Right now, in our time, people are screwing things up for more than seven generations of all life on this planet. It is a fact, a well known and often discussed fact but still somehow inappropriate to talk about in polite conversation.
A regular laugh killer if you will.
There are consequences for the choices we make in our lives. Right now there are too many people in the world. Millions of them are starving, displaced, raped, tortured, abused, ignored, alone. Right now there are too many people using too much in this world. So, here we are in our perfect little bubble and we have a kid. We have the luxury and great misfortune of enough free time to totally over think every aspect of childrearing. The whole world is getting warmer. We are looking at worldwide catastrophic disaster within our lifetime and still our thoughts are consumed with concerns over whether or not to let your baby cry for five or ten minutes before swooping into to rescue them because apparently otherwise they will be miserable and dysfunctional for life. Yes, please let’s raise our children to believe that they should never be in the least bit uncomfortable, that their happiness is paramount to all else that might be going on anywhere ever and that they and only they are the most important person in all the world. That is what we’re going for here, right? No you should never be unhappy for one moment you precious American privileged brat. Mama won’t hesitate to put you in the car and drive you for as long as it takes so you will go to sleep and not cry because apparently when you have a child of your own you lose all perspective and stop caring about the rest of the babies in the world. Who would let their baby cry for a few minutes just to save some gas? And once the baby falls asleep in the car you have to leave it on so that your baby is not too hot or too cold while they nap. You might as well sit in your car and do nothing because after all, the world is full of problems, why try to solve just one. All this coddling somehow does make sense to us in a way, since there is so much pain and waste in the world. We are just trying to do this one thing with a purity of love and intention. That is where the problem lies though, we feel like we cannot change the big picture so we internalize and confine all our loving kindness to our own living rooms, our own children.
I sound angry and bitter don’t I? In truth, I take my anger at this juncture as a sign of my stubborn optimism. I am a mother, I love my daughter but I also have a great deal of love in my heart for the millions of nameless children out there without parents, without food, without homes. I want to raise my daughter to be tough and independent, resourceful and compassionate. I want her to have the know how to solve problems in a changing world and to use those solutions to help people everywhere.
The power of motherhood lies in the realization that women all over the world love their children as much as we love ours and that the choices we make minute by minute here in the US make horrifying decisions for them that can mean life or death. The power of motherhood lies in teaching our children that they don’t need everything to be new and shiny and perfect. That our children can hold their heads high when reusing clothes and toys. That our children do not always need to get just what they want and be perfectly comfortable in every moment. We do not need more children to grow up with that sense of entitlement. The power of motherhood is about an empathy for other mothers. A love for children, not just your own child. A spark of truth evolving in our consciousness that this way of doing things doesn’t work, isn’t fair and doesn’t create the future that we have been dreaming of. It is our powerful responsibility and heavy, heavy burden to realize that the only hope for a change really, truly lies within our arms. It can’t just be talk it requires a change in our day to day lives, choices and spending. Every time you get in your car to drive somewhere with gasoline imagine a child in Iraq as the bombs fall. Every time you turn on your dryer instead of hanging it on the clothesline force yourself to imagine the consequences of melting ice caps and a world without polar bears, penguins OR Bangladesh. The future of our collective family on this planet depends on our noticing the miracles that surround us, the magic in the natural order. In realizing this, take ownership for the string of the web that we each gingerly hold and acknowledge the enormous weight of that. While some of our children have more than enough today, none of our children that are growing up in this world are secure in the future that we are bringing upon them. This is our time to re-imagine our power—as mothers, caregivers, consumers, daughters, citizens, humans that need water and air to survive—in creating a mutually resource-full and collaborative future for all of our children.