An occasional series of unflinching commentary by Abby Arnold
Is the "hot moms movement" a sign of progress?
At first glance, the MILF phenomenon seems pretty liberating. But is it possible that the hot mom craze is just another way to make women who are not "hot," or don't feel "hot," feel lousy about it?
By Kathleen Furin
Suddenly every act seemed, potentially, to be the last time such an act would be carried out; every conversation, perhaps the last conversation. America was under siege; we were no longer immune, nested here between the oceans. We had been called to task: the next phase of history had begun.
By Jampa Williams
I try to explain to people why I only want one child. I start to discuss what a traumatic childbirth entails, what postpartum depression is and what it can do to a family. Even the most sympathetic shoulder usually ends up telling me that I will forget the pain and the fear will go away.
By Carter-Ann Mahdavi
Knock me out!
When I handed my two page birth plan to the nurse, she almost looked amused. She knew what I didn't, that the only thing that ever goes "according to plan" during childbirth is that a baby is coming, and that it hurts like hell.
By Laura Owens
Life in a female body involves surrender to years of biophysical processes over which we have little or no personal control. Now, just as my three daughters become ripely adolescent, I am hitting my own hormonal stride. Or is that slide...? Yeah, definitely sliding.
By Dina Stander
Girl + Bat = happy
For Christmas, Sophia asked for and received Batman on a motorcycle, Batman on a glider, a Batmobile that shoots disks, Batman pajamas, a Batman ornament, and a Batman fleece blanket. It all seemed such magical, wonderful, glowing evidence that one small family can hold its own against the Disney Princess machine.
By Monica Crumback
I have a few complaints to lodge against the mainstream parenting magazine industry.
By Erica Etelson
He gets/she gets
We negotiate schedules and chores with general good humor. But will there ever come a time when we won't be keeping an internal tally, an imaginary score sheet of what needs to be done and whose needs take priority?
By Shannon Hyland-Tassava
Fighting for a collective "we"
Maybe what I've come to believe is wrong. Maybe life's not meant to be this hard. Perhaps there is something better than the "American way."
By Laura Camp
J.K. Rowling and Maternal Magic
Perhaps because of her own well-known experience as a single mother, J.K. Rowling has a special place in her story for the role of fierce maternal power to save lives and demonstrate courage, as well as to advance key story lines.
By Amy DePaul
Beyond choice, access:
The National Network of Abortion Funds
Abortion funds and grassroots activism are essential for turning the tides back towards women's reproductive freedom.
By Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser
Standing up straight for equal rights:
Same-sex couples and their children are systematically denied the protections and responsibilities afforded to other families.
By Matri Bier
Women raising girls: It's complicated
Anyone who's ever participated in a birth must surely know that there is nothing wimpy about the pussy. It bleeds, it swells, it tears, sometimes it demands to know whose stupid idea childbirth was in the first place, but it does not, cannot, let go until it has done what it must.
By Kyndra Wilson
How we talk about home and work, and why it matters
My two-year old son is busy acquiring language with the same ferocity with which he does everything else, which is to say that he doesn't, won't, can't stop talking, not even when he sleeps. What his language reveals he is learning is that most men work outside of the home and most homes have women in them.
By Karen Oakes
How Linda Hirshman got me back to work
I don't agree with everything Hirshman said. But maybe it's necessary these days to be highly polemical to affect small changes.
By Sharol Gauthier
The thing about thinking that you're probably not going to have any more babies is that everything -- every single little thing -- is the last.
By Shannon Hyland-Tassava
My left breast
I had no intention of doing reconstructive surgery, and in fact, I found the scars from the surgery quite beautiful. My scars are like a red embroidery, as if they were a warrior's ornamentation. I feel like an Amazon woman, a warrior, a woman who lives life on her own terms.
By Jampa Williams
I tell myself I do not need to be noticed for my performance as a homemaker. But as I write these words, I wonder how true it is. I look around my living room, and I see a color-coordinated space. I see chairs thoughtfully positioned, chairs that we never sit in, to maximize the perception of ambiance. I see vases and pillows that match the curtains, photos of all of us looking picturesquely happy. This is an image I am creating.
By Laurel Shelton
Crack Your Shackles, Martyred Mom!
When guilt is my master, I cannot be a whole free woman. When I obey the guilt, I push myself to be a better mother than I actually am. But who is this Better Mother I try to emulate?
By Elena Taurke Joseph
I'm going to try to pretend that I like motherhood immensely, that I relish the domestication that has me doing most of the household management, and, this is the most important part: I'm going to pretend that I'm a fabulous, kick-ass mom. I'm just going to try some good old mind control.
By Heather Janssen
The Goodbye Girl
I have crossed the Atlantic ocean sixty times -- thirty times west, and thirty times east. This summer will make sixty-two. My pull to family, it seems, is nearly magnetic.
