Friday, December 17, 2010

Motherhood is a gift...or not

I was at a wedding earlier in the year, talking to a pregnant person in the line for the loos.  We were talking about when she was due and then talked about my daughter and the son that she had already. 

As the conversation continued she looked in to my eyes and said something along the lines of "It's just such a gift isn't it?  It's just the best thing in the world.  It's just a real gift".   I nodded and smiled, looking like I was agreeing with her, all the time thinking, "Is she really serious?  Does she really really believe that?"

I have heard a few people say this now.  And I don't...get it.  It does not resonant with me, but even more, it makes me feel squirmy.  Very squirmy.

I understand that just because it's true for me, it doesn't mean that it's not true for other people.

But a gift is free, without pain, effort, cost and comprise.  It comes to you with joy and doesn't take from you. 

And I love her, but the Strumpette is not a gift.  She comes with pain, effort and compromise. Confusion and frustration.  Tiredness, every-day-grindiness.  She is awesome, and smart, and funny, and oh-so-cute, but a gift she is not. Gifts don't snot on you and shit in the bath.

And it makes me squirmy - because by framing Motherhood in this way, we erase all that stuff that makes Motherhood and parenting so bloody difficult and consuming.  And that does no one any favours.  You can't complain about a gift, say you're struggling with a gift, that you need help with a gift.

And that is really problematic.  Because then people don't voice their problems.  Don't mention that they're having trouble coping.  Don't explain that sometimes it ain't all baby cuddles and soft skin. Because there is nothing wrong with a gift, amirite?

I'm not saying that there isn't a lot of awesome when it comes to parenting. Because there is.  It must be for the human race to keep breeding as it does.  But a gift it is not. So I think we have to be careful about the way we talk about parenting to others.  So we can leave the lines open to commiserate, share and debrief.  Which is really the gift now isn't it?

Maybe if I had struggled with fertility and really really went through hoops to get a baby, I might feel different.  For those of you in that boat, I apologise and allow you your feelings!

Monday, December 13, 2010

If you read one thing this year...

Make it this. In fact, given that we're almost at the end of the year, if you're only going to read one thing this finacial year - make it that. And, if, as I suspect, most of you are women reading this blog, show this article to the men in your life.

Why Profligate Promiscuous Strumpet?

Thanks Deborah for the idea.  I hope this answers your question!

I have a friend.  A great friend.  I don't see her often enough and I miss her heaps.  We came up with this fabulous name for ourselves, back in the day.  We were Profligate Promiscuous Strumpets.  And still are with any luck.

We both love words.  And books.  And dancing.  And being loud. And flirting. And somewhere in the deep dark past, we came upon this word.  Profligate.  Such a good word.  You can bite it. And let it dribble down your chin.  We liked the meaning of it, because at that point in our lives, we were all about the excesses. (I'm not providing the definition here, because I figure you're all really smart and know it, and if it's unfamilar to you, it doesnt mean you're not smart.  But it means you're here, on a computer, and can use google).

Promiscuous.  I probably wasn't as promiscuous as I could have been, or as much as I now wish I had been.  But we liked it - it was kind of a fuck-you to all the slut-shaming and good-girl lessons and being a lady. Fuck that.  We liked boys. And men.  And kissing them. A lot of them.  It was sooo much fun. 
So yeah... Promicsuous? Hell Yeah. Testify.  Hands up in there, wave em around like you just don't care. 

Ahem. Sorry, got a little distracted.  I was vogue-ing in my seat and I hope you were too (or maybe that's just me again.)

Strumpet.  We just liked the word.  It sounded fun.   And that implied sluttiness in the word, which I'm sure some people applied to us, it was another way of owning that judgment but also saying fuck you to it as well. To us, it meant sexy, and messy, and sassy and mischevious, and powerful. Which we were  And I hope we still are.

And when I was looking for a blog name, I wanted something a bit fun. And a bit fuck you.  And that meant something to me.  I think it's probably too long. And to complicated to search for.  But it's done now.  And it's mine.

So, my other Profligate Promiscuous Strumpet - thanks for the great times.  I miss you.  And Thanks for the name for my little space on the intertubes. 

N.B This posts hints a lot of the raunch culture I embraced as a young adult.  My privelege allowed me to indulge in it, nay, wallow in raunch culture, relatively unscathed.  One day, when I get the time, I'd like to unpack that time for you all.  But I just want to acknowledge it here, so that you're aware, that I'm aware that this post touches on it, and that raunch culture is not without it's problems.  All aware now? :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A safe space (Bookclub is awesome, wrapped in bacon awesome)

With shirtless libidinous Hugh Jackman (insert other crush here) awesome.

We all need safe spaces.  Where we can talk, and discuss and explore.  And laugh.  Feel better about ourselves and the world.  Regroup if needed.  Feel like we are connected.  Feel like we are Heard.  That we are cared for.

I am lucky enough and have enough privilege, to have a few of those spaces in my life.

One of them is Bookclub.  Created and managed by my wonderful sister, who shall be known in this blog as DootDoot. (Strumpette christened her so.)

Bookclub is once a month. We read a book, we meet at one another's houses and we talk about said book.  Very simple.

But oh the joy.
I often desire meaningful conversation in my life.  Not necessarily serious, but conversation that talks about stuff that matters.  Bookclub fulfills this desire so well.  The books we pick aren't necessarily feminist books or books about 'big' stuff.  They have generally been fiction.  But the books have allowed us to discuss feminism, relationships, gender, activism, the importance of pets, writing styles, race, politics., class, education. 

And laugh.  At each other (gently and not-so-gently), with one another, about men, children, life, genitals, swearing and just funny stuff that happens on the night.  Laughter until there are tears in our eyes, doubled over, gasping, fading off into giggles.  The kind of stuff that makes you laugh out loud later in the week when you think about it.  And people look at you strangely when you do so.  (Maybe that last parts just me).

Each time I come home from Bookclub, I am happy. Inspired.  Proud to know and be part of such a wonderful, thoughtful, intelligent caring bunch of women.  Who don't take shit but like to give it.

And though some of them would reject the label, everyone of them, to me is feminism personified.

Thank-you, my Bookclub women.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Down Under Feminist Carnvial is Up! Woop!

Go read the 31st Down Under Feminist Carnival, at Hoyden about Town.
Neglect your children, ignore your in-tray, divert your phones to voice mail, shut the door, it's time for lunch, a cuppa, and a good read. 

Just quietly, please submit to the next carnival - held HERE!  Too exciting!
Either direct to me, or preferably at this little handy do-dad


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I am holding the Down Under Feminist Carnival in January

Hello everyone,

Yes I am a slack blogger.  Life and things and children and stuff have been distracting.  But I do miss it.

On a brighter note, I am holding the Down Under Feminist Carnival in January, 2011!  Woop!
So, I thought I better spruce this blog up a little.  I'm going to try and post twice a week.  Yup, twice!  Do you think you can handle the excitement?  Anyone?  *crickets*. 

So I will try to post Monday, and Saturday.  Please fell free to suggest things for me to post on. I will try to honour your requests, unless their boring topics of course :).

See you Saturday.