She's directed us to heap a helping of love on some of the fabulous moms we first met in pixilated text, bonded with through words on a screen before we ever - if ever - met face-to-face, bob-to-ponytail, minivan-to-sedan, lowrise-to-Lee Rider, pump-to-hillbilly barefoot. That woman we befriended, learned to admire and respect through her cogent, sometimes shoot-from-the-hip wordsmithing of “what is on my mind”, and not because of what was on her behind.
Or the size of said behind.
We all have knee-jerk reactions to the woman in the minivan, the woman with nineteen kids, the woman who scrapbooks and makes muffins from homegrown wheat, the woman who carries a briefcase in one hand and an infant in the other, the woman who shows up at the PTO meeting with tattoos and dreadlocks - or tattoos and a wallet with a chain strapped to her dungarees - the unmarried pregnant-again woman, the woman whose partner is another woman, the woman who never smiles, the woman who laughs too loudly, the woman who just doesn’t look like anyone we’ve ever met before, who does that thing that is different, that we don’t immediately understand. We have those snap reactions that maybe, sometimes, prevent us from buddying-up because something on the outside puts that mom firmly into the “one of them there kind of moms” cubbyhole instead of leading us to think “Whatever. I bet we both like grape Kool-Aid.”
Well, I do, anyway.
I mean, I like grape Kool-Aid, but I also have the knee-jerkies.
My knees are faster than my brain.
But that's all changing for me. One blog entry at a time. One new online-writer discovery at a time. One message board discussion at a time, whether a sharp, point-counterpoint debate on women’s health issues replete with JAMA links, or a meandering discussion on whether or not to wash a pacifier once it hits the ground....
This is supposed to be about Mother’s Day, right?
Or, Allomothers’ Day.
Okay, let me swing it back around. Grab a seat.
Well, you know, yes of course…my thoughts about motherhood, my ideas and ideals have been tested and stretched, my understanding challenged and broadened, my levels of tolerance, well…a little more tolerating, my comfort zone redecorated with a few more beanbags, a few of those art-is-painful Philippe Starck chairs for those times I need to sit up straight and pay attention. But it hasn’t been just one kind of mother, one sort of woman, doing the poking and prodding. It hasn’t even been women with children who have made me consider long and hard my definitions of "mother", my feelings, who - through their words - have forced me into accommodating revisions, shaking out the rugs, or even in our disagreements saying, “you know, you made me think.”
Which is a rare feat in and of itself during the humdrum hum of my “mommymommymommmymommymommmymommy” and pick-up-toy/sock/dish/shoe/cat/another toy/paperpaperpaper/etc.-and-transport-to-another-spot-
But, yeah, allomother.
I just learned that word while reading a book about evolution’s effects on motherhood. I’m so proud of myself. For the first time in a long time, I’m reading something that requires me to reference a dictionary five times in each paragraph, and I’m sticking with it, and I’m not even being graded or trying to impress the cute TA with the ironically hip facial hair.
Allomothers are, in simplest terms, all those other women in our life who also take care of our children; but even more simply, who enable us to better do our jobs as parents. As mothers.
And many of the most important allomoms in my life, the women who have helped me and who are continuing to inspire, educate and challenge me to be even gooder…uh, better…are women who I’ve “met” on the Net.
And at this point, I’ve rambled on long enough, so let me just get to the good stuff and point you, Dear Reader, in the direction of some of my favorite Cyber Chicks, Broads of the Infobahn, Damsels of the Databoard, and Muthers spelt with a CPU.
First, if you lookie to the sidebar there, you’ll see a long list of links to blogs by women, many of whom I first met over 5 years ago on the message and debate boards of an evil empire called I-Village. I think about these women daily. I used to say things to my “real life” friends like, “There’s this woman I know from the Internet and who has a baby who won’t sleep for more than 5 minutes in a row, and we were talking…er…I mean…writing…and uh….” And of course, my real life friends would fear for me, thinking that I was unknowingly consorting with axe murderers and 80-year-old men pretending to be soccer moms.
However, now when I mention Julie’s gorgeous professional photography or her work with Katrina victims, or Kaliroz’s writing and her skyrocketing success toward becoming the Queen of All Media, or the woman who is my favorite cross between Rock-and-Roll and Donna Reed, I no longer say, “this mom I know from the Internet who I never met, but, like, we‘re on this message board together and I read her blog and, uh, well, I feel like I know her and okay, why are you looking at me like I just told you I turned over my credit card numbers to some nice looking man I just met at a bus stop….”
Instead of that, I just say:
“Hey, let me tell you about my fabulous friend!”
And I just did.
And now, I’m going to put a few more in the spotlight, if I may.
“I was not feeling the sunshine by 6:30 p.m. EST, and when Lemony Mutt spit my running shoe out at my feet - minus a lace and a tongue - at 6:35 I was really not in the Happy Place. I parked my ever-expanding ass down right there in the kitchen with the carcass of my shoe and started chanting.
'My head will not explode. My head will not explode. My head will not explode.' "
This gal kicks butt when it comes to doing the one-word-after-another thing.
