Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blogger's Block

I haven’t been able to post in the last couple of weeks because I’ve had so many things swirling around in my head, but none of them has held still long enough for me to pin it down.

One of my issues, of course, as usual, has been time…not having enough of it, or wanting more. I seem to have these periods throughout the year when too many things happen at once. September started out well, with us getting back on a schedule, me getting to work on time--and even doing yoga in the mornings--thanks to the 7:30 a.m. school bus arrival. Then homework started coming in, and soccer practice and games, and class projects, open house night, PTA meetings (yes I joined the PTA…White House here I come!) Our weekends have been packed--both with self-inflicted activities like fairs and spending time with friends and with kid-centered stuff like soccer games, birthday parties and Bug Maine-ia (which caused M to have nightmares about giant ants).

The Solar Home Tour and Green Building Open House is coming up next weekend, which is a wonderful event for showcasing homes that use different forms of alternative energy and “environmentally friendly” building materials and techniques. It’s also great for C’s business. However it fills me with anxiety and resentment every year because of the amount of preparation involved (when you are showing off your house, it kind of can’t be in its usual state of sh*t-holeyness) and because after seven years I’m kind of tired of people poking around in my personal space.

I spent the weekend with my stomach in knots…due I think to a vague sense that I had a lot to do and was somehow unable to do anything (think ladybug stranded on its back). I hoped to get a jump on cleaning Friday morning before friends arrived for the afternoon, but after several interruptions, I had only managed to clean one bathroom while in the meantime E and Z took out pretty much every toy they own in the living room. I tried catching up on two weeks’ worth of laundry, but Hurricane Kyle showed up at noon, after I had already hung out three loads and had one more in the washer.

Even as I write this I cringe at the whineyness and insignificance of it all. C and I watched City of God last weekend, about the drug gangs of Rio de Janiero. It was incredibly well-done, but after I ended I said to C, “that was a terrible movie.” I've felt heartsick ever since with sadness and guilt and powerlessness. Even though it was a fictionalized account, it was based on real-life events and it broke my heart to watch babies not much older than my own being shot and killed, shooting and killing.

A hurricane destroys lives in the tropics; it interrupts my laundry schedule. Children die of malnutrition, contaminated water and violence every day; I worry about whether our Thomas trains have lead paint. I wrote recently about how much I was loving reading “The Maternal is Political.” After I read more of the book, however, I started thinking, “middle-class hand wringing…” (Someone help me out here…was Rebecca Walker’s essay a satire?) Of course education, health care, consumption, the environment, reproductive choice and war are absolutely vital political issues. But I felt something was missing. Where were the voices of women and mothers who were actually suffering as a result of our political system (other than Cindy Sheehan’s wonderful essay resigning as the face of the American peace movement, and rightfully calling the Dem’s to task)? Then I ask myself, do we invalidate these women’s experiences because they drive minivans? Belong to the PTA? Have the ability to choose public school over private (as opposed to having no choice)? Do I invalidate my own experience because I’m not forced to live in fear of my husband, boyfriend, pimp, landlord? Because I’m not a sex-worker or a squatter or a migrant farm-worker? Certainly not…we all have stories, and our experiences are what they are. I’m just disappointed that a book about the crux between motherhood and politics didn’t have any stories by moms who struggle to raise children on a convenience store salary, from the millions of women whose kindergarten children have no childcare after school, from those who have lost their homes in the recent foreclosure crisis. Maybe they’re too busy and tired and overwhelmed to put two sentences together.

And finally…Sarah Palin. I’m glad the conversation has finally moved on from her children to her frightening record and lack of knowledge and experience. But I stumbled upon a blog that had a picture of her face imposed on Rosie the Riveter, with the “We Can Do It” slogan and the blogger wrote how empowered she was feeling, like she can do anything (with Christ behind her), and I realized that there is a whole contingent of people who do feel inspired by her--women who have been oppressed by their fathers, husbands and churches for so long and now they see a woman just like them on her way to the White House. She’s kind of their answer to feminism. They will vote against their own economic self-interest and their children’s education and health because of their religious beliefs, but now they can vote for a woman who’s against their self-interest.


  1. Do you mean Rebecca Walker's essay? I don't think our Regina had one in the book. I agree with you about Rebecca's if that's what you meant - she annoys me. I loved the book, but I know what you mean, although I am certainly guilty of obscene amounts of middle-class hand-wringing. That's why I love HipMama, you know?

  2. Oy, Andrea. Your confusion and lately the bloggers' block are familiar companions. The statistics on women voting are grim and of course women who really need a vote hardly ever do.

    Your way has always seemed a productive way, to live your understanding of the world, with your money, your time and your love.

    As for Sarah Palin, double oy. I try to keep her presence on the national scene from filling me with horror. That's about the best I can do right now. I'm certain I know--and you do too--speaking only of education and erudition, at least five women who would have made a better choice.

    I can get pretty conspiracy minded if I let myself. If you're worried do not, do not read any Naomi Wolf until this all settles out.


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