This Mother's Day many of us will celebrate who we are, what we've done, how we've mothered. This holiday, while also and sadly commercially manufactured into another avenue for production and consumption is also a good time for reflection in the past and also for how we want to embrace our mothering in the future.
I am the mother who advocates for affordable housing. Of all the gifts I can give my daughter, besides love and affection and safety and fun and adventure the greatest gift I can give her is awareness. Awareness that not everyone has the same life as she does and that there are things we can do to fix it.
My child has the opportunity to spend a lot of time at shelters and housing programs. She's played with children who sleep in the streets or in abandoned buildings or on the floor. She's shared meals with children who haven't eaten regularly in days or weeks or sometimes months. And every time without fail, she will ask me why. Why doesn't she have a place to live? How long can she live with you? How does she sleep in such a big room? How does he get new toys? And from that place, she begins to think of solutions. Maybe I can give him my blankets. Maybe we should give our food to them. Maybe they can find a home today. Her awareness is soaring but it's a sad sort of flight, one that means she'll witness the suffering without knowing how to truly reconcile it.
When thirteen million children (1 in 6 kids) live in poverty in America and child poverty on the rise since 2000, this is reality she will have to face. When 1 million of these children are without a home in a given year and homeless families are the fastest growing segment of homelessness in the US today and it is mainly attributed to the lack of affordable housing and the fact that rents continue to skyrocket while wages do not all leads me to believe this crisis is not going to be resolved anytime soon.
But it doesn't have to be this way. It is unacceptable that we have not prioritized raising minimum wages and creating affordable housing. John Edwards had a plan to end poverty nationally within 30 years but since he's left the race we've lost our advocate and without committed leadership at the highest levels of office we will never be able to end one of the most horrible social ills in our generation. Without addressing these basic needs our communities will not be able to thrive and that ultimately affects all of us.
So on Mother's Day and on every day I promise to keep dreaming about a country where every child has a safe place to sleep and food in their bellies. Because this is the future I wish for my child, the one where all of her friends can know the same basic rights as she does.
Crossposted at MOMocrats where we are dreaming about many, many important things today.