Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stay-at-Home Parents Can Set Their Own Schedules to Save the World

Today, I turned into a crazy lady intentionally jumping in front of a truck. What does this story have to do with parenting and poverty? Nothing. And everything. Let me back up.

This exciting photo was recreated so your imagination
doesn't have to work too hard.
I often walk my children to school and run back home for exercise. My kid accidently took along a bag with a martial arts uniform in it this morning. She didn't need it, so we left it on the lawn for me to pick up when I came back later. After drop-off and a 3.75 mile run later, I waved at the recycling truck driver on the way home to see...excuse NOT see a blue bag with a uniform in it! OMG. The recycling guy. Did he take it by accident!? I spun around and chased the truck about 1/4 mile vainly yelling in full awareness of how much the uniform costs and that this kind of thing should only happen in sitcoms. I whooped with glee as I saw him turn down a dead-end cul de sac, but didn't slow because each house he stopped at meant more junk dumped on top of our bag. I jumped in the street and ran straight at the truck waving madly as it lumbered back up the hill.

End of the story: he didn't have it. My husband saw the bag on his way to work and he'd already brought it in the house. I thought to myself, "That was a total stay-at-home mom situation." A working person who left a bag on the lawn might realize it at the workplace and just say, "Oh, well. I can't do anything about it now." Stay-at-home parents sometimes end up doing odd things during the day because we urgently know we can still affect the outcomes of situations in progress if we act RIGHT NOW. Other people give up many things as Lost Causes because they have to stay at work and there is nothing to be done about it. This can be a bad thing - like this morning  - when I put a lot of effort into fixing something that doesn't actually need to be fixed. OR, it can be a great thing when only you are in the position to go for the save!
A stay-at-home parent has the ability to affect problems working people don't have time or flexibility to address. 
Being a stay-at-home parent can sometimes feel like you aren't doing anything important because you don't go to a workplace like your employed counterparts. Let me offer you an empowering thought. You have the blessing of managing your own time and being able to solve problems, whether it's the small problem of a missing martial arts uniform or massive world problems like poverty or climate change. You don't have to throw your hands up and say, "I'm here at work and my employer is paying for my time. I can't do anything about it for another eight hours!" You are in charge of your own schedule whether you have kids in school or still have toddlers and babies with you.

Here are actions you can arrange to include in your day with much less hassle than someone who is required to report to a cube. Whatever your advocacy issue is, you can...
  • ...sign an online petition without using your workplace internet connection to visit non work-related sites
  • ....make a call to your member of Congress anywhere without a boss telling you to use your own phone on your own time
  • ....schedule a meeting with your district congressional office and even take kids with you without having to take a personal vacation day
  • ....have other moms over to your house to write letters and help THEM feel great about changing the world, too!
Comic from The Mind Unleashed facebook site