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Archive for the ‘mothering’ Category

It is no small thing to talk about the child who made me a mother at age 24.

Isaac’s cries, his coos, his giggles, his feet plumping up, taking one tentative step then another- these were the things that ushered in my adulthood. They were the soundtrack playing while I became more patient, a bit stronger, more selfless and a bit more myself.

These days I am reminded of Isaac’s toddlerhood (not the tantrums or the sobbing, mostly) but the incredible deliciousness of discovering his apartness from me and the novelty getting to see him from a far. I remember noticing his growth- how large he would seem in my mother’s arms, or at the top of a slide. I remembering him returning to me more himself than before with a satisfied grin and sturdier legs – a being who owned his space in the world.

These years will be more of the same. I am proud to be your mother- the one you can leave and return to as more and more of yourself. You are funny, you are kind. You are smart. You have more thoughts at one than most people I know. You are fiercely independent and helpful at the same time. You are a loyal friend, brother and son.

When you were born, the nurses put you on my chest and my first words were struggling ones- words I know now are the very essence of young motherhood trying to integrate the pure body experience of pregnancy with the reality of a needy,wet human in her arms. I said, “Is that you? Is that you? Is that who you are?”

Every day since day that you have told me, “Yes.”

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After a post went up from a Babble blogger that shamed mothers who breastfeed without a nursing cover, and piece over at Slate that indicated the simplest way for us to move forward as women in society would be for lactivists to care less and the market to over better nursing covers, I was invited to write a guest post for Annie at PhD in Parenting. I hope you will visit me over there and join our conversation about misogyny, the female body, judgments and the mommy wars.

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Look! I already played along with this version of Good Mother/Bad Mother in May 2007. It turns out I have nothing more to add, except this: thank God for The Onion.

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“Well, once you get away from all the hype and the media frenzy, it turns out, that I’m holding it together just fine,” Karen, an area mother with three boys, a full time job, had a moment of clarity yesterday. She was interviewed between loads of laundry, work phone calls and kids’ nap times, all of which she seemed not to notice that much. “Just recently,” she added, “I’ve been stepping back and bit and re-examining my priorities. Truly, being a good mother is very important to me, which is why I’m so successful at it.” She nods with a smile towards her oldest child. Speaking in full sentences, getting himself dressed, showered and brushing is own teeth are just the bottom of the barrel accomplishments for her about to be 8 year old son. “He also is very nice, funny and plays viola and baseball. I remember thinking he’d always throw a fit when we left a friend’s house. Now he smiles, hugs them and says “bye.” We’ve come along way since he was two.” What Karen is not saying is that so many of these skills are really all because of her. She signed him up for viola and baseball. She taught him to say “bye” to friends. She taught him to brush his teeth.
“I don’t mean to brag, but they’re not being raised by wolves, ya know?” Karen looked hopefully at her younger two offspring. The far away look in her eye dreaming of the accomplished about to be 8 years olds they too would become. “I used to worry a lot more and compare myself to other moms, but I’m done with that now. We go outside when we want; I’m not a bad mother because I won’t take them out it to play in the rain. And if I do take them out to play in the rain, it’ll be because I want to, not because the neighbors are doing it. They get some “screen time,” but not too much. They have scheduled activities, but not too many. I cook healthy food, but allow treats. And when we have birthday cake, it’s the good stuff. I kinda like the way I’m running this ship and I think my kids like it too. No more advice from talk shows or parenting magazines…I’m the mommy. Everywhere I look, experts and observers are trying to get me to sign my name in blood to their particular parenting technique. My kids are so different, each one of them is consuming a different part of my creative parenting strategies. I actually amaze myself that I have such an enormous capacity to give. Just when I think I can’t give any more, I’m replenished and can keep on loving ’em.”

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Okay other good mommies out there play along; visit Rebecca and tell her so, or write your on post and let her- and the rest of us – know!

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