By Hannah Nia
How does defining mothers as workers or nonworkers help our cause?
'Mother' is not a homogeneous category -- different women want different things, have different priorities and values, are driven by different belief systems and world views. Still, we, as mothers, have a lot in common; we, and our families, share many of the same needs. We need to find a way to address those needs, rather than try to convince one another that we all share the same perspective.
By Melissa Wilkins
|It takes a whole community… to reform U.S. health care
Sometimes we need to pull back from the day to day and direct our energies to much larger and less personal issues in order to make our day to day world more what we'd like it to be. And yet, although many mothers are touched personally by the issue of health care reform, I hear over and over that there is no time.
By Robin Martin
Who is left to mother me?
Mothering fore and aft while riding the waves
While considering the multiple definitions of feminist mothering and motherhood, I personally struggle with the question of whether feminism is intrinsic or organic. Yet my own experiences lead me to question how do we raise our daughters to be strong women?
By Terri Pantuso
Who are you calling "lucky"?
Musings on the meaning and economics of a childcare choice
What I really want to say, in a necessarily non-politically-correct kind of way, is this: It's not luck that is allowing me to be a stay-at-home mom, okay?
By Shannon Hyland-Tassava
The rabble-rouser in me:
A baby, a book and a reawakening
Motherhood had made a mess of me. My chest felt tight all the time and I didn't know why. I was mad, sad, lonely and felt guilty for all those feelings. Ann's book helped me begin to sort through it all. I'd left a fast paced job to take care of Kate at home while my husband started logging the insane hours of a new associate at his law firm. Ann explained just how much I'd given up financially and why I now felt so vulnerable and powerless in what had been a marriage of equals.
By Kristin Maschka
|The whole truth:
Spreading the word about "The Price of Motherhood,"
or How I met Ann Crittenden
In the late 1990s, I found a cause -- or the cause found me. I became a champion of mothers' rights, and the value of the all the work mothers do in our society. Ann's book helped me crystallize my thinking on motherhood issues; moreover, by talking to and connecting with thousands of mothers around the country, Ann spread and nourished the seeds for a social movement to sprout forth.
By Debra Levy
Children of global poverty:
Nairobi's street kid problem is among the worst in East and Central Africa
As I sat across from V'key in the small cement room he now calls home, I couldn't shake the feeling that many of my day-to-day concerns about my own three children in Brooklyn seem, in a global sense, a luxury. And I was struck by a wild notion. In becoming a mother, maybe I joined a global community of moms. And maybe that membership comes with certain responsibilities.
By Masha Hamilton
The Mother Lode of Guilt:
How Betty Friedan Freed My Mother
Ours was not our mothers' guilt -- wanting more than what they were told to want. Ours was the guilt of having more options and still not being satisfied. Each rung up the ladder brought you closer to the specter of being the bad mother.
By Megan Beyer
My intermittent attempt at blogging
I often debate about how much personal information to put out there, especially about the kids. Instead, I put personal things out there about myself.
By Jessica Gullion
Finding my voice… and broadcasting it to the world
Extended discussions about motherhood, culture, feminism and politics -- topics that are unlikely to make it onto a commercial morning drive-time radio show -- can now have reach a wide audience thanks to internet radio.
By Amy Tiemann
My name isn’t really Lucinda. It’s a pseudonym that allows me to blog about groundbreaking subjects like post-partum peeing, bitchy soccer moms, angst-ridden stepdaughters and a toddler who says the f-word -- all without being tarred and feathered and drummed out of the suburbs.
By Suburban Turmoil
Like most parents, I had a script; hopes and expectations for both
of my sons. But Sam has taught me an enormous amount. He can't follow
my script. The pieces don't quite fit. I have decided to do the only
thing I authentically can do and follow his script.
By Regina Walker
hand that rocks
I write songs to break the silence about things that are bugging me,
or things that I just happen to notice. About being a single mom,
being treated like a pariah, while my ex pays no child support, and
nobody does anything about it… About the depression associated
with mounds of laundry, or having to shop at the canned food store.
About the exhaustion and endless tasks of motherhood… About
feeling that, after all, I'm really too much woman for anybody, so
By Rachael "Yellow" Huang
blues (or pink?)
While education, exposure and affluence have not inculcated a culture
of equality of the sexes in modern India, it has enabled access to
sophisticated diagnostic tools to favor the process of sex selection.
By Ranjani Rao
I cannot make my child experience a sense of right and wrong in
the same way I do. What I can do is to share with him how gorgeous
life feels when you're part of the healing of the world, and not
equity (or, what's fair is fair)
Our growing family had increased our household chores by more than
one hundred percent. Yet these chores were now handled primarily by
one person. Me.
