• Christina Hughes


So many of my thoughts lately seem to scream “just one more day,” “you can do it,” “one foot in front of the other” that I feel like I am just trudging through an unpleasant, predictable, and at times, unwanted nightmare. This is never what I thought my life would be.

I wake up in the morning after far too little sleep, caffeinate myself, and if it is a good morning, poop before my son’s wail signals another day, or my toddler barges in to watch me during a bodily function I never thought I’d have such a consistent audience for, only to demand my ever-impressive skills of operating the remote for tv time.

It has been an especially tedious and medically challenging few months in our household coupled with an unusual few years of pandemic living, remote work, and social uprising, I cannot seem to decide if this is my new normal and subsequentially my forever parenting experience or if this really is a special cosmic decade of “fuck you.”

I watched my parents raise me and my friends’ parents raise them, I nannied all throughout high school and college, and all those experiences of parenting just did not seem so daunting. I find myself asking my parenting friends “Is it always going to be this hard?” and each time they answer, “I think so.” my heart breaks just a little.

Do I regret having children? Sometimes. Should I have brought these little innocent souls into this rotten, corrupt nation floating on a dying planet? Probably not.

But I have always wanted a family and I would never choose to do it differently. I love them harder and more deeply than I thought possible. I have always wanted to emulate what I had growing up – a loving mom and dad, kids playing in the backyard, and memories of happy times and joyous milestones. How did my vision of parenting get so rose colored? Was it different when I was a kid? Or did I just not know? How did I end up here, feeling so defeated, jaded, skeptical of my abilities and doubting the ability of any human to be honest, decent, vulnerable, and selfless enough to see the mistakes we have made, the harm we have caused, and correct our course?

Like many people, the days after a mass shooting, especially a school shooting in which so many children are lost, I’ve experienced a lot of contemplation, rage, sadness, grief, desire for change and for action, promises to do more, and a deep appreciation that I am not one of those parents who doesn’t have their baby anymore.

These are moments when our collective grief is so strong, it hangs thick and dense in the air like fog. It is when social media accounts and news articles buzz with demands for change and insightful and poetic posts surface. It is when we call out one party or another for their role in gun violence. It is when we usually blame mental health or Black and Brown bodies for the problem. It is when the people directly in charge of these laws send thoughts and prayers instead of enacting policy change. It is when parents so overwhelmed and burnt-out, question both why we brought life into a world like this, and how we can complain about our precious tiny humans when others’ babies are being murdered.

For those not immediately affected, it is also when we sign up for a couple email lists or give a few dollars and then go right back to our lives. The problem feels big; we feel small and powerless. The capitalistic, productivity-obsessed world we are a part of demands that regardless of the tragedies we experience, the pain we suffer, the fact that the world is burning around us, we must keep being the cogs in the machine– making money for old white dudes who do not care and deem us replaceable.

I do not have the answers and honestly, I am fucking tired. Yes, I am so grateful my family is still whole AND the daily demands of work, raising children, maintaining relationships (barely), educating, and healing myself, taking care of my physical body, and sleeping (ha!) do not leave me feeling like I have a whole lot of anything left to give. And if I feel this way in a white body with so many privileged identities and access, I can only imagine how heavy the addition weight feels for Black, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and single parents out there.

I know what reform and laws change the trajectory for our country and I see little evidence anything will change unless individuals stop thinking they are small and powerless. Because while individually we are quiet, together a collective voice can roar.

And while I do not know exactly how to solve this problem, I can support the organizations that fight tirelessly to propose and implement the solutions we need to #endgunvoilence.

Here are some things you can do right now to become a part of that collective voice and contribute to the goal of ending gun violence:

  1. Contact your local city council, state representatives, legislators and thank them for supporting measures that help end gun violence or email them and challenge them to do more. This article is older but has straightforward steps to follow.

  2. Donate directly to the GoFundMe pages of the victims and their families

  3. Donate to organizations that work tirelessly to end gun violence: Moms Demand Action,Sandy Hook Promise, Everytown, Giffords, The Brady Campaign

  4. Find local chapters of these organizations and volunteer

  5. Find out who in your local government are gun sense candidates -

Other resources and information:

Key Facts About Americans and Guns

Americans largely support gun restrictions -

4 types of legislation widely supported-

NRA supported Republicans-

National Gun Violence Awareness Day-

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