In the wake of George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict this past weekend, I wanted to gather a group of parents to discuss the jury decision as well as the larger impact of Trayvon Martin’s murder. I especially wanted to hear from fellow mothers of boys, in hopes of fostering dialogue about how we as mothers can move forward given what happened. I gathered an incredible group of women and over the next couple of days, I welcome you to read our conversation.
- Jamila Bey hosts the radio program, “The Sex Politics And Religion Hour: SPAR with Jamila.” The show can be heard in NYC, DC, Miami and Chicago and online. Find her on Twitter.
- Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser is a writer living in Western Massachusetts. Find her on Twitter.
- Carolyn Edgar is a lawyer, writer and single mother of two who publishes the blog CarolynEdgar.com. Her work has been featured in a variety of outlets, including Huffington Post and CNN.com. Follow her on Twitter.
- Denene Millner is a New York Times-bestselling author of 21 books and the founder and editor of MyBrownBaby.com, a blog that measures the intersection parenting and race.
- Shay Stewart-Bouley is a non-profit administrator, freelance columnist who writes on issues relating to diversity for the Portland Phoenix, and blogger at BlackGirlInMaine.com where she muses on race, motherhood and middle age.
Read on, after the jump: Keep reading »
Dear the movie “Adore,” starring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright,
Let me start by saying that I’m not here as another social media troll who just wants to make fun of your semi-absurd plot. That would just be too easy. I know that you didn’t just turn the satirical “Mother Lover” into a pouty, melodramatic screenplay. After all, I just Googled that your director is French and your writer is British, so they could have been clueless to its existence. However, because we are friends here, I feel it’s only fair to warn you that you’re going to eat a lot of shit for this. I mean, a lot.
You see, if you’ve been on planet Earth lately, you know that the “Saturday Night Live” music video starring Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake went viral a few years back. In it, they don bad ’80s garb and monstrous chin straps while cheering on each other on their crooning quest for mother loving. Keep reading »
Apparently, when it comes to maternity care costs in this country, I lucked out big time. Seven years ago, when I found myself pregnant for the first time, I had just switched from my own insurance to my husband’s much better one, and had only one, $25 co-payment for the entirety of my pregnancy — including the delivery. That’s it. Twenty-five dollars got me multiple visits with my midwife and a hospital birth (albeit a short one — I was in and out of the hospital in 10 hours, my choice).
Yet, my experience is certainly not the norm when it comes to maternity care costs in this country. The New York Times recently looked into why the U.S. has the most expensive maternity care in the world … despite not necessarily being at the top when it comes to quality of care. The facts are both absolutely terrifying and downright maddening. According to the Times article, prenatal and delivery charges can cost upwards of $50,000, depending on whether the mom-to-be has insurance or needs a C-section. Even for those with insurance, there is still the possibility of a costly birth, especially if your policy does not include maternity care coverage. Keep reading »
When I first read a review of Lauren Sandler’s new book, One and Only: The Freedom Of Having An Only Child And The Joy Of Being One , I was hopeful. As the mother of an only child (and with no plans at all to have any more children), I’ve had my fair share of judgement from others. I’ve been told I’m selfish, that I’ll live to regret this decision, that my child will grow up lonely, that he’ll end up resenting me and his father for not giving him any siblings, that he’ll feel burdened when it comes time to care for us in old age. The list goes on and on. I’ve heard variations on these remarks from family, people I know well, and complete strangers.
Trust me, this wasn’t a decision we came to lightly and it’s one that is constantly on my mind. In fact – shameless self promotional plug – my essay in my upcoming anthology about the myth of the “good mother” deals specifically with this topic and is titled “Yes. I Am That Selfish.” So to read about a book that thoughtfully takes on the notion of having one child — and debunks many of the myths commonly associated with it — felt a bit liberating. Keep reading »
I’m not going to sugar coat it: Sometimes, this whole parenting gig can be pretty damn hard. Yes, parenting is rewarding and wonderful and absolutely special. But it can also be completely terrifying and difficult and frustrating. And, despite all the parenting books that line the shelves of bookstores, there’s truly no one manual to tell you exactly how to successfully raise your children without going completely batty.
