Tag Archives: mothering

Mothering Alone

Below is a slightly-reworked blog I wrote for Lift Up Your Day, which appeared for Mother’s Day on May 10, 2016. I thought you might enjoy it if you are a mom who parents alone, either literally or figuratively.

Your husband might work all the time, be on the road, or serve overseas. You might be separated or divorced, so paternal help (or lack of it) brings emotionally-charged interaction. You might be widowed, with no help, plus the grief that your husband is missing out on everything, and your kids are missing out on him.

If you’re a single mother, you hold unique perspectives about parenting, and you frankly get annoyed with all the dual-parenting advice that comes your way from the church community.

You wish the church would just talk about the differences between married and unmarried parenting. So this is for you–

Mothering Alone

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Why Mother’s Day hurts

Grief has been making herself a general nuisance in my life this week. She’s preparing for Mother’s Day.

Yesterday, I picked up a bronze memorial plaque at the trophy store bearing my mom’s name; it will adorn a bench on a deck that leans over a duck pond–the pond where, every time Mom visited us, we took my little boys on a walk with a bag of bread crumbs.

Before I picked up the plaque, I had prepared myself for feelings nostalgia, reverence, sadness. I didn’t prepare for anger. I’m not angry about Mother’s Day. (Well, sometimes I have been. On days when no one prepared anything or they ran out that morning for a card–but that’s another story.) I wasn’t angry about the plaque. Late in the day I noticed that I felt grumpy, sullen, and irritable. And then I was tearful. For no apparent reason.

Grief opened the front door and told Anger, Come on in, and Anger came in and sat down and put her feet up. She looked over my plaque and said it was a lovely thing to do. Mom would have liked it. The place I picked out in the park is perfect. What a nice way to remember her in a town where she never lived. And then Anger whispered, It’s not fair. And I agreed. But then my my brain responded in my mother’s voice, “Life’s not fair,” which made me miss her more. Continue reading

Why branding might be ruining art

All the platform gurus tell you to “build a brand.” Figure out who you are, what you’re selling, and then market it. Define yourself. It makes sense. But, branding is becoming an art of its own, which is fine. I’m just afraid it might be ruining real art. After all, real art is artistry, not perceived artistry. Vert few masterpieces have been appreciated in their own time.

If you’re a regular person like me (or even worse, an artist), branding yourself is tricky business. Because, like I said, you don’t consider yourself a business. You’re an artist. You just want to write, paint, act, play music, create things, or communicate concepts. Your art flows from who you are, not the other way around. But in order to promote your art, you must specialize in something sale-able, and it must be a stereotype that fits you. No one told you, when you were six and drawing up a storm, that someday you’d have to become a marketing gymnast to do anything with your drawings.

This branding routine is like telling a mom to specialize on her mothering perception rather than on the art of mothering. You know, fill her social media pages with professional and i-phone photography of happy children eating their tofu and getting into IB programs. She will get likes on all her social media posts, which of course, she manages easily on top of her real responsibilities. She is adept at posting pictures and videos of herself. Her children comment that she is their best friend, and they can tell her anything. Continue reading