By Erika Federmann
my real life: hanging on to salsa
Being a mother is definitely the most important thing in my life.
It’s just not the only thing in my life
By Kathleen Furin
can't men be more like women?
Nowhere in all this hand-wringing does anyone stop to actually ask
women (and men) what they need -- to be good mothers (or fathers),
to be good workers, to be responsible members of their communities,
to be whole human beings.
By Nandini Pandya
Thy Neighbor, Mama
We mothers are the only ones who can truly know how lonely, tedious,
wearing, and draining the work of motherhood can be, how invisible
and underappreciated. How can we attack each other? How can we expect
social attitudes to change when our own are so paradoxical?
By Jackie Regales
not the boss of me
Now that I have decided
to once again change careers, I have found a whole new set of problems
just waiting to undermine me. Not the least of which is the fact that
I haven’t held a paying job since they stopped putting
aircraft-sized shoulder pads in power suits.
By Cindy DeMerlis
Welcome to postmodern
child rearing: I watch my son at daycare over the internet. He is
growing up in Technicolor, right on my screen.
By Jessica Smartt Gullion
Every time I read one
of the new websites or magazines about motherhood, I feel twinges
of envy and despair, wishing that these resources and forums had
existed thirty or forty years ago.
I absolutely support a woman’s right to control her reproductive
life and her own body. But as a woman and a mother, coupling the word abortion with the word rights causes a whirlwind
of dissonance in my brain.
By Eva Rae Henry
Babies: Ideals, technology and politics
How does reproductive technology affect our images of and aspirations
about family? On the one hand, technology has played a significant
role in widening the definition of family from the traditional nuclear
model of mother, father, and child or children to nontraditional
configurations. On the other hand, technology works to assure that
the nuclear family remains a revered, even more perfected aspiration—
a dream, some would argue, that crosses over to entitlement.
By Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser
Confessions of an Unnatural Mother
Adrienne Rich didn’t have twins. Letty Cottin Pogrebin didn’t
have to figure out where she was going to find daycare for two infants.
This was not in the plans, and this wasn’t at all what I had
in mind when I thought about ‘having it all’.
Neat is Neat Enough?
I have given the issue of household neatness a good deal of thought
since my son was born six years ago, and I continue to feel that,
on balance, he is better off if I have the sense
of order I need.
By Hannah Nia
of a Mother/Reader
I curse the brainwashing that prompts mothers to question our every
move. What my son needs is a parent who feels like a human being,
and reading is what keeps me sane.
By Kate Haas
Talk About Mothers and Choices
Choice is for women with social, cultural, and economic capital. The discourse
of choice is not about women’s empowerment or advancement—
it neglects those lacking both.
Rationally, I did understand that many women have miscarriages with
worse situations than I did but that didn’t change the sadness
I felt. I had waited and prepared in order to make everything right,
but it wasn’t right –not now.
By Erica Wells
We learn to love
our children uniquely, not equally. It took me months to discover
there were different kinds of mother-love.
By Rachael Levy
Mother’s Gift of Feminism with Sympathy but No Empathy
Even with all my feminist credentials, I really did not understand
in a very deep way what it was that drove women like my mother in
the feminist movement; I had to experience it myself, sadly, before
By Lynn O’Brien Hallstein
I found with breastfeeding was both a forgetting and a remembering.
Had I lived in my head, even if passionately so, and now was being
taken into my heart by my children?
By Brenda Clews
|The Meta Mother
I am not the voluntary mother. I am kicking and screaming. I whine, cajole, rage, cry, and fall into strained preciousness. I can’t take this motherhood gig quietly. I have to remark loudly and crassly about every miserable minutiae of mothering.
By Anne Boyer
|The Case Against “Opting-Out”
I was a thirty-something, married mother of three with a college degree, a nice house, a flexible, work-at-home writing career, and a husband with a good job providing health insurance. In 2002, a sudden and unexpected shift of seismic proportions rearranged my enviable work-life balance.
By Katie Allison Granju
|The Mommy Tug-of-Wars
No matter how available I make myself, or no matter how many times I rearrange my priorities, it will probably never really be enough; not to my children.
By Lizbeth Finn-Arnold
|Fear and Silence
Of all the challenges of parenthood, the vulnerability to sorrow coupled with the enormous responsibility for another’s life is perhaps the most difficult to incorporate.
By Rosanne Weston
Motherhood, Balance And Another Women's Movement
The answers to gaining a little balance fall into two camps: change your life or change the country.
By Jennifer Niesslein
|Get A Wife: Confessions of A Slob
Leisure and autonomy seem to me the most taboo qualities imaginable for a mother of young kids.
By Faulkner Fox
|The MMO wants you!
If you write about motherhood from a critical or alternative perspective, the MMO would like to publish your work. Please visit the submissions section for more information.