In cities across the country, women and men spent this weekend marching for equality and justice. In Los Angeles, in Washington, in New York City, we held signs and held hands -- demanding better of our country and of its leadership. If the Women’s March has proven anything in the last year, it’s that we’re finished being quiet. We’re not taking a back seat to the hate and divisiveness that has plagued so much of our nation in the last year.
But maybe you weren’t at the march. Maybe your tiny one is just too small for big crowds, or maybe you have a kindergartner battling the flu. We get it. Momming is totally time consuming and sometimes we get so caught up in changing diapers, it’s hard to figure out how we can be a part of changing the world, too. One of our new year’s resolutions is to make a difference this year, and it’s not too late for you to join in. Here are 8 ways mamas can make a difference.
1. Vote. The most important thing we can do as activists is make our voices heard at the polls. #PowertothePolls was the Women’s March mantra this year. If you’re not happy with who’s leading our country or with your local elected leaders, vote them out. You could even host a voter registration drive in your neighborhood.
2. Better yet, Run! There’s never been a more important time to challenge the status quo and resources like Emily’s List are making office even more attainable for women (and moms). If actually running is overwhelming (We get it! No judgement!), find a mom who’s running and support her campaign -- either with your wallet, your time or your social media influence.
3. Call your lawmakers. Angry about all the gun violence in our country? Brokenhearted by the president’s plans for DACA? How about the fact that our government has been shut down for three days? Call your representative and let them know. Check out this website that does all the work for you, including looking up all of your reps and even preparing a script for you to read based.
4. Join a group. Maybe making calls at home with a baby draped over your shoulder isn’t your style. We feel that. Sometimes you just need a little extra motivation. That’s where groups like Moms Rising come in. The mamas involved in this group are active in the fight for better breastfeeding legislation, workplace justice and gun safety, among other things.
5. Make a difference in your community. Sometimes the best way to change the world is by changing your world. Find an urgent need in your neighborhood. Donate to the nearest food bank. Take blankets and coats to the shelter. Host a diaper drive at your workout group.
6. Use your spending power wisely. When it comes to spending power, moms are where it’s at. We hold the pursestrings here, so let’s use our money wisely. Invest in your community by subscribing to a CSA, or by shopping at a farmers market rather than a big box store. And if you can, give financially to organizations that speak to you.
7. Demand companies do better. When you do have to hit those larger retailers, spend your money on companies committed to reducing waste. Patagonia, Lush and Clif Bars are industry leaders in this fight, but there’s tons of small brands fighting the big fight too. Send letters or emails to your favorite stores or brands letting them know why you won’t be shopping with them until they get their act together.
8. Teach your children about activism. Involve your children in things they can grasp. Have conversations with them about current events. Take them with you when you vote, when you march, when you drop off canned food. Books about activism is a growing genre in kids books right now. Here’s a great list curated by NPR.