Using My Mom Voice
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been a “talker”. My teachers across all grade levels reminded me to either use my indoor voice, or not use my voice at all. My parent conferences always sounded something like this:
“Your daughter is excelling in all academic areas, but one thing she needs to improve on is talking too much during class.”
So, naturally, when given an opportunity to engage in conversations, I’m open to it. A couple of weeks ago, MomsRising gave me an amazing opportunity to take part of the ECE Coalition Lobby Day in Sacramento. This was my very first time engaging something like this. I’ve always been on the teaching and coaching side of education, but never on the policy side, so this was uncharted waters for me.
While the trip was quick, it was definitely one for the books. Initially, I wasn’t nervous — not an ounce of nerves, which is odd considering that I had no idea what I was doing. I figured that it wouldn’t be too bad since I’ve done workshops with over 100 attendees, and I am comfortable speaking in public. I’ve got this!
It wasn’t until I sat in the Sandbox (the flexible work space that the ECE Coalition gathered at), in a room full of experts that my nerves got the best of me. We had lawyers, directors, and policy makers fill the conference room. Everyone in that room had previous experience and does this work for a living. Here I was, a Language Arts Specialist at a small K-8 school district, about to talk with senators and assembly members. How was I going to talk through this?
I’m not sure if my nervousness was visible, but Donna (MomsRising Campaign Director in CA) assured me that I could just observe for today, and do whatever I was most comfortable with doing. There was a game plan, and I was just going to follow along the best that I could. I thought to myself, “Don’t talk this time Marysol, just a short intro and a ‘thank you’ will suffice.”
We went into our first meeting, which was a drop-in at my district senator’s office. As Donna started the meeting off, I sat there and listened. I nodded in agreement, but suddenly the “talker” in me came out and I chimed in. I spoke about my experience raising children in CA, and my experience as an educator. I spoke my heartfelt truth. It may not have been perfect but I used my mom voice, and I was heard.
When I walked out of that first meeting, I felt a rush of adrenaline run through me. I used that energy and went through the day, chiming in whenever it seemed fit. Nine meetings later, and I made it through my first (and hopefully not my last) lobby day.
On my plane ride home, two things resonated in my mind:
- The power of a mother’s voice is strong
- Speak from the heart and speak your truth and you will be heard
While I second-guessed myself at the beginning of my day, I came out feeling empowered and motivated to continue the work. It re-affirmed my belief that moms are a powerful force that can create change, even if it’s a ripple. However, if every mom, every parent, and every caregiver, used their voice to create ripples, we could create waves of change.
I’m thankful to my husband and family, and to MomsRising for giving me the opportunity to use my mom voice.