Viral: . I’ll Stop Being ‘Political’ When I Can Stop Fearing For My Kids’ Lives

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On December 14, 2012, 20 children were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Viral: . I’ll Stop Being ‘Political’ When I Can Stop Fearing For My Kids’ Lives

Since then, thousands more lives were lost to gun violence with 338 mass shootings occurring so far in 2017 alone. In the wake of Sandy Hook, many among us believed the loss of 20 first graders might be enough to affect real gun control.

However, we were wrong.

As mothers, we’re extremely tired. Tired of reading about innocent people being cut down in a matter of minutes and then going through the predictable path of thoughts and prayers and a call for action that certainly shall never comes. Then after a few months, we begin anew and resolve to change and insist on change that will never happens.

I’m tired of being a young mom with two beautiful children who should have been leading a happy life in “the greatest country on earth”, but instead, we lives with a bubbling undercurrent of hot panic every time I put them on the school bus because today could be The Day that an unstable man enters their school and starts shooting.

I’m tired of hearing my children’s sweet voices describing the active shooter drills that have now became common in elementary schools across the country. My children were taught it so that hopefully they can survive a massacre: they will have to stay in their darkened classroom and remain very quiet until The Man leaves. If he leaves. They know not to touch a gun if The Man sets one anywhere near them. They know to do exactly as their teacher says and to be so very still so they can hopefully come home to Mommy and Daddy.

Our children are being prepared for war, America. Is this really the great and patriotic nation we call home? A place where even our smallest and most innocent citizens could’t learn about addition and phonics without a lesson on dodging an evil man with semi-automatic weapons strapped to his chest every three months? Is this acceptable to those who protectively pat their guns while prattling on about second amendment rights?

You know what other right we have as Americans? A right to freakin’ live. And our laws allowing people to hoard guns, despite our children and fellow citizens being mass-murdered daily by sick individuals who easily obtain weapons thanks to those laws, which runs totally counter to that right.

What is great about a country full of frightened people? A country full of parents who can’t even promise their little child that they’ll come home from school safely each day. Who can’t take them to see a movie or a concert without wondering if they’ll be among the next list of names we’ll reverently discuss and write about on Facebook and pray for until the next tragedy steers our focus away from them by giving us a new list of names to mourn for.

Please come at me. Please tell me how politic have no place in this motherhood conversation. Please explain to me why we should move along and not give a damn about the actions of those heartless politicians beholden to gun lobbies, who make it sure that along with their rabid base, that evil lunatics are also able to obtain guns.

So many guns. All the guns possible, and silencers too. Please tell me why we should ignore all of this and discuss strollers and feeding schedules instead when our children’s lives are at stake.

“Whatcha thinking about, honey?”

I paused for just a minute, weighing the necessity of answering his question fully, versus offering my typical answer which would move the conversation along and keep everything comfortably casual.

“Nothing much, really,” I said.

Which was a lie.

So I added, “Wondering how the kids are doing at the grandparents.”

Which was less of a lie.

The truth is, like most mothers in this world, my brain is always spinning. Always. I couldn’t tell you what I was thinking about the very moment he checked in, but the five minutes before he asked?

That hamster wheel was moving particularly fast.

What was it?

Nothing. Everything. All the things in between…

I need to pick up a new box of contacts before we leave town on Monday. Did I overpay the babysitter last week? My daughter isn’t getting enough vegetables. I missed that writing deadline, again. Is this an anxiety issue? I should check in with my doctor…which reminds me, does my son need any vaccines? I should call the pediatrician anyway, pretty sure the preschool needs updated records. Did I register him for next year? Poor kid needs new clothes for school. He’s grown so much.

CRAP, the clothes. Forgot to switch the wash over to the dryer.

Note to self: Google recipes for baby-friendly veggies. Add to grocery list. Call doctor. Contact editor. Move wash to the dryer. But smell it first. May need rewashing…

Man, I miss my little boy. Can’t wait to pick him up from the grandparents. Hope he’s doing well today.

And that’s exactly what I offered when he asked: the tip of the iceberg.

Not because I can’t tell him these things — I absolutely can. He’s my best friend. He can take it. I didn’t tell him because, well…

This is mom brain. All the time. And apparently there’s even a name for it: the mental load.

It’s why so many of us feel so tired, despite the fact that “all we do” is stay at home. And for those of us who balance working outside the home too? My goodness, the idea is exhausting to me.

You’ve seen it happen. You see a mom friend, ask her how she’s doing, and she answers, “Tired.”

It’s not always sleep deprivation. Sometimes it is, but there’s something else, isn’t there? Something deeper. My husband comes home from work every day, and I want to lighten his load. So I ask how his day was because I care. And because I love him.

And always in the back of my mind, my hamster wheel is spinning.

Mothers, you get this, right?

Because if we don’t remember to switch the laundry over, who will? And if we don’t bother with the vegetables, well, the baby just won’t get any. And doctor’s appointments, prescription refills, vacation packing lists…

All on the invisible checklist inside our brain.

This is the mental load we all carry.

And I’m not saying it’s bad or that we need to do something to fix it. I don’t even know if we can.

But sometimes it’s just enough to acknowledge that, hey, this exists. This is a thing. There’s a reason we get tired even when we feel like nothing is getting done.

Because everything that hasn’t been done and everything that needs to be done is playing on loop in our heads — constantly.

Young mother making a cup of tea with her baby son on her shoulder

Mamas, you are incredible. You are freaking machines. You are that fancy, expensive glue that’s $20 a bottle because it holds heavy stuff together while staying completely invisible.

But maybe we don’t have to be. Maybe there is something we can do.

How about the next time a spouse, or friend, or family member asks, “What’s on your mind?” you tell them. Lighten the load. Even if just for a minute.

And if they look at you like you fell out of the Bonkers Tree and hit every branch on the way down, just reach out to another mama. Because mamas understand.

The burden might be invisible, but it is pretty damn heavy. So let’s be open and honest, and talk to each other.

Let us share the load.

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