Welcome to A Striving Parent

This is not your typical parenting blog. You will not find any advice nor any quick fixes to help you with your child(ren). Sorry folks, but I’m not an expert on much of anything. In fact, most of the aforementioned blogs just exacerbate my feelings that I’m failing at this parenting gig. What I hope you will find here is honest dialogue around my attempts at being a socially conscious individual as well as a socially conscious parent. In the vast array of parenting blogs, I’ve noticed a void in this arena and I need help. I need to find other like-minded parents who are in the trenches of parenthood, or as my husband refers to it, “the dog days of parenting”, but can no longer turn a blind eye to the array of horrors happening around us.

Before I go any further, I should state a few facts. I am a white, heterosexual woman who is married to a white man. We have two white children, ages 3 and 9 months and I currently stay at home. I believe that racism is systemic and pervasive in this country and that white privilege is not only real but I benefit from it daily. Before I had kids, I was an educator who worked with low-income, first generation students of color. While these are not the only facts that define who I am, I state these things because this particular personal context will influence the content of this blog, but my intention is to be inclusive to all parents and people for that matter who are interested in issues around social justice.

So what is this blog going to be about? If I’m being truthful, I’m not quite sure myself! But if you’re still reading, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you share my disgust with what’s happening in the world around us, in our own country, in our own city. Social media is forcing white, middle-class America to wake up. Atrocities are happening all around us and we’ve been able to keep blinders on and continue living our cushy, privileged lives with out a care in the world. But that reality is being obliterated and let’s be honest, it’s about time. People of color, especially black  people and Latinos, must be like, welcome to the party…you’re LATE.

The recent terrorist attack in Charleston caused me to look long and hard at myself in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. I saw an educated ally to the social justice movement doing nothing. And I mean it…Not. One. Thing. Yes, I’m raising children and yes, my intention is to raise them to be socially conscious…but what am I actively doing to achieve that goal? I’m going about my day-to-day life and not dealing, because I don’t have to. I’m letting my white privilege win because I have no idea how to help in a meaningful way. And I know I’m not alone. After the shootings in Charleston, I raised my voice on Facebook, the very least I could do, and have had several white women and men approach me, expressing disdain for the current state of affairs and every single one stated “But what can we do?”

That question, that very feeling of I care but there is no way for me to make a difference is what inspired me to start this blog. Hive mind is powerful, social media is powerful. Step 1 is to find my tribe, near and far. Step 2 is to get that tribe to follow this blog. Then, it is my hope to create a salon of sorts where we can share content; articles, personal stories, events, books that guide us on a path towards social consciousness as individuals and as parents. We are dynamic creatures, never fully actualized in my humble opinion, and even though I have more education around race, privilege and power than the average white person, like I said earlier I am by NO means an expert. I confront my own biases and prejudices daily and I want to create a forum where we can challenge ourselves and each other to be better and do better.

So to start, I’m simply creating space. Space for myself and others to stop sitting on the sidelines, stop feeling helpless and stop thinking there is nothing we can do that would make a difference. I want to hold myself accountable to do better. I want to learn about ways I can be an ally and be involved in the social justice movement while being a stay at home mom. I want to brainstorm, share ideas and strive towards a better reality for us and more importantly, for our children. I hope you will strive with me.

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9 thoughts on “Welcome to A Striving Parent

  1. Megan says:

    Shannon I’m so glad you are pursuing this. It’s honorable that you’re prioritizing it given all that life hands you on a daily basis! I know it must be hard to find the time. That said, I’ve been feeling a lot of the same recently. It’s so easy to be angry when the news is in your face. But what about our daily interactions with marginalized groups? I don’t have a clue where to start, but I agree that bringing the conversation to the forefront is a great start. We don’t even have exposure to the black communities in SF – because they are isolated from the privileged areas like Noe. Keep me posted on your progress and i look forward to reading more and talking about it with you.

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    1. strivingshannon says:

      Megan! My first comment! Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and for your comment. Sometimes I think we (meaning white folks) get overwhelmed with the very idea of how to start and what to do. I know I have been writing and building content for this blog, for instance, for nearly a month before I finally was like…enough! Time to start publishing and see what happens. And even though we now live in Atlanta, which is definitely more racially diverse than SF it is still very segregated. We live in a nearly all white neighborhood, our preschool is almost all white, etc. I think it’s a great question on how can we as white people build community with people of color in a genuine way. I definitely don’t have the answer, but we try to frequent parks that are more diverse than just the park down the block from us. A tiny, small thing, but at least the kids are exposed to people who look different from them?

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  2. charisgrandma says:

    Hi Shannon – Edie’s friend Linda here – she sent me the link to your blog. I’m in the trying to be a conscious grandparent stage, wanting to teach these precious children about compassion, looking for small ways that we can serve together. And, of course, always the books. I hope you’ve been to Charis to browse the children’s books and spoken to Sara or Angela or Elizabeth about what Charis has to offer in diversity and consciousness for our youngest ones. I look forward to your explorations.

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    1. strivingshannon says:

      Hi Linda! Thanks for reading the blog and for your comment. I’m actually in the midst of revamping my childrens’ book collection so will certainly lean on Charis for ideas and at the very least, give them my business. I appreciate your readership and future participation on the blog.

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      1. strivingshannon says:

        Absolutely! Parenting is so much a part of my life right now (and I guess…forever?!) that I can’t really disassociate myself. But all are welcome and I am excited for your participation.

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