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Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

What Makes A Mother

“You’re a mother with tattoos,” the cashier, in the orange Home Depot vest with platinum hair, cackles. You are just trying to purchase some magnets, two lollipops, two Coke Zeros, and fire-ant killer.

You try to smile and nod, but only manage a grimace. The cashier doesn’t seem to notice. Both of your kids stare at you expectantly, but you realize they are only waiting, as patiently as they can, for the lollipops in garish flavors like watermelon and cotton candy. You hand them lollipops, and they both grin like gremlins.

With all of your purchases in their separate bags, you turn to leave. Your husband pushes the three-year-old in the dayglo cart while your eight-year-old daughter walks beside you.

The cashier isn’t finished: “I mean, you’re a mom with tattoos. What do the people at their schools think? I mean…” (more…)

Graham Cassidy

Here’s the letter I sent to Senate Finance Committee opposing the Graham Cassidy repeal. The letters/emails are due tomorrow, Monday September 25th by 1:00 pm EDT. Wall-of-us provides both the email ([email protected] ) and a script for your letter.

Please consider sending one.

Greetings,

I’m writing today because my family relies on ACA for quality, affordable healthcare. Because of this, I oppose the Graham Cassidy repeal.

Currently, I work as a freelance editor/writer, and my husband works for a small start-up company. For the last couple of years, we’ve relied on ACA for insurance for our family, which includes an eight-year-old and a four-year-old.

This week, our four-year-old complained about his leg hurting. We thought he might have bumped it, but he hadn’t fallen. Then, he started limping and refused to climb stairs or climb into my SUV. When I attempted to carry him on my hip to give him a break, he yelped and started to sob. I called the pediatrician for an appointment, once I realized that a limp is always something their office recommends having checked out.

I handed over my insurance card when I took him to pediatrician. He sat in my lap while we waited, which is unusual because he’s usually too busy to sit still. The PA looked over his leg, but called in the pediatrician for an evaluation. The doctor explained that he needed x-rays to determine if something was wrong with his hip or if it was toxic synovitis, inflammation of the hip joint that can sometimes occur after another virus. (more…)

Not Nice

“I was just trying to be nice.”

“I just wanted to be nice.”

“Not nice,” I say to the toddler after he bludgeons his sister with a random toy, “NOT NICE.”

I find myself thinking about “nice” a lot lately, often before recounting a story of something gone terribly awry. Exasperation lingers in my tone. Frustration coats my words. I was just trying to be nice, but things go sideways. They tend to when I start with nice.

I’m not sure why this happens. Maybe, my attempts at niceness appear as sign of a polite weakness. Maybe, nice renders me a pushover, a people-pleaser, who will go out of her way to remain pleasant. Initial friendliness suggests the desire to be agreeable at all costs, even when other people become increasingly unpleasant. Being nice shows that I can be dismissed without much effort or time. Being nice makes me easy to overlook, ignore, and disparage. (more…)

Mother Knows Best: The Politics of White Christian Motherhood

I wrote this essay in March of 2012 for an online religion magazine, but it was never published. One of the editors was afraid that the comparison between the WKKK and Michelle Bachmann was “too dicey.” Just associating Bachmann with the Klan seemed like dangerous territory. The editor had me add a disclaimer about how I wasn’t calling Bachmann a racist or white supremacist, but rather I was just “comparing” their use of Christian motherhood as a political strategy. Even with the disclaimer,  the magazine passed on the article. Now, five years later, we are in a moment in which we can’t dodge the discussions of white supremacy and politics (politicians), so I thought I would publish this essay here at my site. It’s lightly revised with disclaimers and previous hedging about white supremacy removed. 

In 1924, Robbie Gill, the Imperial Commander of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan (WKKK), gave a speech entitled “American Women” at the annual Klonvocation (Klan speak for convention) of the Ku Klux Klan (1915-1930). She proclaimed:

We women of America love you men of America….We will mother your children, share your sorrows, multiply your joys and assist you to prosper in the way of this world’s good. In return, we expect you to recognize our power for good over your lives, and in the nation….We pledge our power of motherhood to America….Our knees can be the altars of patriotism to them.

For Gill, just as mothers parented children, they could also parent the nation. Maternity functioned as a claim to authority in public spaces, and she let Klansmen know that women as mothers could change the nation for the better. Gill, however, was not satisfied to let men (even Klansmen) dictate national politics and policies. (more…)

Track 18: What Fades Away

What Fades Away

Katherine Anderson Howell

 

The baby was 3 months old.

I wasn’t happy.

***

I spin and spin around the living room. My head feels lopsided, like it does when I’m too tired, or when panic leaves me hollow. The baby is in my arms. The baby laughs. I spin. I bounce the baby. I force a smile, which becomes a slightly more real smile, which becomes a little laugh. “Shake It Out” plays on repeat. Florence Welch and I sing the old platitude,  “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” The baby doesn’t know darkness. He thinks I am sunlight.

(more…)