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: