Madrehood is about being a badass mama. The word coined (not by me) embodies the bold, the beautiful, and sometimes heart-breaking decisions that goes into being a mama.
When I got into activism I had fewer babies and as our family continued to grow I started questioning where I fit into the movement. When I say my heart is in activism, for me it’s organizing. It’s in the streets, it’s occupying buildings, it’s wheat pasting … on everything … and getting arrested for destruction of property.
There are all kinds of spaces in the movement. Some that hold greater risk and some that hold less. Each space is just as important. For me however shifting my space in the movement for my growing belly, or breastfeeding LOs was more difficult than I had imagined.
For the most part I take my kids everywhere with me, they’ve been to 18471 meetings, town halls, protests, and art builds. Pero aveces I have to make some tough decisions and set firm boundaries, especially when I know that the police will deploy pepper spray, use excessive force and arrests will be made. If I make the decision to leave the babies at home, I’m missing one of these sweet moments:
I’m flooded with emotion. If I show up I feel like I’m letting down my family.
If I don’t show up I feel anxious about my inability to protect my movement fam in the streets.
I always feel torn.
STL action myself and other brown activists organized – 21 faith leaders were arrested but not before protestors were ran over by a car:
These are the moments when my heart feels heavy and the need to be present is almost overwhelming.
I want to highlight however how important madrehood is. How revolutionary the act of raising children is. Our activism, our work in any capacity has to be fluid – We have to be willing to take on different spaces, gracefully and with intention. We owe it to ourselves to sit with the understanding that we are a vessel. A vessel that is vital and worth protecting both physically and emotionally. Furthermore, that our presence does not always change the outcome of certain events.
We are raising the next generation of minds to be bold, brilliant and badass. Sometimes that means our asses are staying in and playing uno while our movement fam is in the streets, or our clients are being served by another case manager. AND That’s ok. There is so much we can do to support others, from checking in, to calling on the ancestors, to bringing water. Resistance does not always require our physical presence.
Madrehood pushes us to make boundaries that sometimes we don’t love. The boundaries however are necessary. We have to be able to sustain our families, and to nourish the livelihood of our children.
I would push you all today to think about your boundaries, rather you’re a mother or not. To consider what is pulling you in different directions. To assess how sustainable your current lifestyle is.
Allow yourselves the permission to say no. Allow yourselves the permission to not be present at everything. It is as much of our responsibilities to be home playing uno as it is taking to the streets, calling out gente, or meeting with our clients.
Our survival is dependent on our ability to be mindful, to be checking our spirit and setting boundaries. So check your spirit fam.