questions for you: finding our voices

As regular readers know, I’m working on a feminist book about parenting. Will you help me write a better, more inclusive project by answering some questions? Today, I’d like to know:

  • Do you express your experience as a parent in some way–by writing in a journal, blogging, participating in online communities or face-to-face support groups, calling a friend, whatever? Why do you feel the need to articulate certain aspects of this experience, if you do? What do you get out of that? If you do not talk or write much about parenting, why not? and what do you do instead?
  • Do you feel that your self-expression (in any form) has changed because of parenthood? If so, how so, and what has that been like for you?

The details:

  • By commenting on this post, you are giving me permission to quote what you say here in my book. Please indicate the age(s) of your child or children, as well as whether you’d like to be identified by full name, first name only, or a pseudonym of your choice if I end up using your words.
  • Feel free to email your responses instead of commenting here, if you prefer: molly at firsttheegg dot com.
  • Please answer any question (or questions) that strikes your fancy, in any way, at any length. Anything relevant to these topics is welcome, even if what you have to say is not really related to the questions. I’m so grateful for any thoughts you offer!

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4 Comments

  1. Orchid
    Posted 21 November 2012 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    I will write a more serious answer to this once I have some time to sit down and do so, but wanted to share my initial thought to this question:

    “Do you feel that your self-expression (in any form) has changed because of parenthood?”

    Yes! I don’t have time to proof read my emails/ instant messages/ facebook updates any more. And as a person who likes to express herself clearly and correctly in writing, this has been a hard change to come to terms with.

    Heather, mother of one 5 month old boy.

  2. Posted 23 November 2012 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    I’m surprised to find myself writing this, as a very liberal mother: I express my experience as a parent through the business I created after having children. My company offers self-care workshops for mothers, as well as childbirth classes, and a blog (www.motheringourselves.com/blog).

    I have 2 sons, ages 5 1/2 and 3.

    I write about and mentor parents about a variety of topics, mostly around childbirth and taking care of themselves after having a family. The one common thread I can see in how I express myself, and what need I see in the community that I try to fill, is this: If you stay open as you parent, you’ll find just about every belief that you are “certain of”, challenged. Nearly every absolute I’ve ever uttered as a parent, I’ve had to clarify, refine and downright recant. Just as I get comfortable that every child should never, ever be left in a room to cry alone, I meet a situation where that is the better of the options. Every time I think I’ve found enlightenment and say “OK, maybe every baby doesn’t have to be breastfed, but they do need human breastmilk”, I meet a mother who tells me “pumping is driving me crazy, how can I find another way, and still be a great mother?”

    I’ve been so lucky that my creative pursuit as a parent has also been humbling and challenging to everything that I thought I knew. It’s made me a better mother, but it’s done an even better job of making me a fellow woman.

  3. A'Llyn
    Posted 26 November 2012 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been keeping a journal since my early teens, and I write about my life in general there, so parenting has definitely come to be a big part of it since I had a baby. I don’t know that the way I write about this is much different from the way I write about other things, but I do have the conscious desire to make sure I note his little milestones: I didn’t start a baby book, so if I want to know when he started crawling and so forth, I like to know I’ll be able to come back here and find out.

    I also want to be able to read about what it was like, once I’ve forgotten details. I want to capture my own history, sort of, so I can come back later and remember it. Already some things about his early days are kind of hazy, so how vividly will I recall them years from now? Of course I don’t have an exact description of everything I did and said and thought from those days (sometimes I only had time and energy to scribble a couple of lines noting that we were all still alive), but I hope that some of the things I wrote down will bring back bits of memory that might otherwise not come to me.

    Writing about things also kind of helps me work through them and figure out what I’m thinking and feeling, so the frustrating or troublesome things get into the journal…possibly in greater weight than they deserve compared to the pleasant and untroubled things, actually, since working through things takes more words than just saying “had a great day with the baby, he’s adorable and awesome, yay!” which is also often true.

    I have one boy who’s just about 8 months old now. My first name is not very anonymous even on its own, so I totally don’t care if you use both first and last. :)

  4. Posted 27 November 2012 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

    Self expression has always been a big part of my life. I’ve kept a journal since I was a teenager and blogged for many years as well. But when I became a mother–even when I was pregnant–I nearly stopped writing entirely. At first, I didn’t even notice, but when I barely wrote a word about my daughter’s birth, I started paying attention to my own creative impulses. It took me a while to start writing regularly again, and it wasn’t without a struggle. Now I feel like writing, blogging, and creating other forms of art (zines!) have become all the more important to me knowing that I almost lost track of it.

    –Mindy R. (mother of one 4 year-old)

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