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If you are a fellow mother or father of young children, I would like to know how you are dealing with the state of the world. Not the world of playdatets, diapers, and tea parties, but the world beyond. This is something I have been struggling with since my first was born. (Well, okay, maybe a year after my first was born, when I remembered that a world did exists outside my door.)

In days of yore, I worked at Oxfam America, and at the International Rescue Committee, helping refugees resettle in San Diego. (That’s right, can you imagine moving your family from war-torn Sudan to plastic and palm-treed San Diego? It definitely took some assistance.) I was also a Peace Corps Volunteer and did my share of traveling. I was plugged into international politics and felt like I was doing something to help. In college, I volunteered at the local homeless shelter. I voted. I vote.

But voting is about all I do now, and I can’t even say it is with much knowledge about the issues or the candidates. I usually ask my friends who don’t have children who they are voting for, think about how much I like them and/or agree with their values, then choose to either vote for the same person or the other candidate. Smart, eh?

But really, the mothers of this country are large in number, large in personal interests that policy affects every day, and large in voice (at least at the playground). But where is our collective voice- the one that can make changes that affect our lives and, possibly more importantly, our children’s lives? There are some great blogs out there with important information, but even if I have time to read them, they only excite me, then I’m left wondering what (and how?!) to do next. There are also some go-getters who are trying to rally our troops, and I have signed up, read a few e-mails, gotten excited about helping with a campaign, and then been 100% usurped by the other powers that be. I actually made it one time to the phone to call my senator about an issue that really mattered at the moment (please don’t ask me to remember what it is now.) By the time I got someone on the line- someone from my SENATOR’S office, Boo had landed on his head and was screaming into my shoulder. “Um, yes, hello. Um… (shit!) I would like to let the Senator to know, um, that I don’t support, um– Sunshine, get OFF the table!,” I try, try, try to communicate, “Sorry, I’ll have to call back.” Sweet success.

So I am wondering how anyone else does it? Is it just about making priorities and carving out time (???) to do something to help, whether it is making an (articulate) phone call to the senator’s office, writing a letter to a POW, or volunteering at an orphanage? My yoga teacher has told me several times that I need to just wake up an hour before my children so that I have time to have a daily practice. Excuse me? I feel just fine saying there’s no way I’m waking up at 5:00 AM for yoga- I need more sleep, not more yoga. But it starts making me feel selfish when I use the same excuse for doing something about SOMETHING.

Please, tell me, do you have a voice, and if so, where and how?

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