Moms On A Mission
Every once in awhile there is a day in which I have an experience or conversation that tells me that I'm on the right path in my work to build an organization that can bring Illinois parents together - across our divisions - to advocate for changes that will improve our lives and ensure a better future for our children.
Yesterday was definitely one of those days.
Joan Blades, co-founder of Move On.org was in town to promote her new book, The Motherhood Manifesto, as well as her latest on-line organizing venture, Moms Rising. I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the launch event, which was held on the south side of Chicago at the home of a mom and daycare provider featured in the book.
When we arrived, we were introduced to our hostess and several other moms who have been at the forefront of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) campaign to secure better pay and benefits for home day care providers. We were also greeted by a group of precious toddlers, who couldn't wait to show off their newly-acquired sign language skills and musical repertoire. As I listened to those tiny voices singing ''if you're happy and you know it, say amen,'' and glanced at the walls filled with diplomas and certificates of professional achievement, news clippings announcing the day care providers' union victory, and photos of our hostess with leading Illinois politicians, I knew this was the kind of place where movements are born.
Later, we joined one another for lunch and conversation about Joan's book and the challenges today's mothers face. Sitting around the table were: younger moms and older moms; moms of children who haven't yet started school and moms whose youngest has already headed off to college; African American, Latina and Caucasian moms; single moms and married moms; stay-at-home moms and moms working for pay; middle class moms and moms with limited economic means; moms of Christian faith and Jewish moms; and, the wonderful women I like to call FOMs (that's friends of moms!) who aren't parents but who are dedicating themselves to making life better for us and our children. Despite our varied backgrounds, when we started talking about our experiences and sharing some of our personal struggles in trying to earn a living while also caring for our families, it was clear that what we have in common transcends our differences.
We ended the afternoon by posing for a group photo with Joan and then tiptoed out of the house so as not to wake the little ones napping on their cots in the living room. Quietly, we stepped out the front door - moms on a mission - ready to take on the world.