Right after we had our first daughter, I struggled with postpartum anxiety. My mind would constantly spin, I couldn’t sleep, and I was miserable in a job I didn’t love. I started going to therapy, and my therapist told me (among other things) to stop watching the news.
At first I laughed. But as I started thinking about the way I felt after scrolling my newsfeed or catching up on what was going on in the world, it not only made my anxiety worse, but left me upset for days.
Today? I couldn’t escape being inundated with terrible news even if I tried. Everyday there’s something. A horrific tragedy. Injustice. Senseless acts of violence. A mother who lost a child. A child who lost a parent. One person blaming another person. Refusal to listen to one another. Anger. Fear. Devastation.
When will this stop?
Now that I’m a mom, these actions are even more terrifying. They are inexplainable, inexcusable, and something I don’t want for this world, our children’s world.
All I know is, I want better.
We all want better, right? We want to provide more opportunity and a better life than we have ourselves. Our parents and their parents before them wanted the same things. But to want better means we have to be better. To be better listeners, to be better advocates, to be informed and aware. This means we must choose compassion, acceptance, and respect. If we want better for our children, we must accept that we are responsible. It’s up to us to stop placing blame and polarizing our communities, listen to those we may disagree with, take a stand for those who feel unheard, and lead by example.
My heart is broken. It’s broken for Dallas, St. Paul, and Baton Rouge. It’s broken for the seemingly never-ending news that more blood has been shed. It’s broken because my children are growing up in a world with so much hate. It’s broken because even though it is completely obvious we have a problem, I feel completely helpless.
My mom engrained a simple, yet powerful, lesson within me that I hope to pass along to my children. And that lesson is to always choose kindness. My mom has dedicated her life to others through social work and has treated every person she’s ever met the same. She sees no socioeconomic status, she sees no skin color. She truly sees love and consistently chooses kindness for the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill.
I want my children to choose kindness and joy, even when life isn’t fair. I want them to love others, befriend those who have none, and stand up for those who are treated unfairly.
I want better for the families who have lost.
I want better for those who feel they have no voice.
I want better for those who serve to protect.
I want better for our divided communities.
I want better for our country.
I want better for my children.
I want better.
And if I want better, I have to be better. Because there are always little eyes watching.