Organizing as a Mom

As a mom, I do a lot of work in my children’s school and in my neighborhood. It is hard to remember and value it. The combined messages of sexism, young people’s oppression, and parents’ oppression make it difficult to notice that I do anything, or remember that I’ve done anything, or get help, or even talk about it.

I will share some of what I do, and I hope that you will too. Writing it down and asking you to do the same could be a contradiction [to distress] for all of us and help us keep going forward.

I have done the following in addition to my daily parenting of my children:

I have taught my husband RC and gotten him involved in RC family work. He is now about to teach [soon to teach] fundamentals. I have taught RC to close friends and to mothers of my children’s friends. I have also taught our babysitter and gotten her into a class.

One of my closest friends and I led a workshop on diversity at our children’s school and based it on RC theory and tools. Now a close and diverse group of moms is committed to thinking about diversity there. We have held some gatherings at the school and are working on more. I have listened to many members of the school community and helped build bridges and solve problems this way.

The same friend who led the workshop with me is now assisting in an RC class, and a few of my friends’ husbands are about to take my husband’s fundamentals class.

I am part of a community that acts together. I always have a group of families with me, participating in marches and other actions. The closer I get to other moms and to young people, the richer my life becomes.

Recently I have begun organizing in our neighborhood on a specific issue. When I decided to take it on [do something about it], I asked my children if they wanted to be a part of it. They did, so I have organized primarily with families.

Our meetings have consisted of (1) reading a children’s book that addresses the issue, (2) facilitating a discussion with the young people, (3) considering what actions we might take, (4) taking an action or doing the necessary organizing so that we can take it at a future time, (5) sharing a meal together for which everyone brings something. I have also been keeping up [staying involved], as well as I can, with the adult organizing on this issue (and others) in my neighborhood and city.

I often feel like I am not really doing the work because I don’t go to all the meetings and do all the things that other activists do. It seems like I am “just” hanging out [spending relaxed unstructured time] with my family.

Last weekend our children made “buttons” (the kind with sayings on them that you can pin to your jacket) and then ran out to talk to people and sell them. A group of teenagers were clearly moved and stopped to buy some. (The buttons supported an organization that is working on the issue I mentioned.) Our children were energized. They were knocking on neighbors’ doors and having conversations.

We plan to continue this work—of building relationships in our meetings, getting out on the streets and building more relationships, and making our presence known in the community.

I did manage to write to the citywide group that is organizing on this issue and share what we’ve been doing. I was worried that it would seem small, but I could tell [notice] that it might give other parents a way to be involved. The feedback has been positive, although it is clear that most of the activists do not have young children.

Please let me know what you are up to [what you are doing]!

Tresa Elguera

Brooklyn, New York, USA

discussion list for leaders of parents

(Present Time 189, October 2017)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00