A day in the life of a political activist and single dad who spends 20-hour work days travelling the country but always flies back home to his son

  • Maurice Mitchell balances his two full-time jobs: being the national director of the Working Families Party and a father.
  • To be present in his son’s life, Mitchell sacrifices sleep and stability for constant plane rides back and forth from San Diego to New York City.
  • Mitchell wakes up at around 4 a.m. every day and works until 11 p.m.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Maurice Mitchell works two full-time jobs: He’s the national director for the Working Families Party, a grassroots group that advocates for progressive causes, and he cares for his 3-year-old son.

Balancing fatherhood and leading a political party means Mitchell typically travels the country on 20-hour work days, sleeping on planes and in Ubers multiple days a week.

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But being a father is why Mitchell works a hectic schedule in the first place. Mitchell gets help raising his son during travel from his son’s mum (who lives separately) and nanny. While he misses his son on the road, he believes actively fighting against climate change will allow his child to inherit a better planet.

“It’s a pretty intense schedule, but I think the road and the requirements of the job are super intense, and I actually think it’s a blessing I have the duty of parenthood to anchor me and bring me back home,” Mitchell told Business Insider. “Ultimately, what connects me to my purpose is my relationship to [my son]. That’s why I go so hard in the field.”

Here’s a day in the life of a community organiser and political-party leader who balances full-time fatherhood and travelling the country.

Maurice Mitchell requested Business Insider not use his son’s name.

The 39-year-old party leader began actively organising communities while at Howard University — and he also performed in political punk-rock bands.


Mitchell said he began organising after police shot Prince Jones, a classmate of his at Howard University.

Mitchell went on to become a leader in the Movement for Black Lives after cofounding Blackbird, a strategic support and guidance platform for activists and groups that are part of the movement. Mitchell created the platform shortly after travelling to Ferguson, Missouri, to protest Michael Brown‘s killing, a police-shooting death in 2014 that helped spur the Black Lives Matter movement.

For a few years, Mitchell was also the lead vocalist of the hardcore band Cipher, which released several demos and EPs, and performed in the 2014 Afropunk Fest.

As the national director of the Working Families Party, he manages dozens of staff in 14 state offices. He said the bulk of his work involves creating a supportive, harmonious environment for all WFP employees.

Mitchell talks to women hoping to become campaign managers. Courtesy of Maurice Mitchell

The Working Families Party is a grassroots political party that works to elect progressive candidates for office. The party also advocates for progressive policies, such as a higher minimum wage and solutions for climate change.

Mitchell, who did not work with WFP previously, took over for former national director Dan Cantor in 2018.

Having offices in over a dozen states requires Mitchell to constantly be travelling. He has to find ways to balance time in San Diego (where his son lives) and campaigning for progressive causes across the country.

Mitchell canvassing for Stacey Abrams during her campaign for Georgia governor. Courtesy of Maurice Mitchell

Mitchell says he has two full-time jobs: being a father and a party leader. When he’s at home in San Diego, the bulk of his day is spent with his son.


After waking up around 4 a.m., Mitchell spends the first hour of his day off his phone. He spends at least 10 minutes on meditation, about half an hour working out, and the final minutes reflecting on the day ahead.


Mitchell picks up his son from his mum’s house around 5 a.m. and plays with his little one until 11 a.m. He makes his son breakfast, typically consisting of bananas and oatmeal.


Following breakfast, Mitchell and his son go to a coffee shop. His son plays as he takes calls for work.


After playing a little bit more outside the house, Mitchell puts his son to bed for a nap at 11 a.m. From that time until 1:30 p.m., he takes more calls for work.


Mitchell cooks lunch for his son after the nap. Mitchell is vegan, and he’s raising his son as a vegetarian. The toddler’s favourite foods are tofu, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.


The two spend the rest of the day playing and visiting nearby museums.

After putting his son to bed, Mitchell eats his first meal of the day. The party director fasts for 20 hours and gets all his calories during the evening. He continues to work until about 11 p.m.


When he has to travel, he usually drops his son off at his mum’s house in the evening before leaving for a 10 p.m. red-eye flight.


Mitchell says he sleeps mainly on planes and in Ubers when he’s on the road. He’s typically making a five-hour flight from San Diego to New York, where the WFP is headquartered.


He tries to get his daily meditation in during car rides.

When he’s on the road, Mitchell spends his days meetings with other staff members, canvassing for candidates, attending parties, hosting panels, giving speeches, and talking to the press.

Mitchell attends a goodbye party for someone he recruited to WFP. Allana Akhtar for Business Insider

He tries to keep in contact with his son over FaceTime but admits he finds parenting while on the road challenging: “It’s really sad when I’ve been on the road for several days and I come back and can tell he’s different.”


But Mitchell says his son is also the reason he works so hard. He fights for progressive policies, such as climate change, to leave the world a better place for him.

Mitchell talks to community members affiliated with WFP. Courtesy of Maurice Mitchell

“It’s a very interesting puzzle because I’m on the road because of him,” Mitchell said. “But it keeps me away from him. I’m so very passionate, I’m convinced that if all of us don’t do more to save our planet and disrupt the craziness taking place in our politics, our children won’t have a country or a planet to inherit.”

Mitchell also hopes being a working dad encourages other fathers to make time for childcare while at their full-time jobs.


“Society is designed around this idea that reproductive labour is women’s work,” Mitchell said. “One of the reasons why my schedule is so crazy is my commitment to being a present parent. I do pretty wacky things logistically so I can show up as a parent.”