Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Born Identity

My favorite quotes this month:

From an interview in Bust Magazine:

“When I say (I am a) ‘feminist,’ I mean that in the most complex, interesting, exciting way!” –Miranda July, artist

From a conversation with my four year-old son:

Idris: “Here mom, let me burp the baby.”

Me: “Okay, kiddo! How do you know so much about taking care of babies?”

Idris: “From watching Dad take care of my brother.”

(This was said with one of those matter-of-fact, like “duh” expressions that four year-olds are so good at.)

From a class lecture regarding Hanuman:

“Our wounds are...opportunities to transform and create a deeper feature of our identity.”
--Professor Douglas Brooks, philosopher

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about identities, the creation of them, the meaning they carry. Becoming a mother, twice over, has shown me, for better and for worse, just who the world thinks a woman with children is supposed to be. So often tells we’re told a story in which we are to pick ourselves out in the reflection of a small pool of “mommy-types”, so that we can cling to one and revile others—you know, “working mom vs. stay-at-home mom” (as though ALL moms don’t work), “green mom vs. consumer mom” (though being a “green mom” often centers around the consumption of environmentally-friendly products); “young mom vs. old mom” (you’ve got about a seven-year window between 27 and 34 to be “age-appropriate mom”). And though there seem to be all kinds of mom-identities based on what kind of toys we buy, the sort of discipline we employ with our kids, what our families eat, our class status, etcetera and ad nauseum, in the end these “identities” are nothing that anyone I know feels realistically described by.
If I’ve learned anything from my beloved Yogin Professor (see above), it’s that identity formation is an organic process, and an interactive opportunity to engage the world. Our wounds, our mistakes, our shortcomings—they’re all included as pieces of that opportunity, and are especially useful in motivating us to look toward new possibilities. This is where we call upon our imagination—as Dr. Yoga has also said, “you will become only as much as you can imagine yourself to be. So imagine big!”
And it’s good to have examples to look toward in feeding our imaginations. Like my son pointed out, we start to know who we are, and who we can be, by seeing what others believe is possible—what others have MADE possible, through their actions, for themselves and for us.
So on the tough days, the exhausted, depleted, everything’s-gone-to-shit-and-I’m-not-cut-out-for-this days, I have to remind myself, Imagine Big! Taking on the tag of “mama” is an adventure—the opportunity to create a new outfit for our great Selves and, Tim Gunn-style, “make it work.” And the next time you hear someone described as being “a mom,” you can turn around and say, “and when you say ‘mom,’ you must mean that in the most complex, interesting, exciting way. Right?”

Friday, September 28, 2007

Because Sleep Deprivation Doesn't Make You Crazy Enough

Here's a fun quiz based on a recent visit to the "Parenting" section of Barnes and Noble.

Which of the following are real titles, marketed toward people with children?

A) Your Best Isn't Good Enough

B) Stupid Things Parents Do to Mess Up Their Kids

C) How Could You Do That?!: The Abdication of Character, Courage, and Conscience

D) Childhood Obesity: It's Your Fault

Answer: B and C. Okay, they are both written by that the demented Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Still, the fact that these books are marketed to parents, most of whom are probably just trying to get through the day, is really messed up. Go ahead and ask for the title "Awesome Things Parents Do to Make Their Kids Happy". It didn't get published.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's Almost Fall!

I can't believe we've been a four-pack for a full month now...the last weeks have been amazing, exhausting, exhilirating, and extremely challenging! It's an intense yoga, creating this new bond and configuration within our family. But we're getting into a somewhat recognizable groove, and I think we're all actually feeling reasonably well-rested. Idris is unbelievably sweet with his baby brother--the only problem is that he wants to wake him constantly to play! In addition to stepping further into his role as big brother, Idris approached another milestone this past week: learning to ride a two-wheel (well, two plus training wheels) bike, an early birthday gift from his Mimi and Uncles Dave and Mike. He's rocking it. We can't keep up! It makes me laugh and cry at the same time. How did he get so big in so little time?
September has shaped up to be a gorgeous month, and it's still quite warm. Still, you can smell autumn in the air in the evenings, and it makes me fall a little bit in love with this place (I wish I could keep that going through the winter!) We are looking forward to visits to nearby orchards, brewing fall beers and cider, going to the pumpkin patch with Idris's class, and walks around the lake near our house where the trees become a riot of color as October unfolds.
Love and big blessings to you all, family and friends.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Instead of having a "red diaper baby," we just had a red baby. He's not so brightly-hued anymore.
Performing live tonight on Hot 97....MC P-Pants! You'd better recognize.
The Ascherl-Hans-bros. (Sorry, couldn't resist...though it was Andrew who came up with that, of course.)
Me and my boys. (This was definitely one of those "there's no place like home" post-birth moments.)