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Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

Last year, my previous employer threw a very thoughtful, generous appreciation dinner for our creative leadership team. The dinner was scheduled for 6:30pm on a weeknight. I’m a single mom living in downtown Boston, which meant that I’d have to arrange for a sitter from about 6pm-midnight at $20/hour. Add in some Tasty Burger for my son and the sitter, her tip and Uber home, and this appreciation dinner was going to end up costing me about $200.

So when I received the invite, I couldn’t just check my calendar and accept or decline: I had to have an internal debate with myself about the pros and cons of going and what this dinner would cost me.

Was this dinner worth $200?

I relate to this so much from my days as a single mother. Dawn Bavasso’s “Expense policies are a woman’s problem” in the Medium. 

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I love this photo collection featured in The Huffington Post from the “Sham of the perfect”.

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Photographer: Natasha Kelly.

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Photographer: Kym Vitar.

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Writing and children, particularly the toddler variety, are often seen as a bad combination, and in many ways this is true. There is the sleep deprivation, the lack of space, and the ‘million other things’ to do. But for the writer – be it of fiction, poetry or journalism, or in my case, all three – there are unexpected revelations. Your perspective changes – and while at first it may seem much has receded into the unreachable distance – there are, if you remain open to them, new stories and depths of understanding and empathy to tap into. My most recent essay in The Monthly, The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Julia the Gorilla, would never have been written if not for the excursions I took to the Melbourne Zoo with my boys. The essay was such an effortless pleasure to write, the story so extraordinary that Longform.org picked it up and it is now being translated into Spanish for the Mexican publication, Letras Libres.

It is as though my height has been altered, and from this different eye-level, I can see underneath things, stories previously hidden, tucked tight into shells.

On writing as a mother by Anna Krien in Writing Queensland.

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This beautifully crafted and argued essay by Zadie Smith in The New York Review of Books, “Fences: A Brexit Diary”..

The tall, narrow Victorian house I bought fifteen years ago, though it is exactly the same kind of house my middle-class friends owned when I was growing up, is now worth an obscene amount of money, and I worried that she might think I had actually paid that obscene amount of money to own it. The distance between her flat and my house—though it is, in reality, only two hundred yards—is, in symbol, further than it has ever been. Our prospective playdate lay somewhere over this chasm, and never happened, as I never dared ask for it.

Extreme inequality fractures communities, and after a while the cracks gape so wide the whole edifice comes tumbling down. In this process everybody has been losing for some time, but perhaps no one quite as much as the white working classes who really have nothing, not even the perceived moral elevation that comes with acknowledged trauma or recognized victimhood. The left is thoroughly ashamed of them. The right sees them only as a useful tool for its own personal ambitions. This inconvenient working-class revolution we are now witnessing has been accused of stupidity—I cursed it myself the day it happened—but the longer you look at it, you realize that in another sense it has the touch of genius, for it intuited the weaknesses of its enemies and effectively exploited them. The middle-class left so delights in being right! And so much of the disenfranchised working class has chosen to be flagrantly, shamelessly wrong.

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There is the Instagram version of my life and then there is the version recorded by my 7 yr old mad keen photographer son who photographs you unexpectedly everywhere and who has no idea about flattering and unflattering.

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This is wonderful.

From Michele A’Court’s “Stop saying dumb shit, and other top tips for all the Kevins of the world” in The Spinoff. 

And why should you want to do all this? Because, just like you said, there are all these “talented, creative females” who spend a decade absorbing all that institutional knowledge, getting all that experience, who could go further and do more. And, let’s be honest, you’re tired of shouldering it all. And you drink too much and work too hard and miss out on the kids growing up and get depressed and have heart attacks and die earlier. Or you end up saying stupid things in interviews near the end of your career, and all anyone will say when they hear your name is, “Kevin?  Wasn’t he that guy who said women can’t be leaders?” and it won’t be an entirely accurate encapsulation of what you said but still, it’ll be what they say.

And that’s a tragedy, too.

 

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