Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them. ~Oscar Wilde
“I like you, Mama,” my son calls as he runs through the house. There’s nothing quite like a toddler’s adoration of his parents. I can almost believe it will last forever … then I remember being a teenager. But if the hormones of adolescence turn your parents into embarrassing side-show attractions, pregnancy and early parenting make you appreciate them as sacrificing, sleep-weary saints.
To paraphrase something I heard the philosopher Cornel West say several years ago: “There’s no such thing as a self-made man. We’re all the products of love.” I feel so fortunate to have come into the world with a kind and loving mother, who also happens to be one of the smartest people I know. She gave me a gift that I’m thankful for everyday – her attention. As long as I remember, she’s always had the time and desire to listen, talk, read, hike, draw, walk, wonder, and dream with me, and I know I am forever rich because of it. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
When I had my son a few years ago, almost immediately I had an enormous urge to connect – with my community, friends, and causes – in ways I never had. I’m convinced that all parents have the capacity to change the world through their daily acts of care-taking. Millions of moms are also out campaigning, fighting, and lobbying for a better world. Here are a few organizations formed by mothers that you might consider supporting this Mother’s Day.
Parenting is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as it is in the United States. Moms Rising fights for paid maternity and paternity leave, guaranteed paid sick leave, health care reform, living wages and equal pay for mothers, high-quality affordable childcare, regulation of toxic chemicals, and more.
The U.S. spends more money per capita on maternity and newborn care than any other country, but falls behind most industrialized countries in infant and maternal mortality. Alarmingly many current practices that contribute to high costs and inferior outcomes are not based on scientific evidence. In 1994 a number of maternity care organizations and medical providers, as well as mothers, came together to form CIMS, with the mission to promote a “mother-friendly” wellness model of maternity care.
- Making Our Milk Safe (MOMS)
Human breast milk contains vitamins, minerals, and antibodies in the perfect quantities for newborn babies; it also contains pesticides, solvents, perchlorate, plasticizers, flame retardants, and heavy metals. Four nursing mothers in the Bay Area founded MOMS in the Spring of 2005 with the mission of eliminating the toxic chemicals and industrial pollutants in human breast milk.
Seven hundred and fifty thousand mothers gathered on the National Mall in 2000 to promote tougher gun restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill, and children. Today in connection with the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, the Million Mom March continues that campaign.
According to MADD, there are two million drunk drivers on the road at any given time and more than 10,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes each year. Since 1980 MADD has been fighting to keep alcohol-and-drug-impaired drivers off the roads.
To find and support more organizations started by moms, check out the International Mothers Network, a global consortium of motherhood organizations.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there!
Do you belong to or support an organization formed by mothers? I’d love to hear about it.