I am noticing a pattern in my conversations with mothers. There is residual grief, exhaustion, anxiety & burnout from what we have collectively experienced over the last 2+ years starting with the pandemic that is far from over, the debate over abortion rights, systemic racism, gun violence, & climate crisis are all heartbreaking macro events that rightfully take up our headspace. 

I have connected with many mothers who want to be a part of the solution, and contribute in a meaningful way but they is one resounding sigh – we are tired, exhausted & just getting through each day with work, parenting, and running the household leaves very little to volunteer, advocate or contribute in other ways. 

I am writing this to normalize the overwhelm you are feeling. You are not doing something wrong if the weight of the world feels heavy yet a part of you wants to contribute.

Here are 5 ways that can be helpful as you find ways to make time & energy for the myriad problems calling at us right now…

1) Acknowledge: Your overwhelm with your own day-to-day is valid. Your longing to be a part of the solution is beautiful. Your exhaustion, confusion, & grief are normal for this season. Take a moment & acknowledge all of your big feelings.

2) Nourish: Before you can be of service to others, you need to befriend yourself. If you are unable to take even a few minutes a day to ground yourself in whatever feels right (e.g. – movement), there will be less capacity to contribute so start with filling up your own cup.  

3) Prioritize: There are too many problems that need our attention & you can’t solve everything on top of a full-time job. Don’t even try, you are human & are not setting yourself up for success by trying to do everything. Pick something that feels meaningful & know that even a $10 donation, a few calls or letters to the senator, or volunteering for an hour makes a difference. Many small acts ultimately add up. Start somewhere, you are not committing for life & you can always pivot as needed.  

4) Remove Guilt: You may feel guilty to take another hour away from your family but let’s explore a way to reframe this. Can you volunteer with them & make this a way to demonstrate your family values? Can you tell them why you step away for an hour certain evenings & what you are doing in that time?

5) Re-Evaluate: The powerful thing about parenting & working is that things change – children grow & their needs evolve, family routines shift & there are seasons in all that we do. Perhaps you could only devote an hour a quarter but now have more time or are feeling more called to contribute to a different cause. You have permission to change your mind! 

If this post spoke to you, I’d highly recommend the book The Lightmaker’s Manifesto: How to Work for Change without Losing Your Joy. What are you feeling called to contribute to & how are you making space in a full season with work & family to make it all work?

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