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On Mother’s Day

I am not the world’s most enthusiastic member of the Mum Club in that the concept of Mother’s Day grates on me horribly. It comes around every year and people begin falling all over themselves to “remember Mom”. Cards and flowers and perfume and brunches … it all comes out in droves. There are usually whispers of giving Mum the day off, because she works so hard and deserves it.

I don’t really hate any of those things, specifically. As a mum, I sort of enjoy people remembering and appreciating me and the work that I do, because it is a grossly underpaid industry. Any mum out there knows that there is quite a bit of work involved. Most mothers I know work the Second Shift. The amount of free time to herself is almost always balanced with the needs of everyone else in the household. For the most part, it’s a thankless job, and for a lot of mothers, it was one they chose enthusiastically (hint: I am not one of those).

The thing is, we don’t respect mothers. We don’t value them. We raise up and sing praise to what we think motherhood should be. We romanticize it to the point where actual motherhood — the jobs and sacrifices that come along with it — isn’t what we are celebrating. We are celebrating specific kind of motherhood. The idealized vision of the white, cis, straight, privileged, stay at home mum who is able to wile away her time making cupcakes and taking her kids to the park before she is home to have the roast on the table. The ideal mother we see is married to Mr. Breadwinner, and they all have the kind of faces that can be sold in picture frames.

Motherhood is this fantasy of white, class, straight, cis, able-bodied privilege. When women dare procreate outside of the norm we judge them. We chastise and point out all their flaws. One day a year we talk about how wonderful mothers are, yet we live in a world that refuses to give all of them the support they need to do the job we take for granted. We take away the choice to not become a mother if the woman feels she doesn’t have the tools she needs to bring a child into adulthood, but we damn her when she has to fill out those government forms for assistance. We tell women that they shouldn’t exist in public by insisting that the “civilised” world be protected from crying children, because motherhood is glorious so long as we don’t have to see the messy sides.

I am not opposed to Mother’s Day, not outright. We should be valuing and appreciating mothers. It’s not an easy job. It’s one I tear my hair out over daily (literally). It’s one that I worry constantly if I am doing right. It’s all-consuming. That, however, is the point. Motherhood doesn’t happen one day a year. The unpaid, undervalued, unappreciated work of mothers goes on even when we refuse to see it. You can’t balance that with a pink flowered card one day a year.

To truly celebrate Mother’s Day, we should be thinking of ways to make that job more acceptable in its reality every day of the year. We should be finding ways to take the burden off of the over-worked and underfunded. The mum who works two jobs to keep food on the table (the same one we demonize for choosing to make that food takeaway between shifts). The mother who has to stay home with her kids because daycare would cost the entirety of any wage she could earn. We should be working to remove the stigma of assistance, and finally, we should be fighting to make sure that motherhood is a choice that can be freely made only by those who really wish to become one. Becoming a mother is too savage and life-altering to be entered any way but of your own free will, and yet we can’t seem to grasp that. We can’t seem to agree that the best way to respect mothers is to make sure they were willing to become them in the first place.

Love your mothers (if they are deserving of your love). Send them gifts and call them and tell them how much they mean to you, but I hope you are doing that more than one day a year. At the same time, though, honor your mother by examining the world we live in and looking for ways to make it better. For all mothers, irrespective of gender, race, class, ability, or other privilege.

Originally Posted on Tumblr

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Examining the Plight of Lady Isolde Guerrin

I have a special place in my heart for Arlessa Isolde.

Arlessa Isolde, a pale woman with blonde hair in a high chignon and her son, Connor, a pale red-haired boy.

I feel like Isolde gets a ragingly bad rap from fandom for the most part. I hear a lot how people choose to let her sacrifice herself because of her annoying voice or because she as a “lying bitch”, which always makes me cringe. Yes, she did lie. Yes, she covered up something dangerous which had dire consequences, and yes, I get a little irritated with the over-dramatic Orlesian accent. That being said, though… I can’t help but wonder how much of the ire directed at Isolde is because she is a woman. A woman who *gasp* makes decisions out of desperation that have terrible results. She has flaws, but for some reason there seems to be a lot about Isolde’s particular flaws that are condemned for reasons that feel very dismissive and, frankly, a bit misogynistic at times. (more…)

30-Day Challenge: Day 3 — Your Least Favorite Character

This is going to be wildly unpopular, so let me preface this by saying that I do not hate this character for the essence of what he brings to the game. I honestly find him enjoyable.

