The Mama Bear in this fight
Breastfeeding in a high-collared maxi-dress is probably best done in private or by someone braver than me. Much of my first go at wearing a dress everyday in December was spent nursing my then 3 month old and the dresses in my closet were styled in such a way that made nursing a real pain. I know breastfeeding is kind of a pain no matter what you’re wearing, but there’s something about hiking a floor-length dress up to your neck while sitting on the sofa with supportive pillows piled up around you that just feels a little… awkward. Thankfully I didn’t have too many obligations that took me out of our small apartment, so that first Dressember was mostly experienced and documented from the comfort of my living/dining room while holding my sweet baby girl (who just turned four, by the way)!
We have a two-and-a-half year old son, too, who magically decided to potty train himself a month ago (I know y’all were liking me up until now…) and I find myself in a new season of motherhood—one without stinky diapers sitting for too long in various trash cans throughout the house. This is a sweet spot, for sure, but as my children gain independence, I can’t help but feel anxious for their safety and well-being. That’s the gist of motherhood, isn’t it? Selfless grit, deep breaths, letting go when you’re not ready and a rush of anxiety that pushes us towards hope in goodness, mercy and the kindness of strangers. I do believe this world is full of light, beauty and truth, but due largely to my awareness of human trafficking, I know it is also full of darkness, depravity and greed. How do I raise my children to be secure and cautious, but also brave and hospitable? Surely, this tension is felt by caring parents around the globe.
"As my children gain independence, I can’t help but feel anxious for their safety and well-being. That’s the gist of motherhood, isn’t it? Selfless grit, deep breaths, letting go when you’re not ready and a rush of anxiety that pushes us towards hope in goodness, mercy and the kindness of strangers."
Right now my children are at home with me and the worst that will happen to them today is their loving-but-tired mommy will yell at them before nap time and then apologize afterwards. I can confidently say that my children will not endure the horrors that many children around the world are enduring. Just thinking about this makes me emotional. You too? I mean...they’re children. Many of the one’s we’re fighting for are children. Some as young as four or six years old, raped multiple times a day, recorded on screens without their clothes, forced to catch fish or make bricks or beg for money. Manipulated by the greedy grown ups in their lives, they see no example of grace or true love. It’s heart-breaking for everyone, but something about being a mother makes this reality all but unbearable.
What is it about motherhood that encourages us towards an advocacy campaign like Dressember? It certainly isn’t the challenge of wearing a dress while breastfeeding our babies, chasing around our toddlers, carpooling the neighborhood kids, working our many jobs or running our half-marathons. No, it’s the transformation that took place when we first held our own babies in our arms, no matter how old they were when they became ours. Suddenly, this life we live is no longer centered on us. Suddenly, we find in our hearts a fierceness that would fight anyone who tried to abuse our little ones. And suddenly, when we see other babies taken and sold to the highest bidder, we can tolerate it no longer. We must act. The greatest thing about Dressember is that all of us can participate in the rescue of those babies trapped in slavery no matter what stage of parenting we find ourselves in—all by the simple act of wearing a dress.
About the Author
Allyss Flores is finally a grown up, having turned 30 this year. She is grateful that now, thanks to Dressember, she can fight for justice every December regardless of her life circumstance. Aside from advocating and telling stories, Allyss loves to raise her two small children with her husband deep in the heart of Texas.