If you’re a mom, what are your superpowers?
Well, you’re a mom. So, that’s pretty powerful. I mean – you created human life -not bad for a start;)
I think most mothers underestimate their personal power and influence – what I like to call our superpowers. Even those of us with college degrees and professional experience sometimes wonder if we really know anything at all – after changing diapers, shuttling kids to activities, and putting everyone’s needs before our own. Hmmmm… maybe we don’t underestimate ourselves. Maybe we’re just too exhausted to think about it!
Often, our desire to influence events outside our own home returns as we start advocating for a child in public school, as we’re trying to help resolve an issue for our neighborhood (or when our brain finally feels rested because we’ve finally gotten a few nights of sleep in a row).
In my previous life I was a marketing manager in a telecommunications firm. It was a very large and geographically dispersed organization with multi-page org charts and countless dotted line reporting structures. As an individual, I felt making a real impact to the company’s bottom line was difficult.
Then I became a mom.
I believe being a mom is the most influential job I’ve ever had – or may ever have. On a daily basis, I’m helping to mold members of a future generation. Hello…superpower;) My family and our community are my priorities, in that order. My politics are not solely defined by any political party I belong to, or influenced by the news or social media. If I hear something intriguing, I research it. I try my best not to make a lot of snap judgements. And sometimes I change my mind based on a new experience or new information. My ego is not so big that I can’t admit when I’ve been wrong. I’m primarily concerned about the generation of children we’re raising. I want to make sure they have a good moral compass, they’re well educated and productive, and will one day lead the next generation. I also want our elected leaders and officials to be worthy of representing them until they can represent themselves.
I’m writing about this today because there’s a lot going on around me, around all of us. Not just on the national level, but on the local level and in our own neighborhoods. I think we all need to take a little of the emotion out of everything and speak intelligently and respectfully with one another. I think we all need to ratchet down the level of anxiety in order to be better listeners. I think we need to commit to staying in the fight, as long as it takes, until we understand one another’s positions and can work together toward a mutually agreed upon solution. I’m getting tired of people saying it’s their way or no way, and adults, acting like children in a sandbox, saying they are taking their ball and going home. As Americans I know we have a whole lot more that brings us together than should divide us. My grandmother taught me that.
(Ok. So, at some point you have to hear this story to understand me. So, it might as well be now.)
My grandmother’s parents came to the United States from Ireland in the late 1800’s. So, you would think if you asked her what nationality she was she would have said “Irish”. Right? Wrong;)
I remember clearly, when anyone asked her she would say “I’m American”. If they pressed her and said, “Yeah, I know you’re American, but your also Irish, right?” She would say, “I’m American first.” She passed that perspective on to us. I’m not sure what’s happened to patriotism in the public realm, but I would certainly like to hear that more people feel this way. We’re not really Italian, Irish, Mexican, Chinese, etc. Like Grandma said, “We are Americans first.” I agree that we should value our heritage, but not at the expense of our own country. (More about Grandma another time.)
Back to our superpowers. Many moms spend countless hours volunteering in our schools, on sports teams (also lots of dads here), in our churches, the list goes on. Don’t kid yourself, it is all important. Without volunteers many activities in our communities would simply have to be shut down. But, if I had a nickel for every time I heard a mom say, “I’m just a volunteer” over the last 20 years, I’d be rich;) What do you mean just a volunteer? You are there because they need you. In fact the work you’re doing, even though you may not be getting paid, often can’t happen without you. You are valuable. Please take the word just out of your vocabulary.
I would like to encourage more moms to realize how important they are and get more involved in the larger community when and if they can find the time. Keeping an eye on our local school boards, local city and town council meetings and even Home Owners Associations (HOA).
Moms, you are valuable and insightful and you care about our families and our communities. It honestly doesn’t get any better than that.
To hold an office, you may have to meet an age requirement, or you may not. I think you should probably consider having a college degree, but if you have 10 years of work experience, you can probably do most of the same things a college graduate can do. Just because someone has a degree in engineering, education or gender studies, doesn’t make them more qualified than you to be a school board member, a city council member or an HOA president.
I would also like to encourage more moms to ask candidates running for local or state office to come and meet with them. Host a coffee with neighbors and friends. Share your concerns about your family and your community and find a candidate who shares those concerns. Don’t focus on partisanship. Honestly vote for the most qualified candidate. It could be a woman or a man. They could be black, white, Asian, Hispanic, etc.
As citizens we have the right to vote. But it was not always that way. There were others who earned us that privilege. Please don’t forget that. Black men were given the right to vote in 1870 (via the passage of the 15th Amendment to the US constitution). No woman, black or white, was allowed to vote until 50 years later, in 1920(by the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US constitution). Our vote is our voice. I believe our voices are extremely valuable and we should them whenever the opportunity arises.
And you can do more than vote. Walk door to door for a candidate. Talk with people in your neighborhood and share your views with folks you volunteer with. Distribute flyers. Talk with your friends, your child’s teachers, parents at sporting events and encourage them to become involved. I believe when more people get involved, even if we have different opinions, we are better off.
I recently worked on a campaign to elect the first female mayor for the city of Roswell, Georgia. She is now The Honorable Mayor Lori Henry (photo below). It was a difficult campaign – but she was tireless. Some of us only played a small role, walking door to door, emailing and calling people. But it takes a lot of people, volunteers, playing small roles, to elect any candidate. It was important to me to elect someone who would listen to all of the people who live in our city. So, I contributed what I could – my mom superpowers:)
There is an election every year somewhere. I encourage you to talk to candidates, decide who you want to represent you and play a role, no matter how small you think it is. I encourage you to consider running for office – school board, city council, congress? If you win, great! Represent your constituents well. If you lose, great! Now you have experience. Decide what you want to do with it. The US Census in 2016 estimated that women make up 50.8 % of the US population. We can be very powerful, but only if we use our voices.
Moms, your kids are watching. And they will realize that using their voices are important if they see you doing it. You have personal power and influence. You are bringing up the future leaders of the next generation.
Below (while not one of my most photogenic moments) are some of the incredible moms I volunteer with. We hosted an event to meet candidates running for for School Superintendent for the State of Georgia. Richard Woods (Center) attended and spoke with us. In addition to moms, about 25 teachers attended. Spoiler alert – he won;)
How will you use your superpowers today?