Activism hacks and a practical worksheet for busy moms
The Women’s March on January 21, 2017, made clear that many millions of moms are worried about the impact of the Trump presidency. For the global citizens shocked into action for the first time, it felt good to march knowing that all around the world, a movement based on tolerance and love had emerged to say, “Enough is enough.”
And, as it turns out, we had good reason to march: since taking office, Donald Trump’s xenophobia and malignant narcissism have been on vivid display in his actions, words, and executive orders. As mothers and stewards of the next generation, many of us feel threatened and scared—about our health care, our kids’ schools, the environment, our human rights and religious beliefs, our status in this country, our right to make decisions about our bodies—the list goes on and on. Most of all, we worry about our children and their future.
In fact, postelection, anxiety has swelled the numbers of Americans who are sleepless, depressed, self-medicating, and rushing in droves to their local counselors and therapists. One therapist mused about President Trump, “He says he’s the jobs president—well, he certainly is for me and my fellow therapists.” Many others have coined a new term: Trump Anxiety Disorder. Washington, DC, therapist Elisabeth LaMotte told Canada’s CBC News that many of her patients have “a collective anxiety,” that they feel “on edge about how potentially dire the president’s decisions could be.”
As the overburdened caregivers of the old and young, and as the lesser-paid sex, moms with a strong moral conscience must now plow forward, do what’s right, and make sure we don’t collapse under the weight of our obligations. We see you, moms: we feel your fear, know your struggle, and want to help.
It’s been said that nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action. So, here are some activist hacks and a downloadable “cheat sheet” that we hope will make it just a little bit easier for you to resist. We thank you for your activism. Stay safe and strong.
1. Write postcards to elected officials, and call them to express your concerns and demand action:
- Find your senators.
- Find your representative in the House: 202-224-3121.
- Find your state’s governor and your state senator and representative.
- Check out the website 5 Calls for added inspiration.
2. Put your thoughts on Twitter using hashtags, such as:
3. Read “rogue” alternative Twitter accounts that appear to be run by government workers expressing their views:
4. Remember why we marched! The news is often upsetting. Be careful not to drown in negativity! Gather strength and inspiration from these amazing women:
- Sophie Cruz
- Nina Mariah
- Gloria Steinem
- DC mayor Muriel Bowser
- Angela Davis
- Alicia Keys
- Janelle Monae
5. Sign online petitions such as these in a matter of seconds:
- Trump should release his tax returns
- Impeach Trump
- Stop hate
- Stop Trump
- Reunite immigrant families
- Protect endangered species
6. Use apps that link you to collective action and activism.
8. Remember to laugh. Decompression is important. Check out these video clips and articles:
- Stephen Colbert
- Trevor Noah
- Samantha Bee
- John Oliver
- “My Facts Are Bigger and Better Than Your Facts”
- “Bad Lip Reading” of the inauguration
- Interviews with Trump supporters
- Saturday Night Live Trump press conference
9. Monitor your Facebook use.
- Start a dialogue on your feed that supports your beliefs while opening doors for others to participate.
- Check news sources such as News and Guts and NPR for unbiased information.
- Join groups such as Pantsuit Nation that can connect you to others with shared beliefs, mobilize around actions, and make you feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself.
10. Join action groups that have local meetings and volunteer.
- Sign up for local events with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).
- Check the Democratic National Committee website for local meetings and petitions.
- MomsRising has a great website that highlights concerns that pertain to mothers.
- The Indivisible Guide can connect you to action groups in your area.
- The Human Rights Campaign also posts action groups and ways to become involved.
- TogetherList offers volunteer opportunities with a wide range of organizations.
12. Calm your anxiety. It’s challenging to think clearly and act when besieged by anxiety. Research shows that the more attention you pay to things that are out of your control, the more out of control you feel. You can’t control Trump, but you can control your exposure to him. Limit the amount of time you listen to him on the radio and watch him on TV, and don’t tune in before bedtime. And, because anxiety is contagious, step away from social media whenever you feel the need. When anxious, take a walk, preferably in nature: it’s proven to reduce the physiological responses associated with stress. If you’re still anxious, here are 50 Strategies to Beat Anxiety. Now, breathe!
13. Practice mindfulness. The simple act of meditation and deep breathing can promote relaxation and health. Check out this list of guided meditation resources from UCLA.
14. Connect with friends and coworkers. Don’t throw a blanket over your head in despair. Feeling supported decreases stress and increases productivity. Social support, such as helping others or supporting an employee under stress, has been proven to be mood-enhancing and will allow you to work together more effectively. The same goes for activism. Make it fun by working together and inspiring each other. Organize a group to make calls and signs, write postcards, or send emails. Check out SolidaritySundays.org to meet neighbors and take action.
15. Wrap your arms around your child. Hugs are soothing and inspirational! They remind you of why our activism is so important and that love always trumps hate.
Finally, we offer a big thank-you to all the moms who inspire us every day with their love for their children and their country. It’s a precarious moment in history, but together, we can make it “her-story” instead of his. We can do this!
We’d love for you to join our closed Facebook group ESME Collective Action, where we provide a place to vent and inspire one another.
Editor’s note: this article was updated on 10/14/18.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.