Posted in Insight, Mid-Life Mama, Mother to Crone, New Mother, Nuts & Bolts

It all begins in the kitchen

“Wednesday is Anti-Procrastination Day,” and it still is, all these years later.

It began when I was a new mother, overwhelmed by keeping house, until exhausted by my own whining, I said:

“Kelly, you ran a classroom, a restaurant, a nonprofit, YOU can do this.”

And so even though housework did not deserve my best, especially as I had witnessed the unfair weight of it on my mothers & grandmothers, I set out to study the art and science of household management, as a matter of survival.

I created systems of sanity, engaging everyone in the household in routines that continue to this day. “I stayed home for the children not the house,” was my motto.

My sense was that this role was both sacrifice and blessing, but never an assignment to do everything alone. Along the way, a woman (and email subscription list) called FlyLady was an ally in staying the course, but this was long before I realized that housework was political.

Moral.

I hadn’t understood then that homemaking meant that a women’s brilliance was unavailable in other spaces where it is was so desperately needed. I hadn’t understood then that refusing to do everything myself was not only an act of self-preservation but a revolutionary act of consciousness.

Sharing housework with my family from the very beginning created increasing space for me to begin exploring other aspects of myself, which are still unfolding as my youngest prepares to fly from the nest.

During my first year at United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2012, I heard women from developing countries emphasize how much their voices were held back by an unfair share of caring for home and family.

This year women from these same regions expressed their surprise to find that #metoo was epidemic in our developed nation.

Equality, it appears, is far from being achieved, anywhere.

It begins in the home. In the bedroom. At the kitchen table.

It seeds a more just world,
For everyone.

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Posted in Insight, Mid-Life Mama, Milestone Moments, Mother to Crone, Parental Adolescence, Round Two, Teens, Wisdom of Youth

A LINE

I’m not sure if it’s #45 or #metoo or Menopause, but suddenly I have access to something I never had before and it’s something which I expend too easily like the first paycheck in my kid’s pocket.

“Don’t be a fucking idiot!”

A few weeks back, I spewed this at him.

(This, in a household, where I’ve long drawn a fierce line at: Shut up.)

Actually, a stream of sentences with fuck (highlighted in various forms) came out of my 54-year-old mouth, one after the other, none of which I could entirely recollect afterward–a sure sign of trance–but not one I’d so fully occupied before.

Anger.

Not just at the behavior at hand, or the accumulated attitude of his adolescent years or that combined with his older brother’s (and even their father’s) but all the ways that all women/mothers/wives are maligned for the same things for which we are relied upon.

“I’m sorry that I put that all on you,” I said to my son when he returned from hitting the speed bag in the basement.

But what I didn’t regret was the line that I had drawn, and that I will now draw forevermore, and which I appreciate that he also drew for me:

“We don’t talk to each other that way, Mom.”

Posted in Mid-Life Mama, Milestone Moments, Round Two, School, Teens

the firsts of the lasts…


I didn’t have time to really think about the fact that tonight was my last parent-teacher conference, ever.

And to bring it full circle, the very last of tonight’s meetings was with with his collegiate sociology teacher who also happens to be his… father.

While more than a dozen years ago, his earliest conferences in preschool and kindergarten included me, his mother, as parent and teacher.

Posted in Fragile Life, Mid-Life Mama, Mother to Crone, Round Two, Teens, What's Next? (18 & beyond)

school bus

although only “minutes” have passed since i immersed myself in the work of the day… i hear the school bus go by, again. and though no child of mine is upon it, i still find myself marking time as it comes and goes, as my youngest prepares to fly the nest, and the beginning and ending of day are almost touching.

Posted in Mid-Life Mama, Milestone Moments, Mother to Crone

40 Years as Mother

1 month remains between me & the Motherhood Archetype on this 365 Day Journey toward Menopause.

As a gesture of release & acknowledgement, I empty my drawers of tampons (while still keeping some in my purse)–certified organic, chlorine-dye-synthetic-plastic-additive-free, 100% cotton–noticing how foreign they’ve become in my hand after 11 months without employment.

I began this journey of The Mother with my first bleed–at exactly 13 and a half (like my mother before me and my sister after me)–and in the absence of a u-turn on the immediate horizon, I’ll finish this journey at age 53.

Thanksgiving Day.

Forty & a half years later.

(October 23, 2017.)

Posted in Insight, Mid-Life Mama, Mother to Crone, Twenty-something

Companion

Lately, my sons have refused invitations or eagerly accepted them but then not followed through, while simultaneously (along with their father) they make increasingly unconscious demands on my time and energy; so that yesterday, I found myself walking to the pond, feeling sorry for myself, absent of the sweet company I so desired/deserved; and these thoughts continued with me down the road, across the brook, up the hill and down the path through the woods to the water’s grassy edge, where they slipped away with asana under the morning sun, until I found myself supine on the dock in a gentle spinal twist, looking up at the needles of a tall pine with whom I’ve communed for so many years–through so many seasons of my life–and hers–ice storms and snow storms and early springs and fair autumns (skipping high summer when the campers are here)–And in that moment I felt the steady friendship of her branches extended toward me and the strength of her deep roots sustaining our connection, and I realized how I would never be alone, not really, even when both boys are gone; and I thought about how often men forsake not only the women in their lives, but the earth, and how that brings women and the earth closer together, and aren’t we better for it; and then, something else:

Don’t I forsake Her too…

Posted in Mid-Life Mama, Mother to Crone, Round Two, Teens

Mom, you look crazy

September 27, 2017

57 days remain for me and the Motherhood archetype, and pangs of separation have begun to weave their way into the wild expectancy of transformation.

My own mother was still bleeding when cancer took her at 57. I’m not sure of my grandmother, whose life ended tragically at 55. Or my other grandmother who lived into her early 60’s, heart attack. Numbers are such a comfort to me. (I’m soon to be 54.)

There isn’t much talk of what it is to be on the “other side” of Motherhood. To belong, finally, or again, to self. Even while the heart’s capacity has expanded to include the entire world, like it did when we were children.

“Mom, where are you going in those knee-high socks,” my 17 year old calls after me, as I head down the driveway.

I look down and see that, Yes, I am wearing cream-colored knee-high socks. I threw these on as quick fix to staying warm this morning because I was only wearing a t-shirt and boxers (my sleeping combo since college) and I wanted to see him off to school.

“I’m walking down to the pond,” I say, “Come with me!”

He shakes his head and opens the car door, “You look crazy.”

“That’s the whole point of my age,” I holler back, past the pines, “I don’t have to care.”

He smiles, puts his school bag into the back seat, and follows me down the driveway.

“Do you smell the Balsam? Isn’t it great,” I say.

“You’ve kind of got an Einstein-esque thing going on,” he responds.

I run my hands through my silvery bedhead as we approach the road, hoping no one drives by.

“Is that mine,” he asks, pointing to the flannel over shirt that ties together the whole ensemble.

We walk a bit down the road, alongside the pond, and then onto the dock, until my husband pulls up with the car.

“He’s right. It is crazy,” he says, as we approach him. “But I kind of like it.”

“Don’t take the highway,” I say, “Take the back roads. It’s such a beautiful morning.”

I watch as the car turns around and then pulls past me, heading further and further away, and I wonder: Do I feel sad, or just right?

I pause at the water’s edge, and then with a lift in my step, turn back up the driveway, feeling less confident about my display of carefreeness out on the road, alone.