Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tattooed Mom & The Board of Education

You may have remembered me saying last week {when said gig taking care of my "little ward" had ended}, that everything happened for a reason + that often when one door closes, a window opens. Time and again, these little sayings prove themselves true, as was the case just last week when a "better-than-aquaintance" mama friend of mine said that they {she, her husband + some existing BOE members} were thinking on candidates to run for the upcomming Board of Education election and that my name had came up as "a really good potential candidate". You could have knocked me over with a feather! While this particular mama friend of mine is one of those Salt of the Earth, nicest people you could know, she is also "one of the most popular girls in school". To think that she and her husband, who have been so involved in our school system + politics in general esteemed me enough to offer me their encouragement + support to run for the BOE; to say I was flattered would be an understatement!

Last year our state took a huge hit when it came to fiancial budget cuts in our school systems. While the situation caused me to be more inquisitive about the goings on in our little school, I had never entertained the thought of running for any kind of political position. However the more I thought about it, the more I realized that between my education {advanced degrees}, work experience, my current job as a college professor, having invested in this town as a homeowner + raising my 3 littles here...well, perhaps I DID have something to offer after all! I realized running for + serving on the BOE would be a most wonderful opportunity to "give back" to a community that means so much to me. That's right, even when small town living can have a girl feeling a wee bit claustrophibic, there is nowhere else I would rather be!

This is exactly the type of situation where you suddenly wake up one day and wonder when exactly it was that you turned into a "Real Grown-up"? This also happens to be a great illustration of what I have hinted at when I've talked about living an individual + authenic existence in a somewhat traditional {if nothing else upper/upper middle class} small town which isn't always easy...especially when your "authentic individuality" is tattooed all over your body! Every so often you run into a situation like this one, where perhaps it would be more more advantagious to not have tattoos... or maybe not...but one can't help the thought comming to mind. However I believe that progress requires bravery. You see, I've always wanted to be one of those people who broke stereotypes others have about "what kind of people" wear tattoos. It wasn't that long ago that women + other "minority groups" weren't even allowed to vote at all...I'd like to think that as a country we are continuing to learn that prejudices get us nowhere fast. This experience has been a huge wake up call for me; could it be that perhaps times really are a changin' + that body art might not be as much of an issue as it once was? Or does it just depend on who is wearing it + how that person carries themselves? Or perhaps tattoos are still taboo, but there are some people, like my pals who encouraged me to run for the BOE who refused to make my body art a factor in my qualifications to run for a Board seat? Or maybe this experience was just a big old Brava! for me; that I must be doing something right + that people are concerned a whole lot more with who I really am {and hopefully who others are aswell} rather than just what is on the outside? Today I am thinking that perhaps that window I had mentioned opening earlier was the window of opportunity: to have a bit more flexibility in my schedule, to try out for something new where I feel I am recognized for the good things that I do + to be involved in processes where it seems my opinion is valued. I'll tell you, while I won't know for over a month what the outcome of this election will be, I couldn't feel more like a success right at this moment.



  1. As a fellow tattooed mommy, this post makes me so happy! In my experience, tattoos are no longer taboo. Mine are large and in charge, and people are simply curious. And I love it. I love that people will strike up a conversation with me to ask about my tattoos. Whether it's little ole Granny or Mr. Corporate America or one of the little girls my daughter goes to school with (I love your tattoos! - so sweet), tattoos are not seen as an extension of the person you are, no longer a label.

    Of course that's just in my little area of the world.

    Good luck, Chickie! You're braver than me. All that work and trust in what you do would have me running for the hills. Too much responsibility makes me jittery.

  2. Good for you! I've thought about running for school board, but my kids are still a bit too small for that kind of commitment. Also, I loved your post about "little ward". In fact, I made reference to your blog about it in a post I'm working on about being a foster parent. Its not done yet...maybe by the end of today.

    Have a great day,

  3. @Leah Marie

    Oh, I hear you, the ages of the littles can have a big impact on what a mama can sign on for! BUt it is great that your not ruling it out for a "one day", either! I agree and think it is great to be able to give back to the community adn be involved with your kiddos school and whatnot.

    And I'll be sure to check in on that other post you are workin on!

  4. As a mama who also has covered school board meetings for 11 years (!) for our local weekly newspaper, I can tell you with ABSOLUTE certainty that what school boards need-- particularly in this time of tough budgets and lots of mandates-- is members who are thoughtful, educated, and intentional. Hurray for your district-- how LUCKY they will be to have you (but yes, it is a lot of work, a lot of policy reading, and a lot of tough stuff). Make sure your kids know your time away at meetings etc. is all because you believe in giving them-- and all the other children in your area-- the best opportunities to foster a love of learning!


I would love to hear your thoughts...especially if they are nice! So post away friends, post away!