from different angles.
I wrote the following only half-jokingly on my Facebook wall the other day:
Things that can go away instead of circulating: Bible verses/”quotes” that aren’t actually from the Bible, people who care more about grammar and Oxford commas than being kind, pictures of sick children and/or the elderly holding signs asking for Facebook users to like and share, anything anti-Muslim, and this Kardashian obsession the media has. Things that should be more prevalent: apologies, Googling quotes for authenticity before posting them, and those little gingerbread man ice cream sandwiches I used to get as a kid this time of year.
While I was mocking my constant Facebook feed from that morning, it got me earnestly thinking about why I really do care about all of those things.
The Internet, TV, cell phones, and the general “conveniences” of modern living make us hyper-aware of what is going on in the world, both good and bad. While much of what I see and hear in the news doesn’t relate to my life as a stay-at-home mother much at all, it’s all relevant when you’re a mom.
For instance, I couldn’t care less about the Kardashians, even though the media is ubiquitously obsessed with them. I do care, though, when I consider that these women are a part of shaping how a woman is supposed to look. (I still get Vogue, and Kendall Jenner has been all over every magazine for the last several issues.)
These mass shootings and terrorist attacks are both far away and very close; schools are places where I see children being molested and killed—gone are the days of parents sending their kids off merely to learn.
It’s gross. It’s all grossly unfortunate, but this is our world, and we as mothers need to take notice.
We need to care as much as the average politician, or those who regularly debate gun laws. We need to care, but it’s hard to find the time to actively take part in changing—and correcting—our current world when we’re wholly immersed in raising little kids.
Raising little kids is hard. It’s frustrating and we have long hours and no sick days or back-up employees. It’s true that the love is greater than can be conveyed in a single sentence, but the fatigue and stress are real too. Yet it’s us—the mothers and the fathers—who are raising our next generation. These headlines are more than stories from “far away” in France or across the country—this is the world our kids are, as cheesy and cliche as it sounds, inheriting.
They are inheriting our gun violence, our laws, our sexism, our racism, our unequal pay and slave labor. Most importantly, they are inheriting our willingness to acknowledge the atrocities in the world, and they are learning from us how to tackle them—they are learning from us whether to care or not.
My daughters need me to be aware of how we are portraying women in the media, so that I can preemptively make them believe they are beautiful. My daughters need me to recognize that women get paid less, so that we can seek to support and encourage equality. My daughters need me to be better than tucking my head in the sand and ignoring what’s going on outside of our nap times and school bus pick-ups.
I want to know what singers are popular, or that people on no-fly lists can legally buy guns, not because I want to be the cool mom who thinks she’s just one of my kids’ friends in current-topic conversations, but because I want to stand a chance that my kids will talk to me.
Because while they need me to be mom first, they also need me to remember that this world, for better and for worse, is still mine right now, before I pass it on.