Parenting… a Radical, Political Act

Perhaps it’s because I cocoon myself with like-minded people a little too much, or perhaps it’s because I am an eternal optimist that thinks the world is truly changing in ways that I like to think of as “for the better”. But really, truly, I’m shocked when I hear of others talking disparagingly about stay-at-home parents, or when I face the discrimination of their judgments myself.

  Don’t they know I’m actually a subversive?! I’m not “just a mom”. I’m a radical challenge to the systems failing our world today. I’m changing the world one fully-present, bursting-with-intensity moment at a time.  

  Throughout my day, I cook and clean and bake and do laundry and garden. I read stories and play games and visit the library, I soothe hurts and I cuddle. I meal-plan and meal-prep, I set the table and I do dishes. And with each and every act that I perform in my role as “mother” and “homemaker”, I am acting from a deeply political and deeply personal place.  

  For each time I feed my children fresh fruits and vegetables that I’ve grown myself, I am sticking it to the industrial agricultural complex. I am denouncing monocultures: the great fields of chemically-dependent wheat and soybeans and corn that pollute our water systems, destroy bio-diversity and concentrate land into fewer and fewer hands. 

  Each time I cook a meal for my family, I am laughing at the fast food industry’s sordid attempts to lure my children to obesity and diabetes.

  Each time I grow and gather herbs to heal my family with, I am denying the legitimacy of the pharmaceutical companies. My family won’t be peeing out anti-depressants that will eventually make their way back into our drinking water, the ocean and several species of fish. My children won’t be one of the 10,000 deaths in Canada this year due to adverse reactions to prescription drugs.

  Each time I mend an article of clothing for my family, I am standing up to Wal-mart and saying I refuse to have cheap goods at the price of human dignity around the world.

  Each time I read a story to my children I am telling the corporate owned networks that I will not be bought, and my children are not for sale. 

  Each time I hang my laundry on the line I am telling the “independent” power producers that I don’t need extra energy – I am capable of cutting back and will not collaborate with them to destroy a river or a community.

  Each time I walk with my children to the park, I am telling the oil companies that I don’t condone their unethical choices in the name of cheap energy to transport my family. I will not be party to Chevron’s destruction of the Ecuadorian Amazon, the severe human rights abuses used to protect their pipeline in Burma, or the purchasing of American government favours.

  Each time I seek to understand my children and really hear their needs and feelings, I am creating peace in the world.  

  Each time I invite them to garden alongside me, to cook with me, to sew with me, I am denying the right of the corporations to own them later in life.  

  Each time I encourage them to trust themselves and trust each other, I subvert the system that wants to fill them with fear and tell them what and how to think, so that they may grow up to be good consumers – buying their way to happiness and financing it all with mindless work.

  Each time I model creative problem solving and compassionate communication, I challenge the system that seeks to plug them in, shut them down and make them drones.

  Is it enough? I’m not sure, but I do know that if I don’t do it, if I don’t seek to be the change I wish to see in the world, there is no hope. So next time you see a parent providing care for her/his family, recognize the actions of a political activist and offer your support. We need community in this changing world, now, when it has been put up for sale along with so much else, more than ever.