Life as a working mum with small kids is busy, all-consuming, Nearly all of my nurturing world-changing energy is now focused on my children. That leaves little for my husband, and even less for myself. And as for the wider world…?
In those moments when I allow myself to acknowledge just a tiny piece of the horror of other people’s suffering, I quickly move on. Syria, Iraq, Africa, India, I can’t bear to stay with it for long. It’s too uncomfortable to really inhabit truths like ‘One million children are dying due to malnutrition every year”. Even writing it down, it makes no sense to me. It is beyond comprehension.
I can support campaigns by clicking an email, signing a petition, sharing a link, sponsoring a friend, or making a quick electronic donation. I can run from the pain of true empathy. I can keep the guilt at my own good fortune at bay. But I wonder, could I, should I, do more…?
It was a different story in my youth. Setting up the local youth CND and protesting at Greenham Common. Marching marching marching for causes I believed in. But the sound of my whistle and my drum faded as the marches became more futile. Cuts to health and eduction that went ahead anyway. Huge numbers of us marching against a war. Ignored.
Our Mama Activism series this month has made me realise how much less ‘active’ in the wider world I am these days. It’s not that I’ve become cynical or that I don’t care. In fact, as a mother, I care more. I feel more deeply the horror of family loss, of war and hunger.
But I feel mostly powerless to make a difference. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of tragedies unfolding every day. Lost as to a valuable way to respond.
The simple Craftivism Jigsaw Project that we’re sharing at story of mum this month has caught my imagination. Crafters from all over the world are uniting in sewing messages of positive change onto fabric jigsaw pieces. To show the world that we are each a piece of the solution, and we care enough to sew it.
Along with the wonderful guest posts we have shared so far, this campaign has reawoken my desire to change the world in a more conscious way. Maybe because it’s creative, beautiful, simple, visual, different. Maybe because it’s the kind of thing I like to try anyway. Maybe because my kids are finally in their own room and it’s the right time to step up again. Time to step into that ‘What do we want?” voice that I’ve let go quiet. Time to pick up that whistle and that drum and a needle and some thread.
Will the #impiece campaign make David Cameron address world poverty and hunger during his 2013 G8 presidency? Will a huge jigsaw of hand sewn messages from people from all over the world really make him sit up and act? I don’t know. I hope so, I really really hope so. I hope we can make a difference to the lives of suffering families worldwide. And that we can demonstrate the value of positive action to our own children.
Perhaps the biggest irony for me right now - is that as of this moment, the piece I so carefully sewed has gone missing, ferreted away somewhere by the fair hand of my two year old daughter, who likes delivering things randomly around the house. She can't remember where it is. My four year old son, who loved the idea of my single piece connecting up with all these other pieces to help children who had no food, has searched the house with me trying to find it. We haven't yet, and tomorrow is the last day for us all to send our pieces to the Craftivist Collective. This mama activism? Fraught with challenges...!
But even if I don't find my #imapiece, I made it. I meant it. And if the world of politics fails us again, and our actions go unheeded? This campaign is still a success.
Because it has reminded me of that passionate 14 year old I used to be. It has shown my son how much I want to change the world and how our actions can make a difference. And it has reminded me how good it feels to make a stand.
Did taking part make you feel this way too? What if this simple campaign relit a passion in all of us taking part? And in those mums who watched, who wanted to take part but whose kids, for now, got in the way...? What a difference we could make. What a difference we will make.
So let’s make together. To make a difference. I’m a piece.
And please sign Save the Children’s Race Against Hunger campaign petition.
We talked about Mama Activism at our last #somum Make Date.
You might also like these other fab posts in our Mama Activism series:
Activate Mama Bloggers (about Team HONK and Red Nose Day)