I totally chickened out of bringing my daughter to Women’s March on Washington. My stepson’s mama will be watching both of our children. She’s a hero like so many that might want to participate but are staying back with a gaggle of neighbor kids. Grandma, Daddy, Auntie- doing their part quite bigly from the sofa with a cartoon!
I am hearing about teenage Annie Rose in DC, my friend’s youngest who will be watching all the neighbor kids alongside her dad.
I am hearing about the dad on my block staying home with the babies.
I am hearing about the preschool teachers opening the school for Saturday daycare!
I am energized by this kind of important unseen activism! It is a women’s march and women are still usually the primary caregivers in our society. How are we all supposed to show up in record numbers and stay for the whole shebang when generally the toddlers are refusing to a) leave the house b) put on a jacket c) walk for more than two blocks? Send this article to your caregiver for Saturday to thank them!
I did plan on bringing my 6-year-old. I wanted her to be able to say she had been there! I had an idealized daydream of women with children on their hips, marching toward a better world (and possibly to overthrow the government) In my dream it was a peaceful overthrow of the government, because you can dream anything. Then I started to ask myself if that notion included using children as a shield a lá “Don’t hurt me, I have a child.” And then I realized that the mindset I am protesting against does not actually care about my children at all,
The mindset I am protesting against voted to take health care away from children. The mindset I am protesting against would rather raise the rate of both abortion and maternal death by taking away easy access to contraception and abortion. Don’t hurt women and children is not exactly the platform of the Republican Party. And yet, I still support every person who is choosing to bring their child to the march. I don’t believe in shielding children from the truth, I believe in including them. The kind of things we are marching about involve their futures. And for those of us white folk who participate with Black Lives Matter in our hearts and on our signs, the idea of letting our kids sit out the possible danger has us feeling our privilege deeply. It has been an incredibly difficult decision.
If I were still breastfeeding, it would be an easier decision. If you are breastfeeding like so many of my friends and clients, you and the baby are one and that baby will be at that march in a carrier in a jacket meant for carriers or a jacket two sizes too big for you! The alternative, since you the guidelines say you can bring a breast pump in a plastic bag but you really won’t have room for that, is to leave baby home with a caregiver and bottle and whip out your boob for a nice hand expression session as it is a feminist march after all. That’s what I hope to see at the march! That whole women’s boobs are obscene and men’s aren’t is BS so squeeze ’em ladies. More on the Women’s March on Washington with babies here
It turns out I am just staying in my home city for the sister rally (because I also chickened out of driving in 5 plus hours of traffic to DC with one kid and without my spouse to help with car whining and backseat snack delivery) I felt better about my decision when I read the size of the clear bag we were allowed to bring to rallies- not enough to fit food and water for two of us for the day while walking -as my kiddo can eat an entire refrigerator in an afternoon. Not to mention, my partner in parenting thought both kids were best left with someone at home and quite frankly I am grateful to have had another person weigh in on this decision. I was a single mom until recently and didn’t have that childcare or that extra decision making help. I don’t think I will regret leaving both kids home the way I might if I brought either of them with. We are so lucky to have family as child care. I’ll be involving them in helping us make a beautiful colorful sign and telling them about where we are going and what we are doing!
Caregivers might not show up for everyone. Maybe in order to go you need to bring the kids, maybe you just WANT to bring them! If so:
Here is the Facebook group via the march organizers for parents bringing kids! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1864386127130497/
If you are bringing your babies to the Women’s March on Washington, You can make a clear shoulder bag with doubled-up large ziplock, punch a hole in top of each side, tie a rope/thick string on each side and make a cross shoulder bag. Extra preparedness is key! Don’t listen to the news fear-mongering what could happen, just listen to seasoned activists telling you how to be safe and prepared.
- My essential 3 B’s: band-aids, benadryl, baby wipes
- Small snacks like protein bars, fruit snacks, cheese
- Water in light weight containers.
- Make sure the adults and kids are in their most comfy shoes and somewhat waterproof if there is rain expected. I bought new light weight waterproof hiking boots for this.
- Write your numbers and emergency contact number on your child’s arm with sharpie. Yes even for hippies like me who would never otherwise want that chemical stuff leaking into their sweet little skin.
- Bring a small travel potty if you are bringing a diaper bag and bags to poop and pee in anywhere! Borrow one if you have to, ask all your friends! Potty will be the biggest challenge and as a potty coach it is one of my top concerns about marching with kids.
- Bring some small activity toys that are ok to get lost. crayons and note pad, bubbles or a few markers that they can color all over themselves with just this once.
- It is respectful to prep your children for what is ahead, Let them know what the timing of the day will look like, let them know it will be very crowded with people, let them know it may sometimes be very loud, tell them what to do in case of separation or emergency.
See you at the march!
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