It is a unique situation, having gone through the heartache and joy of sending two grown sons into the world while still having three girls at home rising into their strength, the little one sleeping in bed with me at night. I have noticed two distinct energies inside of mothering. One is the energy of making sure my children are ready for the world. This was the work of raising young children. The second is turning outward to make sure the world is ready for my children. This is the root of the activist urge in motherhood, one that is powerful yet often overlooked. I was fortunate to stumble across The Politics of Motherhood: Activist Voices from Left to Right, when my sons were very young and we were living in an inner city neighborhood in Philadelphia.
Editor Annelise Orleck writes that perhaps the most deeply rooted stereotype of motherhood is “the notion that mothers are by definition apolitical, isolated with their children in a world of pure emotion, far removed from the welter of politics and social struggle.” Women, when becoming mothers, have to immediately figure out what to DO with this child? We often forget how to BE – with our own importance, in and to the world. In trying to figure out what the “good parent” role requires of us, we place some of the most powerful aspects of our existence, our passion and ferocity, into the shadow realm where it paradoxically negatively affects our children.
We can’t gift children or the world true presence unless we become comfortable with Our Own Presence, stand in Our Own Danger, get out of our kids’ tree, Let Them Be. Such a transformative, holy gift – Love and Presence without agenda. Turns out it is exactly what the world needs as well.
 Jetter, Alexis. Orleck, Annelise. Taylor, Diana. “The Politics of Motherhood : Activist Voices from Left to Right,” Dartmouth, 1997