Friday, June 3, 2011

Making it all Work

From Abbie and the Moms Clean Air Force

I've been a working mom since September, and I'm still trying to figure out how to balance mothering, working, being a wife, taking care of my home (ha! cleaning is GONE) and continuing to move toward sustainability. It's hard to find time for myself, let alone time to go "above and beyond" mere survival. I'm weeks away from summer vacation and I'm finding that I just can't wait to have some time to do what I want to do!

In the past few weeks, I've had to skip some events that I would have jumped to participate in if my schedule allowed: a webinar and chat, both for the Moms Clean Air Force, and a nurse-in at a local mall. I've been blogging for the Moms Clean Air Force since March and hated to miss out on those two events. I'm always looking to discuss environmental topics and learn more about reducing my own environmental impact or gaining content knowledge to aid in my lesson planning. When it came to the nurse-in, I would have liked to go since I would consider myself to be a breastfeeding advocate and I've never done anything like this offline. I don't even know any other moms who are currently breastfeeding in real life, so it would have been nice to at least meet some.

It occurred to me that in the rush to do what I have to do, I'm cutting out activism. I'm skipping events that I feel strongly about and I'm not "practicing what I preach" online. It's much easier to write about taking action when it's midnight and everyone in my house is finally asleep (except me!) than to actually take that action during daylight hours.

I'm not saying that working moms have it harder than stay-at-home moms. I was fortunate enough to stay home for six months with my son and will be a stay at home mom for the summer in a matter of weeks. I know that things are also very difficult to get done when you spend your day taking care of your children, with the added stress of surviving on one income. Either way, at work or at home, it's not easy to find extra time.

But when we really care about something, the way I care about protecting the environment and children's health, I guess we have to make time for activism. I'm still learning to find balance and to give myself a break when I simply can't make it all work. I'm currently trying to finish up my school year, winding down teaching new content and beginning to review, writing my final exams, all while also gearing up for taking on the new challenge of teaching physics next year. I've decided that I need to cut myself some slack and stop feeling guilty when I need to say no to something, even if it's something I really care about. Even if it's only for the next three weeks, I'm going to be proud of what I can accomplish and stop worrying about the rest.

How do you find balance between your family responsibilities, work schedule and activism? Do you have any time for hobbies or to sleep?


robbie @ going green mama said...

I don't know that I've found that balance yet. After a particularly challenging year professionally and personally, I'm trying to find my groove again. And that's come in spurts, first by getting things back on track with home, then my blog and "me" time. The activism, much like any other volunteer effort, I believe there are seasons for in our lives. Right now, I'm figuring out where it fits into me in 2011.

Rosa said...

I haven't. My son is 5 and I've done very little political work since I got pregnant. He's got ADHD so I can't just drag him along with me to "adult" things. Over 3 years I've made it to one Transition Town event.

Seriously the last few years my activism has been dependent on talking to various folks who call for volunteers and saying "If there were some sort of arrangement for kids, I would love to help you out. If you cut parents out of your organization, how do you expect to thrive?"

Farmer's Daughter said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels like she can't "do it all"!

Rosa, I totally agree that kid friendly is a must... I'm away from my son all day while I'm at work, so if I have to choose between him and something else, he usually wins!

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

I agree 100%. It is hard to be politically involved as a mom, working or SAHM. I'm not going to spend less time with my children to be more of an activism, but maybe I could let some of the less important me activities (like blogging...) go a little. Or maybe I should spend less time researching purchases that mostly only affect my own family and more time working on policy change. At this point, I mostly sign petitions, and even that is a recent phenomenon.

GloPan said...

That's why the Internet is so great... You can support a campaign by passing on information on Facebook, email, etc.; sign e-petitions; retweeting to help something go viral. Every little action flows into a stream that flows into a river that hopefully turns into a tidal wave for change.


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