How do you rage against a machine that your children love?
When I was younger I was very much into making a difference and changing the world. I volunteered, raised money and awareness for causes, and raged against the machine. Then I hit 21 and forgot about changing the world and just wanted to have enough change for dollar draft night. The world went on and I became focused on myself. Sure I still wanted to make a difference, I became a teacher, but I wasn’t as politically involved as I was when I was younger. Then I had three kids and now I find myself focusing back on changing the world that my kids are growing up in.
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an activist, but I’m certainly not a simple bystander. I read up on issues, sign petitions, share things I consider to be politically important on Facebook, and I even attended my state’s rally against the war on women last month with all three kids in tow. My husband and I also try to support local and organic businesses and avoid businesses that we feel go against our political beliefs or practice unfair work ethics. However, right now, I see myself as a mom first, before everything else, and that means making my children’s happiness a top priority. This is a problem because some of the places I should idealistically be boycotting are some of my children’s favorite places. For instance, I love Chick-Fil-A’s value of family, but I don’t agree with the owner of the company’s view or treatment of gays. Without getting all political, I simply believe that everyone has a right to the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, not just macho, rich, white men. Plus I have three boys and am very aware that one could be gay and I want him to still be able to be in a loving family with a spouse and child if he wishes, because like any mother, I just want my children to be happy. Right now though, my boys love Chick-Fil-A and it is so much better than McDonalds when it comes to the occasional fast food splurge. I am also not a fan of Wal-Mart’s business practices or their treatment of their employees. However, they do have super low prices on shoes and clothes, so when I need an extra set of either to send to school, it is a great place to find these things for a one income family on a budget.
So I often times find myself conflicted with my renewed idealistic values and sense of activism versus the needs or wants of my family. What I’ve had to come to realize though, despite all my desire to change the world, is, sometimes you’ve just got to patronize a store you might not politically agree with for the sake of your kids’ happiness and your own sanity. After all, there aren’t that many places a mom of three on a budget can go on a 115 degree summer day and allow her kids to run wild for a few hours after enjoying a not completely unnutritous fast food lunch. I’ll just have to find a more kid friendly way to rage against the machine for now.