Cradle and all

The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.

William Ross Wallace

The wind blew hard last week.

Minnesota might be the only state in the country where it is possible, in March, to have a tornado touch down one day and a full-on blizzard the next. Last Sunday, it was 64 degrees when I left the Cities. By Tuesday, the snow was blowing sideways past my window and the wind chill temps were below zero. Come ON, Minnesota. Get it together.

Last week, thousands of women all over the country went on strike for a day, but their demonstration wasn’t tied to any particular profession or labor union. I joined a union back in the early 1980’s when it was essential, as a student teacher, to have that million dollars of liability insurance that was required before any student teacher was allowed to set foot in a classroom full of middle school students with undeveloped regions of their brains.

Thankfully, I came through my student teaching experience never needing that insurance policy and as a union member, I have never had to strike. Actually, the only strike I was ever a part of was self-imposed. It happened when my own kids were in middle school. They probably don’t remember The Week Mom Stopped Doing Everything.  I don’t remember what drove me to it.  Like most moms of teenagers, it probably had a lot to do with the fact that I was feeling unappreciated by the snotty adolescents I lived with. All I know is that I took a stand and made my demands known. Every mom of teens has her limits; I must have reached mine.

For a week, I fed only myself. I cleaned up only after myself. I did only my own laundry. Each morning, I went to my paying job where people actually appreciated me. Each evening, I came home and relaxed. I pleasantly answered direct questions posed of me like “What’s for dinner?” with a shrug and a gently reminder that I was on strike. Once my demand that everyone get a freaking clue had been met, I went back to work. There was once again food in the fridge and peace in the kingdom. At least, that’s how I remember it.

My family may remember this differently. For one thing, I probably yelled a lot more than I think I did. There may, or may not have been, tears involved. Maybe I gave up after a a couple of days because I couldn’t stand the mess. Who knows? Life gets blurry sometimes.

This month is set aside as Women’s History Month. Women throughout the country are making their own voices heard loudly and clearly. In March, strong winds get noticed. Tornado warnings have a way of getting people to duck and cover. Roads get ice-y darn fast in a storm.

Women do, too.

And then, sometimes they strike or even march.  In March.


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