Here she is raising a teenage daughter, getting it spelled-out straight that she’s right on target when it comes to raising a teenage daughter: She’s Too Good For Him Anyway
Here she is getting her kids to poop in Tupperware and ruminating on just how lucky we are to be able to take clean water and Peidalyte pops for granted: Not Your Average Bug
Here’s her youngest child taking after her mother in the best way possible: Hands Off The Mumma
And here she is in the midst of caring for her beloved friend, a friend who eventually died during his battle against AIDS: Something To Fight
This is one woman who lives life out loud from A-Z and who arranges those letters like no one else.
Now, get thee to the Lemons. Sweet, tangy, and always delicious.
View From The Valley
“But I've recently had an incredibly freeing, liberating realization; NO ONE GIVES TWO SHITS ABOUT WHAT I'M DOING. Everyone is much too involved in themselves to notice what the hell is going on with me. I mean, I don't really notice what people around me are doing beyond the quick, cursory glance, and so other people are probably not paying much attention to me either! I'm sure this sounds like a ‘well, duh’ thing to someone who is not as inhibited as I am, but it really is like a huge weight has been lifted off of me.”Sorry, Stefanie.
I gotta tell you that paying attention to your two-month-old blog is now one of my favorite new pastimes.
See, this one? The one about vasectomies? Required reading: Snippy Regrets
And this one? The one where hubby is off on a business trip? You had me at “laundry volume reduction.” Business Trip Blues
And hey! How about the one where you sing the praises of your leaf blower? Geez…even I, vested officer of the Anti-Leaf Blower Movement, even I had to give a sideways, under-the-hatbrim nod to your “I AM WOMAN, SEE ME USE POWERFUL MACHINERY” take on it. But, that’s completely off the record. You didn’t hear me say that. Nothing to see here. Everyone move along. Have Blower, Will Blow
And what about that title? Whaddja get? About 10,000 Google hits that day? Uh-huh.
So, yeah, see…the other moms at the skating rink may not notice you when you start shaking your lovely lady lumps, but we’re reading about it. And, you’re super-duper!
Well, duh. *wink, wink*
From her own tagline:
A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All.Omega Mom! An alternative to The Alpha Mom or The Perfect *cough, cough* Mom or The Winner of The Mommy Olympics Mom.
She’s a real deal mom.
And a real mom.
She may be playing it on the downlow, but she still sounds like a superhero to me.
Not only does she devote gray matter to the grayer matters of mommying, but she’s stronger than the strong women in science fiction.
She’s leaps Big Men Telling Her What To Think in a single bound.
She is more powerful than a Barbie-cum-cigar. (And now MY Google hits will explode. Whoo-hoo!)
And after she takes off her cape and puts on her specs, she’s back at her desk chronicling the bittersweet moments in Mommyville, watching her young daughter pedal away on her first two-wheeler.
The be all and end all when it comes to doing it all. Good enough was never so good.
And finally, I gotta cheat here a second.
I gotta include my sister in on this. No, we weren’t separated at birth and no I didn’t just meet her on the Internet after Googling “smells like Halushki“.
But, I gotta tell ya…just when you think you know someone.
I mean really, here’s the girl with whom I shared many nights in footy-pajamas, kicking the acrylic blankets to make sparks fly, giggling until we heard Dad pounding up the stairs telling us to “knock it off and get to sleep!” Here’s the person who’s always finished my sentences and wore my hand-me-down socks. I know about the burro fetish of her youth, and she knows that I named my bike “Pirate’s Treasure” and pretended it was a racehorse. I know that she once “borrowed” a horse and she knows that I ran over a television with my car in high school and told Dad that I had no idea how the tie rod could have gotten busted.
And you think you know someone - know how smart and funny and stinking brilliant they are - and then you read her blog and holy blanket sparks!
You get to know your sister all over again.
You get to see just how smart and funny and stinking brilliantly gifted she really is.
So yeah…a shout out to my seestor. She’s currently building a chicken tractor and not able to get to her computer as often as she'd like, but take a gander through her archives. And stop back often. She’ll be back in the saddle again. If you thought you knew mommy-bloggers, had them rounded-up and corralled into neat little pens and papers, all I can say is you’re in for a wild ride, cowgirl.
And, finally, one last shout out to the mommy-bloggers I just discovered: Mom-101, Motherhood Uncensored, and the incomparable I Obsess and Half Of The Sky. Always thoughtful, always something new, always another reason to wear the title Mommy-Blogger with pride.
Okay…I need to wrap this up and get it posted before Allomother’s Day ends.
My work here is done.
Except for this one quote from writer and poet, Adrienne Rich:
“…I was able to write, for the first time, directly about experiencing myself as a woman. The poem was jotted in fragments during children’s naps, brief hours in the library, or at 3 A.M. after rising with a wakeful child. I despaired of doing any continuous work at this time. Yet I began to feel that my fragments and scraps had a common consciousness and a common theme, one which I would have been very unwilling to put on paper at an earlier time because I was taught that poetry should be ‘universal,’ which meant, of course, non-female.”Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Allomothers’ Day to all those women - with or without children - who are continuing to put it on “paper” with a universally impeccable female vibe.
With love, hugs and sloppy kisses.