Monday, August 25, 2008

Speaking of child friendly, nothing is ever black and white

xposted from fabulosa mujer

Most pick up lines suck, this one especially:

1. You are very beautiful (directed towards my child), just like your mama. And repeat that line, then over step my boundaries by reaching out to grab and kiss my hand in front of my child.

Speak of boundaries

2. Yes, paying attention to children is important, but please don’t disappear with my child for 30 minutes straight, and take her away from my arms abruptly like I don’t deserve a heads up and some respect to my holding her.

My journey in practicing revolutionary mamahood without comprimising my own boundaries (and I am one who is happiest when my boundaries are set early healthily) the letting go to share the responsibility outside of what was once my nuclear family, has been a interesting journey…

There are what appears to be contradictions as the beginning of this series unfolds, but when are things black and white? When I volunteered to be part of the planning of the revolutionary parenting caucus at the AMC I was a little nervous about not being revolutionary enough. Admitting to imperfection in my desires to be revolutionary in my mamahood, reconciling with the need for boundaries, insecurities and sharing of responsibility of my first child, inexperienced, and without any concrete live examples of that has been a difficult and very humbling process.

3. When my child was under 2.5 years I was a pretty absorbant mama, careful of who held her, wary of not seeming like I imposed my child on people, and hesitated “handing off” my child to folks, even those that volunteered, because of my own inhibitions, insecurities (thinking I’m taking advantage of people’s good intentions) and first mamahood attachments/protections. My own environment fueled this, when I involved myself in projects when my little one was an infant to early toddler-hood most people didn’t held her when I went to work. My mom hasn’t been around for a while, thus extended family support was distant for the first 15 months of my child’s life, so when I did the stay at home motherhood thing, it was just the munchk and I for hours straight day in and day out. She was an attached baby, crying with other people, so placate her wails, I kept her with me. Letting go, as good as that process was for us, was not easy and it was at times painful. It began around the time I started working (full-time outside the home) and stopped breastfeeding; she was 1 year and 7 months. Now my daughter will be turning four, and through separated parenthood, she’s been around way more people, that love and caretake for her, and I’m sure that’s only going to expand; and it has been though tought at first, an embracing experience. Late last year, the munchk went from having one house to two, thus I’m with her half of the time now. Talk about letting go.

Capitalism does fuel individualism, nuclear family-ism, and one sometimes treats ones children like possessions (as in being possessive of them) without even thinking that’s what we’re doing. Boundaries and personal space are affected by all of this, I will not deny that. Yet, there is a thing called personal space and healthy boundaries in all of this. Boundaries are very important to me, though I do fervently believe in intergenerationl gatherings, movement, projects, in work and social gatherings, which means many people, there still is space in this intergenerational organizing for personal boundaries and personal space, difference of expression, and moments to want to spend alone, with family, with friends, with one’s child, and a time for everyone to be around.

Mamita Mala, does a good job at pointing at this — in this entry. On limits and boundaries…

I have a lot to say about that lately, limits, boundaries, retrieving, needing space, and folks being respectful of that, without wanting to knock your wall off because they can, and they will try. Our social justice involves difference in communication, space, boundaries, processes and if folks are needing of space for whatever reason, that’s okay.

out of babyland

cross posted from quirky black girls

in the past couple of months, i have begun to make some major changes in my life. i started to really think about who i am and who i am becoming deeply as i weaned my 1 year old daughter. for the past two years i have spent my life in baby-land: pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. babyland in many ways is like an altered state of consciousness. my body housed and fed another living being. it is a beautiful exhausting heartbreaking space to live in.

weaning my daughter, re-viewing and re-formulating life is happening in conjunction with my first saturn return. when the old and unnecessary structures of my life fall away and i determine what is useful to who i am. it is a bit scary.

i have been thinking about the rebecca/alice walker sadness. it paralyzes me. i have loved both of their writings. and i am an unconventional black mom raising a biracial kid. her father's family have so much more resources than i do. and i struggle for time to write to read to think. i would love to drive a 100 miles away for a few days and write. *sigh* i also struggled with a mother who seemed to put her work and her reputation before my best interests. i would have loved to have a mother who could be involved in my life without making it 'about her'.

i wonder what my daughter will say about me? will she rail against the way i raised her? ahhh...i can hear her now: you took me to dangerous war zones, locked yourself away so you could 'create', never let me develop traditional bonds with my extended family, wrote openly about how you resented being a mother, referred to me as a 'parasite' when i was still in utero, refused to take me to a medical doctor even when i had a high fever for 2 days, fed me unhealthy food, never had a stable home and bribed me with a lollipop so that you could write an insignificant blogpost (that was 10 minutes ago). all of that before she was 2 years old...

so part of these changes i have decided to make are more writing time, healthier eating, studying more, more long walks, more bodywork, being a practicing member of an online spiritual practice community (still looking), and a more concerted effort to get my work 'out there'...which in another sense means i am committed to being an even worse mom.

right now my daughter has abandoned the lollipop and is throwing books into a box. no, now she is trying to crawl into the box. the lollipop is stuck to my leg.

i hope that when she is older she will not feel that i abandoned her to travel and write and love. but i am sure that she will...sometimes...because i refuse to be a martyr for my child. if i were then she would learn to be a martyr and i owe her more than that...

right now she is standing on the box, yelling no over and over again. when i smile at her she stops for a moment and then starts proclaiming no again.

the beginning

revolutionary motherhood: every mother is revolutionary