5 Political Action Tips For Parents of Young Kids
As an American, and a human, I am deeply disturbed by what has been happening in the USA. I live in Canada, but I was born and raised in the Seattle area. I moved to Vancouver almost 15 years ago, which basically means I've been Canadian almost as long as I was American. Still, I am and will always be American (my obsession with Hamilton is proof). I have been struggling with what to do, both because I live in a different country and because I have what I call "procrastination paralysis". There is so much to do, I feel inadequate, life is chaos in general, so I avoid trying and then feel bad that I don't try. Here are good things you can do as a parent of small kids (and therefore not always able to do mass amounts of work) 1. Call Your RepsMake time to call your representatives or call committees to make your opinion known about cabinet appointees. I have called (handsfree) while in the car, with my kids chattering in the background. I've called and gotten busy signals. I've called and left voicemail. It's important to make it a habit. Contacting your reps is a very basic tenet of a working democracy, one we've definitely abandoned in the era of social media. Calling is hard, and it is a terrifying thing for people with social anxiety. Here is a great comic from Echo Through The Fog with steps for how to get through it. There are tons of pre-written scripts out there as well. 5calls.org is a great resource with sample scripts by issue and who to call. 2. Watch someone else's kids so they can protest I personally don't go to protests; they play into a few different issues I have, so they just aren't my jam. But watching one or two more kids is something I can do that doesn't add too much more stress to my day. Bonus: you can work it out so you can trade watching kids so you can have a break at another time! 3. Politicize your dollarsWe don't always have endless dollars to donate, especially those of us trying to budget on one income. But you can use the money you do have to support the cause. Grab Your Wallet has a list of companies that sell Trump products. You can also support companies that are working against Trump or are being boycotted by Trump supporters. I, for one, will be buying a lot more Starbucks (despite the fact that they double roast, and therefore burn, their beans). 4. Raise your kids to be compassionate It's definitely the long game, but talk with your kids and model generosity and caring. Teach sharing, kindness, politeness, and respecting bodily autonomy. Teach them diversity and to not be bullies. Catch yourself when you don't model those behaviors. The best thing we can do is work to build a generation that believes in its core that when you have all you need, you don't build a wall, you build a longer table. 5. Take care of yourselfYou're no good to anyone burnt out. The other side wins if we are too tired to fight. Self care is an act of resistance at the point. Make time to rest. Remind yourself the difference between being informed and being immersed. Keep a gratitude journal, a list of good things in your life. Have designated "no new/politics" times. Playing with your kids is the best way to remind yourself of all these things. Most importantly, remember that this is a marathon not a sprint. What suggestions do you have for political action for parents?