Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Not Too Occupied To Occupy

Believe it or not I still find time to watch the news. Or a least get the snippets from my twitter feed. The Occupy movement sweeping North America has me thinking. Firstly it has me thinking how unsurprised I am that more people on my feed were up in arms about their Blackberry service than the state of our country. But I digress. As I was pondering the state of our country, with its crumbling social services and an electorate that cannot be bothered to come out en masse to select its government, I stumbled across an article at Parent Central that surprised me. It spoke of a recent study from UBC that showed young families are struggling to do more with less money than their 1976 counterparts, even amongst 2 income families. Did you hear that, folks? As our housing market creeps up, as the price of commodities sky rocket, we're stuck with a minimum wage that is rising slower than I could waddle at 42 weeks pregnant.

Our government is standing by while we are drowning and the best life life preserver they can muster is a few more daycare spaces and an embarrassingly low maternity leave for those qualified. It's no wonder so many stay at home Moms are racking their brains for marketable talents, business ideas, or ways to monetize our blogs or become product testers. While a few are very successful, I'm sure there are many more skipping meals so they can afford a box of no name mac and cheese for their kids. We became stay at home Moms so we could raise our kids, not so that we could spend our days trembling with fear that our mortgage (if we're lucky, more like rent) cheque will bounce. Or staring down our budget trying to decide if we can put off paying our power bill one more week. Or standing in line for a payday loan just so that we can buy a carton of milk.

Our generation of parents is more aware than ever of the necessity of good nutrition from organic food sources instead of cheap processed foods, safely crafted toys, time reading and playing. We understand intellectually that our kids deserve from us every opportunity to succeed and be healthy. And yet many of us simply can't afford the best of everything. So we compromise. And compromise. And the kids lose. And we lose. And we sit up at night full of guilt and worry and fear.

How, then, can we be complacent? Why aren't we rising up demanding more? More free programming. Higher minimum wage. Lower food costs, especially for the healthier, local selections. We don't make the time to join movements like Occupy or Mom the Vote because we ourselves are occupied with the demands of our daily lives. We fight every day to survive our circumstances while giving our kids those advantages we can. That's important and needed. But we can't stop there. More of us need to speak up and join together to make our voices heard. I felt during the last election that maybe we could make a difference. The Mom the Vote movement caught the ear of our media and politicians. Why did it have to stop when the ballots were cast? I truly believe it didn't. Our activism can continue between diapers changes. A few of us could step up and make a movement for real change. If our voice is authentic and we can engage the parents just like us fighting every day to make ends meet, we could make some real change. Change that could make our lives better and give our families a chance to live in a country that seems them as an asset worth investing in and not just a prop for a photo shoot. So to all you Moms, Dads, guardians, grandparents and those who love the families struggling in your community, I say let's not be complacent. Let's not be too occupied to Occupy. Let's find our voice and let out a cry so great the powerful in our country hear us and heed us.


  1. Great post, Steph.

    Part of the difficulty, at least for myself personally, is that time is at a premium. I feel like each day is an extreme exercise in time management and I often end up crashing and burning at the other end. The desperate need to be supermom, plus have a voice, make a difference, take action, make change... it's all so very overwhelming.

    How does the cycle stop? How can we really make a difference? How can we effect change? I'd love to continue this conversation!

  2. I couldn't agree more! We're most of us struggling to get through the day with all our limbs and a minimal amount of crying from all parties concerned. It strikes me that the only way we could make this work is to do it together in the moments we have. No one should have to change the world alone. If our voice is to be authentic it needs to come from all of us. While from our personal point of view our few contributions may be fragmentary or unimportant, I guarantee that from the view of the whole it would seem more like a tapestry. Something so simple as a retweet or adding our name to a petition can increase the momentum of a chosen cause.

    We can do anything worth doing if we work together, using our various talents and passion!