Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I've had a lovely Mother's Day weekend. Yesterday, I went to Toronto, all by myself! There's a month-long photography festival going on, so I checked out a couple of exhibitions and went to a lecture/slide show by a photojournalist. I will post more about that when I get a chance at peripheral vision. While I was in the Big Smoke, I stopped at a Starbuck's for a snack, and picked up a section of the Toronto Star. The Ideas section was all about mothers, and I thought the section's cover story made an interesting counterpoint to the recent Globe and Mail article about mommyblogging, which I only got around to reading last week. Yesterday's story was all about the recent trend of people to write about their horrible mothers, especially when their mothers were themselves in the public arena.

So that seems to me to be the whole solution to the mommy blogging conundrum. If writing about your kids fucks them up, they'll probably get they're own back later when they write about you. If that doesn't keep you reasonable, I don't know what will.

These articles also speak to me about the growing interest in the sort of last literary frontier: personal lives. And it seems fitting that motherhood is the first up to bat. More than a year ago, Mad got all thinky, even thinkier than usual.

She said, among other things: "In our wake, we are leaving a dense trail of information: the minutiae of our daily lives, early biographies of our children (who will all be famous one day), theories on life, motherhood, art and politics. Stories of emotional and physical survival. Conversations. Treatises. You name it. We have taken the seemingly mundane--what many (not me) would call the idle prattle of play group--and turned it into an evolving, documented record of what it was like to be a mother in the early years of the 21st Century. And yes, I will strongly state the caveat here that we are primarily white, middle-class, urban, women in the West."

If you haven't read Mad's posts before, go do it now. Anyways, I didn't have time to read the whole section, so I stole it, because I didn't want to buy the whole Saturday Star just for a 10-page section. I was thinking of the trees.

On a similar vein, I finished Between Interruptions: 30 Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and I loved it. I loved the plurality of voices, which felt a lot like the blogosphere. I had only two reservations: one, there wasn't more representation from the blogosphere (only one blogger's essay was included), and two, the discussions of careers seemed very skewed towards women with crazy jobs like war correspondents or high-flying fashion editors who spend their days at work and their nights at fashion events. Since it's a collection of essays, I suppose it's kind of a necessary bias (to have writers) but including more bloggers could have addressed that. (Actually, I'd love to be involved in pulling together a collection of essays by mommy bloggers, but I don't know the first thing about it... anyone else interested in a project like that?)

Every time I read a book, I intend to blog a proper review. I dog-ear pages where a phrase punches me in the gut or thrills me with its total rightness. And then I get to the empty blog post box and clam up, the only thing coming to mind either I liked it or I didn't. In this case, I totally recommend the book, especially because it's 100% Canadian content, so for those Canadianaphiles out there, I think you'd quite enjoy it.

A couple of weeks ago, I came out to a coworker. I've actually come out to a couple, but they generally visit the blog once, skim a post or two and never come back. Which is fine, but a bit disappointing. So you can imagine my gratification when this coworker started mining my archives. Then I started to get scared. There are a couple of posts in there that I'd really prefer not to have around my workplace. If you've been reading me for a long time you can probably figure out which ones. I know I could unpublish them but that feels hypocritical, and I feel like put them out there for a reason and I really just have to live with it.

Anyways, she emailed me last week saying that although she was really enjoying my blog (yippee!), reading some posts made her feel like she shouldn't be in there. I figured she must have been talking about those other posts, so I said something like I was a little uncomfortable but I put that stuff out there for a reason so it was up to her to decide if she was comfortable knowing too much information about a coworker.

Later, I began to wonder which posts made her feel that way, if maybe they were different posts. By the next day I was dying of curiosity. So I asked her. It was my motherhood posts where I talk, among other things, about my insecurities as a mother. Oh jeez, I said, I've got no problem with my insecurities. No, it's almost a political thing for me to talk about my insecurities as a mother, because I think all mothers feel them from time to time. It's such a crap shoot - we can never know for sure if we're making the right decisions, not even if our kids turn out 'perfect' because you can't know if that's just the kid or if it's you. Plus, mothering is fucking hard, and that's not recognized or valued very much in our culture.

I may not get much recognition from my culture, but I get tons from my family, and that's where it really matters. I felt so spoiled yesterday, driving off on my own adventure with a bunch of cds and a warm blue sky, and coming home to a new bouquet of flowers on the dining room table.

I have also been utterly spoiled by Swee'pea's daycare. Check out the gifts I got:

may11 127

may11 137


Mommy C said...

