Alright, let’s just say what we’ve all been wanting to say. 2020 is a…you know what-storm. Being a mom in 2020 is hard. Being a friend in 2020 is hard. Giving birth in 2020 is hard. Being a teacher in 2020 is hard. Being a person that has an opinion in 2020 is hard. Being a living, breathing, human person is just plain hard in 2020.
Probably the most challenging aspect of 2020: raising children.
Now, I realize that raising children is a difficult feat no matter the year, and despite a global pandemic, distance learning, forest fires, hurricanes, and everything that has made this year one for the history books. However, this particular climate we live in right now is an especially challenging time to be tasked with shaping the minds of small humans.
Part of the world is on fire, the media inflates messages and confuses everyone, there is SO much hate, and there is SO much division. We are months away from probably one of the most historic elections to date. Everyone has strong opinions about things going on in the world right now, and we are all itching to make our viewpoints known. We carry an incredible amount of pressure in regards to teaching our children to stand up for what they believe is right, and also respecting others and their opinions in the process.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m questioning some things going on in our world right now, and I don’t believe in certain things, but I respect the feelings and opinions of those who don’t agree with me enough to not publicly and blatantly bash ideas that do not mesh with my beliefs. This is what I want my children to see. I want them to understand that we have a right to believe certain ideas and to stand up for ourselves and our beliefs, but we don’t need to do this at the expense of coming off as a heartless moron.
I want my children to hear me stand up for myself in situations in which our safety is at stake, or see me standing up for someone who is being treated unfairly. I want my boys to hear me voice my opinion in times where being silent is more harmful than speaking up. I want them to bear witness to the fact that our friends and family members can be affiliated with different political parties and still love one another.
I want my children, at an early age, to learn the difference between standing for what you believe in and being an outright jerk to others, simply because they think differently.
Social media outlets have hit their max capacity for hate, and we are only 3/4 of the way through the year. I was recently watching a video of an interaction between a well-known Veteran in our community, and a local public office candidate. The post was infuriating to me. My face was hot, I had goosebumps and I was incredibly offended by some of what I witnessed in the video. My first reaction was to click on my profile and make a post on FB about how I felt about it.
I knew if I posted at the moment, the words I would have used likely would have offended several of my friends and followers. I absolutely know that I have a right to believe and post what I want, but I also understand that my outraged words in a Facebook post aren’t going to change anything. Instead, I put my phone down, took a deep breath, and decided to focus on something positive.
The way in which we voice our opinions via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., speaks to the way our children view how we treat one another. In several years when my children are old enough to have social media accounts and they stumble upon my posts from 2020, I want them to see posts that are respectful, kind, meaningful, and positive.
I want them to see that even in a year where the world was full of chaos, crime, hatred, and division, their mom practiced what she preached to her children about being respectful of others’ beliefs, opinions, and views. I want them to see posts of their mom remaining positive and kind in a time when so much seemed hopeless.
So, before you make an outraged, heat of the moment post, remember to be calm. Timber Hawkeye said it best: “You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” Cheers, mamas! We’re all working hard to raise the kindest, most compassionate, forward-thinking group of young adults the world will ever see!