Interviewer: For those who aren’t familiar with your blog, where can they find it and what is it about?
In short, I’m a bitchinmama at the intersection of political quagmire & real life. But the long of it is that I have a Master’s in Women’s Studies and that I raise boys. I view the banality of stay-at-home-mothering through the lens of feminist theory and political activism. My older son is both gifted and has special needs while my younger son is exceptionally gifted, but we live in a state that ranks the lowest in student support and academic achievement; so I write a lot about those struggles as well. I started this blog project to speak out to the world beyond my neighborhood – my state, to give voice to what is happening here and how I experience motherhood in a community like this.
Interviewer: A lot mom’s are so overwhelmed and dream of being able to accomplish their dreams, whether it’s doing their own blog or becoming an entrepreneur. What advice do you have for them?
Being a mother and anything else you dream is difficult. It is no small lip-service that motherhood is more than a full time job, so that trying to accomplish anything on top of that is extraordinary. I advise mothers I know to dream a big as possible, and work towards the goals that make the most sense to personal fulfillment. You will always feel divided in your efforts (should I be home with the kids, should I be tending my dreams….?), but you have to do what you believe in, nurture yourself to be a good mother too. When you get on an airplane the emergency advice is to put on your own oxygen mask first so that you don’t pass out while trying to care for your little one; and that is true of parenting also. You must take care of the self in order to be the best caregiver you can for your children. And the bonus is that following your own dreams encourages children to follow their dreams, it sets a good example for how to live – when you are fulfilled, they see that and learn from it. Parenting really is a series of training exercises for children to learn how to be happy, healthy adults. They learn those important about healthy living and contented lifestyle through watching and engaging with us.
Interviewer: Do you think the glass ceiling really exists?
There is no doubt that a glass ceiling for women in leadership roles continues to exist. Just a quick perusal of our United States Congress provides a perspective in only one area of power. Looking at the issue from different business/corporate structures certainly provides another – and equally alarming view. Women continue to make .72¢ for every $1.00 a man earns in the same job, despite qualifications or past level of experience, or even job performance.
Where women are making gains is in academia, in middle management and in small business ownership. Because women are now entering college and graduating at much higher rates than at any other time in history, coupled with the high rate of unemployed men – gender roles are really starting to shift dramatically – and even uncomfortably – for many Americans. Personally, I think this is a great time to be a young woman, on the cusp of some amazing changes and opportunities for them, but these changes are certainly making middle-aged and older Americans very worried about the future. I have great faith in young people and am welcoming of any changes that provide more available chances to create one’s own destiny.
Interviewer: Being a mother is one thing, but being a single mother is another. I know you have a lot of single mother readers out there for you blog. What words of encouragement do you have for them?
It sounds so damn Oprah-ish, but listening to your inner voice to guide you over the babble of others will take you a long way. That means that you have to work at being a conscious and communicative parent to your child as well as with your support team (whomever they are). When I was a single parent, I had no family helping me at all, just a great group of loyal friends who let me rely on them when I was in need. I had a very ugly custody fight with my ex-husband and then again with his wealthy parents who continue to believe that their money is better than my parenting. There were many times when they could afford to buy things, do things for my child that I could never dream of. What I learned through really listening to myself, drowning out the noise of others, was that I am a good mother and the best advocate for my son. In re-marrying, I learned that staying true to my inner-voice is an attractive source of strength in my relationship to my husband and within our circle of loveys.