I say, "why shouldn't we blog?" We, as mothers, do shape the future, after all. Anyway, I have actually been thinking about a mommy blog book for the past two days. I'd be glad to get involved in a project. Especially one about real moms. And as for your little one being upset the other day about not going to daycare, it isn't that he prefers daycare to you. He is two and the world will come to an end if his routines are not exact. At that age, they find so much comfort and security in routine. It sounds to me like you are an awesome mom! I've known you a long time and you've always put a lot of try in everything you do. I can tell from your writing that your parenting is the same way. Don't hold yourself back from enjoying your career. Having a happy mom who excels at what she does, is extremely important for our children. Anyway, happy mother's day!!!

Mimi said...

Hey Cin -- I forgot about those posts of Mad's-- thanks for the reminder! I'm going out to buy that book tomorrow. Happy mother's day to me!

Sometimes I think about telling people about my blog, but then, no. It is kinda weird what people find controversial, isn't it?

jen said...

i still haven't been able to tell anyone. i get close, and then i shut myself up.

that book!

Janet said...

I think a collection of essays by bloggers would make a fabulous book. I may be a little biased, though. ;)

Before I ventured out into visitng and commenting in the larger blogosphere, I told friends and family about my blog. Word has spread and a lot of people who actually know me now read my words(though they rarely comment; I wonder why that is?). The other day my best friend's neighbour saw me and told me that she reads my blog regularly and I immediately felt exposed and weird about that fact.

Your Mother's Day sounds wonderful! A solitary day away to play, hooray!*

*This comment was sponsored by Dr. Seuss.

Elizabeth said...

This was a wonderful post. I'm not a mommy (yet) but I still connected with what you were saying and I think mommy bloggers should absolutely unite and publish a collection! (What a lovely Mother's Day, by the way. Glad you had a day to yourself.)

Jennifer said...

Most of my "real life" friends know about my blog -- and many read it regularly. My parents read it as do my siblings. In some ways, on some days, I can feel uncomfortable. But more than that, sometimes I just feel...narcissistic. Who cares what I have to say about every. damn. thing.?? But then I think...oh, well. *grin*

I loved what Mad had to say -- and what you had to say as well.

Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day with your little sweetheart!

Sue Fisher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mad said...

Hey! I got a jewelry box too. It has now been repossessed by a certain little whirling dervish of ego but, really, it's the gesture that counts, right?

Thanks for linking to those posts. I remember that the comment discussions were hot and happenin' with those ones. BTW, I loved you when you said this:

"So that seems to me to be the whole solution to the mommy blogging conundrum. If writing about your kids fucks them up, they'll probably get they're own back later when they write about you. If that doesn't keep you reasonable, I don't know what will."

So simple. So to the point.

cinnamon gurl said...

Ha ha, Mad, I only wish I'd used the right their. ;)

Lisa b said...

Those are lovely gifts.
I am, but should not be, surprised your coworker thought that being honest about how hard it is to be a mother crossed a line. That again shows why writing about it is so important.

Beck said...

It's funny, because I'm a very angsty, nervy sort of person, but I'm pretty relaxed as a mother AND as a blogger. SOMETHING I do will screw 'em up sooner or later, and this way I get to have some fun in the meantime.

womaninawindow said...

Hey, I've been here before. I came again via Mad and yes, she's right, you do give good photo! And blogging I think gives and takes stregth and time. It's all about balance and personal choice. Good for you for keeping firm with what you've published. Archives can be scarey!

Kyla said...

I always forget that Swee'pea has a real name, but I just love it to pieces. It is really perfect for him.

Mad rocks.

And I loves being called a Canadianaphile. LOL. I'll have to check that book out this month while I'm between semesters!

monkey said...

i'm new to this blogging world. i started mine when i got pregnant as a way to keep friends and family updated and it's turned into so much more. i'm just now getting comfortable with talking, REALLY talking about things that matter to me in the blog and i've noticed that i don't tell everyone about the blog. there are certain family members that don't even know i have a blog because i know that would limit my honesty.
more to the point, i've been fantasizing in my head about a book that compiles my favorite posts from different blogs i regularly read. basically your same idea, just in my head. then there would be book tours where staged readings are done throughout north america full of catered regional cuisine, local artists hocking their wares for charity and live music.
could we make this happen? do you think? all proceeds from the book could go to a designated charity. you've got me thinking.
oh, hello, by the way. i found you through a series of links and have been reading you for a bit now :-)

nomotherearth said...

Hey - that book is next up in my Book Club. I was going to ditch it in favour of some other books I have on the go, but with your recommendation, maybe I'll check it out!

I love that paragraph of Mad's - thanks for reminding me about it.