Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

aa haunted house1

This weekend we had a child to stay for a sleep-over and I am really a bit worn out and I wondered what we could offer in the way of fun things to do at our house. Because I can’t even get movies to play on the TV at the moment. And I don’t have the spare energy to figure it out nor the spare cash to pay someone else to figure it out.

But it was Anne Lamott who said something like you play to your strengths as a parent and this is what I’m good at… pulling unusual ideas out of my arse. So, I remembered an abandoned house I’d noticed on my morning walks and I asked the kids if they wanted to explore a haunted house and … bingo!

aa hautedhouse4

Doesn’t it look like something out of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road?

“Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.”

aa hauntedhouse8

aa hauntedhouse2

aa hauntedhouse7

aa hauntedhouse10

aa hauntedhouse3

aa hauntedhouse9

aa hauntedhouse6

aa hauntedhouse5

Back at my home..
I have exceptional taste, yes. I bought the arse tea cosy here.

aa arse

Last month my father came back to Australia and stayed with me for a week. He was exhausted on the first night and after he went to bed I stayed up and wrote my column at the kitchen table. The next night I was incredibly tired and he stayed up alone for the very sad task of writing his mother’s obituary.

He read that obituary at the funeral the following morning. His writing was beautiful. It was all about how accomplished and yet unappreciated his mother had been for her domestic talents. My column about being accountable one day to my children’s future therapist was published that same day, and in a way, I realised my father and I had both written about feminist motherhood.

Every time I look at my kitchen table now I remember how we both sat and wrote our words there, one night after the other.

aa roses

aa shadow

A doctor friend collects these little empty bottles from his surgery and gives them to me to use as tiny vases. Morphine and Ketamine can be the name of our hipster home decorating shop.

aa bottles

aa bottles2

 

Read Full Post »

Child neglect is filtered through a lens of bias that makes black mothers and poor mothers particularly vulnerable …all the more so when they parent in public space.

“In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.” – Anatole France.

For example.

“Mother jailed for letting her daughter run free – at the playground” by Brentin Mock in grist.

For the Harrell family, going to the playground is a luxury. The adults who could afford to be there that day assumed that her mother’s choice was irresponsible. Given the girl is black, they may have assumed worse: Mom’s a crackhead? Prostitute? Whatever the case, the child’s answer, that her mother was at work, was not good enough.

The adult who snitched Harrell out made another assumption: that parenting means around-the-clock supervision of children, and anything less is uncivilized. It’s those kind of gentry values that the creators of city public park systems were trying to avoid. They wanted a safe space accessible to people of all classes and backgrounds to enjoy recreation. Instead, in too many places it’s become a place where black and brown youth are made to feel they don’t belong — and certainly not without supervision.

For example.

“We’re arresting poor mothers for our own failures” by Bryce Covert in The Nation.

You’ve probably heard the name Shanesha Taylor at this point. She’s the Arizona mother who was arrested for leaving her children in the car while she went to a job interview. Her story went viral thanks likely to a truly heart-wrenching, tear-stained mugshot. Taylor, who was homeless, says her babysitter flaked on her and she didn’t know what else to do while she went to a job interview for a position that would have significantly improved her family’s financial situation.

For example.

“My son has been suspended 5 times. He’s 3″ by Tunette Powell in The Washington Post.

For example.

“Stolen Generation survivor had a long journey to love and care” by Martin Hoare in The Age.

 

 

Read Full Post »

my mama moved among the days
like a dreamwalker in the field
seemed like what she touched was hers
seemed like what touched her couldn’t hold,
she got us almost through the high grass
then seemed like she turned around and ran
right back in
right back on in

- Lucille Clifton

Read Full Post »

This is very black comedy and very, very sharp from Mallory Ortberg in The Toast. Yo, dependency is a thing.

Read Full Post »

I wrote this column in response to my editor asking me if parents like me, who write, worry about what my children’s future therapist will think about my parenting and articles:

One does not like to dwell on permanent damage inflicted by self on children while one is tending to the work and family juggle. But guilt, like a fear of the dark, is something I have discovered you can’t really afford as a single parent. Anything that must be dealt with alone in the middle of the night should really be rationalised away as a priority. I have stopped fearing parenting mistakes the way I once did.

Possibly that means I make them at double the speed, though I doubt it. My parenting has generally been considered and kind-hearted and it has probably finally acquired something resembling competence. Though notably, I am also not seeking perfectionism in my relationships these days, least of all with my children.

I have begun to see the pursuit of perfectionism as stifling, distancing, a removing of oneself from the messiness of connection. So, it’s not that I don’t make mistakes. I am certain I make many while attempting to avoid others, but it is that I have faith in myself and my children to deal with those mistakes as they become clear. Well, I very nearly have that kind of faith, anyway.

And I interviewed Courtney Adamo, the mother who was banned from Instagram for posting ‘semi-nude’ photos of her toddler in this column.

