I Don’t Know How to Parent in This World

I Don't Know How to Parent in This World | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo Credit: Sarah Hudson Photography}

The words were highlighted by a red border. I clicked on the article and fell down a rabbit hole, witness to the sick and twisted world in which I am raising my children.

The words detailed rape, vulgarity, stolen innocence.

She is real. This is real.

This isn’t a character on Special Victims Unit. This is a real woman who was raped and her story resonates with many women who heartbreakingly say, “Me too.”

The Brock Turner rape case is a slap in our face of the rape culture that is alive and thriving in the world that we are raising our girls and boys.

A thriving rape culture.

This is happening the same time our country has a woman presidential candidate.

This is happening the same time my daughter graduated Kindergarten.

This is our world. Our reality for women and the children we are raising.

We talk out of both sides of our mouth. Girls, you can dream big, you can achieve anything. But know this, rape culture is alive and well.

I don’t know how to parent in this world.

When I read the victim’s words I was sick to my stomach and heartbroken. And then I was furious.

You are a thief. You stole joy, innocence and life. You believe you took what was yours and find no fault in your actions because you live in a world where you know no boundaries.

The victim is nameless but not without identity. She is real. My friends who have told me their own assault stories are real. The women who haven’t figured out how to tell their stories are real. The women who blame themselves, who were told to stay silent, who were unsure of exactly what happened to their bodies, the women who have to turn off their television and phones because the heightened media brings back their own nightmares. They are all real.

Right now as a mom, I’m left scared that I’m raising a boy and a girl in a world in which rape culture is part of our world. I just can’t live in fear. With each article I read about this case and with each new friend’s brave confession that this happened to them, I need to feel like there is something I can do. But I feel helpless and consumed by a world that is so ugly if I focus on it long enough.

I don’t know how to parent in this world.

It feels heavy trying to parent in a world where I am helpless to the ugliness that appears everywhere. And the ugliness keeps appearing. It is real. When I was growing up as a girl in Minnesota, kids and parents were equally fearful of growing up and raising their kids because of the kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling. Now, as a mom, the news stories of abuse, kidnappings, sexual assaults and mass shootings leave me feeling like I don’t know how to parent in this world, but I’m also terrified of the real-life monsters.

The reality is that I’m not “just a mom.” Yes, I have a big job. Yes, I doubt my ability to parent in a world that is so awful at times. However, I will fight for my kids and fight fiercely that their strength and confidence is balanced with their love and respect for others.

My call now is to commit to raising my children to be the bicyclists in this most recent horrible story because they too are real.

Stand tall as a leader.

Call out injustice.

Fight for the vulnerable.

Chase down evil.

These are the real-life superheroes, not the fake ones stenciled on my child’s birthday cake.

With every tragedy, these “bicyclists” emerge. It is a mindful shift to focus on the good versus evil. This Fred Rogers quote is relevant and reassuring, “My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in this world.”

I want my children to see someone hurt and ask, “Are you okay?” I want them to live and breathe compassion and see beyond their own self. I want them to own and respect their own bodies, minds and hearts. And to hold that same respect for others. I want to teach them that standing up, not sitting on the sidelines when our morals and values are most challenged is what in the end, matters the most.

This is the heroism and humanism I hope for my children and yours. I want their heart to flow with courage, kindness, respect and confidence. I want them to choose bravery and stand up, call out and fight for others.

I want them to be the bicyclists. This is how I’m learning to parent in this world.

I Don't Know How to Parent in This World | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo Credit: Sarah Hudson Photography}

Alice Seuffert
Alice is the creator of Dining with Alice where she shares creative comfort food recipes and conversations about motherhood. She is a television cook known for her easy and creative recipes and appears on Twin Cities Live and has also appeared on the Rachael Ray show. Alice is the author of Freezer Meals for Moms a book filled with freezer-friendly meals. Alice has also been recognized for her writing on body image, marriage and motherhood and has been featured on national parenting web pages including Scary Mommy. Alice works outside the home at a Twin Cities nonprofit organization as an education researcher and advocate at the state legislature. Alice’s favorite and most important role is mom and wife. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or sign up for her Email Newsletter for all of her recipes and posts about motherhood and Minnesota.



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