Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No Mother Left Behind

A few months ago, I was asked to be a part of the awesome women over at Deep South Moms Blog, one of the regional blogs that comprise the well-knows Silicon Valley Moms Blog network. Due to personal circumstances, the SVMB groups will be ending. I was really lucky to be a part of it for such a brief time and I have learned so much from the wonderful women there. This post, and a few others to come, were originally posted over at DSMB.

J0439339 Last year, I wrote a whole string of posts about the “No Child Left Behind” Act", signed into law by President George W. Bush. Know what I learned from writing all those posts?

The general interwebz people who read mommy-blogs don’t find education topics quite as exciting as I do. Ditto for political topics. Who Put Me In Charge Of These People??? is not exactly the Huffington Post.

The whole reason I even broached the very controversial subject of No Child Left Behind was because I was sick and tired of not knowing all the facts. When the subject came up in adult conversation, I wanted to be able to speak and actually know what I was talking about. I mean, let’s face it: when do I, or you, ever have time to actually hear more than a 30-second sound byte on any news topic? When do we ever have time to really sink our teeth into the real stories behind the headlines?

Maybe the reason I don’t usually pay attention to politics or news is because nothing is straightforward anymore. Every time a politician speaks, acts, or votes, there are a dozen different reactions. All the talking heads slant their reaction to benefit their own point of view. How is a mom supposed to get an unbiased account of what’s going on?

I had to start somewhere, and I decided that since my children were at the age when NCLB would play a very real role in their education, I would start by finding out some answers on my own. I looked online. I went to the library. I spoke to the principal at my children’s school. I did my best to gather information from as many neutral resources as I could find.

The way I felt was nothing short of exhilarating. I hadn’t used my brain to acquire purposeful knowledge in so long that I felt like I was blowing out all the cobwebs and revving up my engines. I felt like I was being awoken again! I had many all-nighters in front of the computer while researching, typing out my thoughts, and forming rational opinions based on sound research.

I got to a point when I started to believe that I needed to explain to everyone else what NCLB is all about. I felt especially compelled to tell other moms about it. After all, what responsible mom WOULDN’T want to know all about it, right?

Then I realized: I wasn’t passionate about NCLB. I was passionate about waking up to adult topics and taking a break from Play-Doh and Elmo’s World. Suddenly, my Google searches no longer included the words “best stroller” or “chicken recipe” or “organizing tips”.

Nowadays, I’ve decided that I have to pick and choose what media bytes I get sucked into. Like anything else a busy mom does, it is a conscious choice to decide if I have time. Do I really care about all the details of Heidi Montag’s cosmetic surgeries? No. Do I have time to figure out all the confusing details about the National Healthcare Plan? No, but I should make time for that. Overall, I’ve learned something about myself: knowing all I can about the world around me helps me stay plugged into my family even more. By being a contributing citizen of my community and my country, I am shaping the world for my children and all who follow behind me. They aren’t just learning from my example, they are benefiting from my choices. And, what better legacy to leave behind?

This is an Original Deep South Moms Blog. Gretchen, a.k.a. Texan Mama, spends her days finding rogue singleton socks and tending to the dozen feet that wear those socks. She resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex with her husband, 5 children, and one dog (who doesn’t wear socks). In her spare time, she blogs at Who Put Me In Charge Of These People???

Texan Mama


Jennifer said...

Did you know the comment above mine is all upside down?

I liked this post over there and I like here. I didn't realize that all of the groups were going to close. I thought it was going to be just the one.

I Wonder Wye said...

Good post.

We all have moral responsibility as adults to put our big-girl panties on and explore and make rational, researched decisions about the issues that affect our lives, our children's, lives and our world.

misssrobin said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

I think this is a tough one. Yes, I could learn a lot. I could be more politically aware and active, but really how much time do I have. It's a tricky balance and I think it takes time and exploration to find mine. Good luck maintaining yours.

One thing I have definitely learned though, I never judge another person's involvement. I have no idea what's on their plate or how much they can take. Just because I get passionate about something doesn't mean they should.

Way to go with the using your brain thing!

cheekymama said...

Great post. Even in the midst of 'mummy brain' it's good to get those synapses firing every once in a while. But I find I tend to avoid news/current events just because it's usually so depressing or just plain terrifying that it's more than I can handle, while also dealing with small kids. Then whenever I do switch on the news it's like 'woah, the world is insane! I'm not letting my kids out there!'

Shame the SVMB group network is shutting down.

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