It also doesn’t help that parents — new ones especially — are surrounded by images, advertisements, articles, books, television shows, “experts,” movies, news media, and more that basically dictate to them what it (supposedly) takes to be a good parent. It can be doubly overwhelming in a society that pushes Tiger Moms at you while also promoting the benefits of French Parenting in the same breath that both encourages and disparages Attachment Parenting. It’s enough to drive anyone to drink. (Or smoke).
So it doesn’t surprise me one bit when parents turn to the Internet to find some answers or relief. Even if that relief is in the form of mild complaining or slightly neurotic questioning of everything that’s being thrown at you. But of course, as with everything on the Internet, everyone has an opinion. Enter Jezebel’s Tracy Moore, who earlier this week tore apart a private online Facebook group for L.A. parents. Moore listed a handful of topics that various mothers posted about and then proceeded to mock and snark on each one. Keep reading »
When I was pregnant, everyone warned me not to judge myself against other women either positively or negatively. They told me not to compare myself to the Super Moms, the Momzillas or even the Deadbeat Moms. People warned me that once I was a mother there would be some things I would do effortlessly, and others I would fail dismally at.
Largely, I ignored their advice and trusted in my own self-worth and confidence. I was a little older than most of my mom friends and figured that with those extra years came extra wisdom. I instinctually understood that hanging out on online baby forums leads to intense paranoia about teething, and battling it out with anonymous strangers is stupid. I never thought I would succumb to the motherhood comparison game. But in the end, I was wrong. I did judge myself harshly. But it wasn’t against other moms. It was against my own husband. Keep reading »
Last summer, I had my first panic attack, and it was induced by children.
By the way, I don’t have any kids.
During an office baby shower, a female colleague about 15 years my senior reminded me that I was next, since I was married, 27, and only had an estimated 12 percent of my eggs left. Highly inappropriate? Hells to the yes. And effective. It freaked me out.
Four months later, I was having a particularly rough morning at work. I couldn’t stop getting interrupted and my to-do list kept getting longer. I suddenly felt massively overwhelmed. My brain went into a crazy-spiral: If I can’t get my work done today, I can’t get home and write the screenplay of the century, and it’ll take me forever to become the Nora Ephron of my generation, and I will be letting down every woman and brown person in America by not unleashing my voice to the masses, and I won’t be able to have a baby until there’s at least some small sign that I could accomplish that, because I’m not trying to be some resentful, broke mom with “dreams.”
I blacked out at my desk for a minute, popped an Advil and sat in a nearby park for an hour inhaling an economy-sized bag of popcorn.
That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Keep reading »
“When I told a gentleman that I am 45, he was shocked. He wondered what I know that Ponce de Leon did not. Mainly it is a refusal to be a grown-up … I have never been married, which has spared me the unhappiness of that, and the misery of a divorce. Or two. Or three. I don’t have kids, so I don’t invest energy in telling people how gifted my children are, or in figuring out how deep into the spectrum of autism they fall—nor do I turn over my hard-earned cash to SAT tutors and Mandarin coaches. Of course, I have been deprived of the pleasure of breastfeeding my baby on a barstool in a Park Slope tavern while nursing a Campari and soda, but I will survive the privation.”
– This is Elizabeth Wurtzel‘s sage advice on how to look young for your age. I had barely recovered from her last rant and already she’s back to further infuriate women in a new Atlantic piece about how to refuse to be a grownup. Naturally, she’s spewing her special brand of nasty put-downs aimed at women who aren’t like her. So … everyone. You can read more of her advice, which is dripping with judgement and narcissism, if you dare. Some of it I would be inclined to follow (“I do what I want. I don’t do what other people want me to do. Sometimes I don’t do things I want to do because someone else wants me to do them too badly”) if she weren’t so damn obnoxious. [The Atlantic]