 

Read Full Post »

You talk about how boys lose authenticity over time, or become less authentic and more performative, taking on roles rather than expressing what they really feel directly. But isn’t it good for people to learn how to be less natural in some ways? Toilet training for example; you don’t want them to do the natural thing, right?

Absolutely; being socialized is not inherently problematic. Obviously we want to teach our kids to be appropriate so they’re not at a restaurant dancing naked on the table. You want to teach them to be savvy and strategic; you don’t want them to be vulnerable in every situation and then have that vulnerability taken advantage of. But it’s more that distinction between compromise and over-compromise, in which they’re so focused on setting up a particular image that they believe will get them what they want—acceptance and popularity and success—and realizing that that comes at a cost. And that cost comes when the fit between who they are and who they feel comfortable being doesn’t perfectly match society’s expectations, and they feel like, oh, I can’t show people this part of myself, because then they won’t like me.

That’s not to say that they need to be open and out there in every situation. But they need to have at least one place or one relationship where they can do those things.

From “How boys teach each other to be boys” in The Atlantic.

One way to do this is by teaching boys and men to cultivate empathy — and not just for one another. The violence prevention organization A Call to Men, for example, encourages boys and men to recognize and reject a culture of manhood that enables violence. Part of that involves actually talking to girls.

Societally, “we teach men to distance themselves from the experiences of women and girls,” said Tony Porter, one of the organization’s co-founders. Boys aren’t encouraged to befriend girls, he said. When they do, they are teased about romantic or homosexual implications. To encourage mutual respect, however, boys and girls must be allowed the space to form meaningful bonds.

A Call to Men conducts workshops — on football fields and in community centers — across the country. During these sessions, young men are encouraged to question traditional gender roles and challenge sexist and misogynist attitudes — often in the presence of women.

“As a society, the only emotion we allow boys to have is anger. We need a critical, purposeful conversation with our sons about their experiences. Doing this early on is very important,” Porter pointed out. “Once they turn 16 or 17, they become accustomed to not talking to us.”

From “The case for raising feminist men” in AlJazeera America.

Read Full Post »

My column is here:

What becomes apparent from all of these clothing determinations is that a girl’s body can’t just be. Rather, it is to be viewed and interpreted by us and sanctioned accordingly. Yet another recent news item reported a female student being sent home from school, after first being lectured in front of her class, for wearing shorts. As her mother subsequently pointed out – the denim shorts were neither torn nor worn low on her waist. There was nothing particularly suggestive about them and you can’t help think similar shorts worn by a boy student would likely be seen as quite sexless. But those bare female legs, even on a hot summer day, can be judged misbehavior.

Read Full Post »

More for my collection of photos here of women doing life while also breastfeeding. Love this one. (Thanks Laura for the link).

2D274906069997-today-black-women-do-breastfeed-140609-02.blocks_desktop_small

Of course the photo caused a stir in some places, of course.

Read Full Post »

For real..

Read Full Post »

Similarly, I entered motherhood the same year I completed an Honors B.A. in English and Women’s Studies. When I became a mother unexpectedly at the age of 23, in the final year of my degree, I reflected back on the courses I’d taken and realized I’d never had a single course in which motherhood was discussed in a thorough way—and this was in coursework leading to a degree in Women’s Studies. The few times motherhood was considered, the frame of reference was presented as either the “prison of domesticity” theme of late-nineteenth century literature or the “motherhood-as-patriarchal-trap” paradigm of early 1970s feminist thought. With the notable exception of a Canadian Women’s Writers course, none of my undergraduate courses included a maternal perspective on the women’s issues studied, nor did professors call attention to the absence of motherhood or position it as a worthy and deserving topic for feminist scholarly inquiry.

Two years later, I began my Ph.D. in English, giving birth to my second child four months later in December 1986, and my third child three years after that. At 28 years old, with three children born in five years, and the only mother in my Ph.D. program, I hungered for stories and theories by and about mothers and wondered, as did Di Brandt, “Where … were the mothers, symbolic or otherwise, whom I might have turned to in that moment of aloneness and desperation?” In 1991, I designed a third-year Women’s Studies course on motherhood to address and correct the silencing and marginalization of motherhood in academe; it was the first course on this topic in Canada. At that point, York University did not offer a single course on the subject of motherhood, despite hosting two large and successful Women’s Studies programs and a student population of 40,000.

I have taught this course now for over 20 years, and while it certainly has been important for the development of motherhood scholarship and my own survival as a mother scholar, I needed and longed for more. I still longed for a community to sustain and support the work I was doing, a place where I did not have to defend or justify my motherhood scholarship or my identity as a mother academic. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and so MIRCI and Demeter Press were born.

The amazing Professor Andrea O’Reilly interviewed in Literary Mama.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,324 other followers