 

Now then, moving forward. My least favorite character is Zevran.

An olive-skinned elf man with shoulder-length blond hair.

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When Girls Grow Up in a Title IX World…

It’s a busy Saturday as usual in the babble manor, which is not unheard of in homes where children abide. There is the sudden wake up, the realization that someone has to make sure that the humans in the house eat something because apparently they have to have fuel in order to grown, and the scramble to get ready for one event or another for every Saturday, it seems, is jam packed.

Today it was a skills assessment for softball, for Kid is now officially old enough that she must diverge from playing baseball and start playing softball like all the other big girls. She had decent fielding, apparently throws like a girl, depending on who you ask, and can really crack a ball across a field, which is pretty awesome. It also did not go unremarked upon that coaches really like having lefties on their teams, it seems.

I have a rough time handling my mixed feelings about the baseball/softball divide. I love the way that in younger years the kids have a common way to bond, irrespective of their gender identity. They just play baseball. That is where Kid met who I would say is her best friend she has ever made, and had she been on a segregated team they would not have met, he would not have invited her to his birthday party that summer, and they would not have bonded so well. There are so few places where kids are treated the same as coed sports teams.

On the other hand, I love the way that sports like softball are all for girls and women. I know so many women who played softball growing up who remember fondly the experience of having a team that was their own. While I watch in silent anger the way that baseball is privileged over softball in so many ways, and the way that women who are skilled in softball will never go on to receive the same accolades that their baseball counterparts will, I know that the women who play in these leagues take away a special team experience.

It can not be unlike my own track and field experience, or cross country, where we were encouraging of each other in ways that I never had in other areas of my life, but I’ve seen enough of team sports to know that a team people who work in individual events doesn’t work quite the same.

So, while we are toiling away tonight in our Spring cleaning, CLEANING ALL THE THINGS, I ponder the ways that I am both indignant on account of the segregation of young children into baseball and softball, but I am slightly grateful for it all the same.

I am grateful that girls growing up have a space for sports where they can be with each other and encourage each other where they can be treated with respect and lift each other up for their skills without being brought down with things like “you did that pretty well for a girl” (though, my buddy from the youth sports center did ask a girl at the assessment today if she was “too cute to get dirty”). I just know that there is no such thing as “separate but equal”, and the softball/baseball divide is one such of these. No matter how the rules of Title IX tried to make it so.

Late Night/Early Morning Migraine Babbling…

I’ve never had a migraine I couldn’t sleep through… but this one is determined to make a liar of me.

I am reading. On a bright screen because migraines seem to make me not think clearly either. Wev. I am catching up on all of the internet that goes on when I am productively writing, and forming things over in my brain, which I am pretty sure is staging a coup against my skull.

Please stay with me, the profound part is coming up:

I don’t want the world and everyone in it to stop conceptualizing race, gender, sex, ability, creed, etc. I don’t want them to “only see people” and not pay attention to those things about people, because the descriptors that apply to me in that list (and the ones that I’ve forgotten) are part of me. They are part of who I am, who I have become, and what has shaped the person I am, for better or for worse. If we stopped seeing those things we would be bland, boring people and I am willing to bet all of the parts of humanity that bring us the creative wonders that make us truly awesome, the Original Meaning, not the new one that means socks and hot dogs, would cease to exist.

What I want to happen is for other people to stop thinking of those of us who live at intersections of those descriptors as less-than because of those things. I want people to stop ignoring our voices because we can be described by those words. I want people to stop dismissing our needs as “special” because we can be divided into categories under those words.

These things are part of who we are, and the key to equality and getting along isn’t ignoring them. It isn’t even in spite of them. It is loving and accepting because of them. Because these things are uniquely human and are what make us whole.

I don’t want someone to not consider a part of who I am when they think of me. That isn’t thinking of me, but rather, thinking only of the part of me that is more convenient for you.

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