What’s up party people? Kia Ora te whānau!
I have just committed an act which could be described as mildly rebellious OR exceptionally sensible, depending upon yer point of view. When I could have (should have?) been hitting the books I was, instead, undulating my spine with the exceptional Kelle Rae Oien, who has been in NZ teaching. How lucky am I!?! Such joy. So sweaty!
I adore her language when she expresses her desire for her students to live lives that are wildly satisfying. Wildly satisfying! I dig that contrast. It’s like … passionately content. Enthusiastically calm. Playfully satiated. Wildly satisfying. Yeah, imma keep that one!
What else? Just had mother’s day … probably a good time to share this excellent article from Harper’s Bazaar about emotional labour (aka invisible labour, aka mental load, aka kin keeping). Oh, young women, study before you procreate! The mental and practical energy that it takes to keep the home fires burning while you’re committing the audacious act of betterment is something that you cannot possibly know, yet.
Casserole, school trip, reference list. Dishes, flu shots, literature review. Wha …?
Now, some links. Let’s clear a few tabs before I do battle with the referencing software. I know, I know, that is NOT the attitude. Not doing battle with, playing with! I’ll play with it…
First … here is an article that freaked me right out. It’s about the ways that millennial parents are raising their children. I could weep. The needs of human infants have not changed, just cos our technology has. Interesting that the writer acknowledges the longing that “parennials” (millennial parents, apparently) have for simpler times.
Meanwhile, from the Atlantic, another look at the tech habits of parents. This deserves multiple and repeated reads, cos I tell you what, it’ll take you to some terrifying places. Like this and this.
And you know the bit that kills me, crazy baby lady that I am? There is this cyclic thing going on, where new motherhood seems “boring”, and sure enough the literature points to women going online (eg during the intimate act of breastfeeding) because they are bored and seeking distraction. But by succumbing to the distraction, mothers aren’t practicing SEEING their babies. Really seeing them. And we know that with older kids, the distraction leads to child misbehaviour, which leads to parental dissatisfaction, which makes a big’ol’ downward spiral of technoference.
Boredom? What would happen if we could sit quietly with that, and even lean into it. Incredible things happen when we let ourselves just go with the tricky things that motherhood offers us – even exhaustion! (My struggles with describing invisible labour – what do those struggles offer me? I’ll report back!)
I remember when my girls were babies, (1 pre-, 1 post- smartphone) people would confess to being bored/lonely at home with their infants, and I would think that if they could only see their babies as the exceptional scientists, sociologists and artists that they are, and if we honoured the power of home visiting as transformative in the lives of families, then mamas would be neither bored nor lonely. There is something afoot with our culture that we deny so many people the chance to KNOW babies before they become parents themselves, then we physically isolate new mothers (now with a damaging tool for adult communication/distraction at their fingertips) and all the while we radically undervalue infants (and therefore parents).
Anyway, I gotta get dinner sorted before school pick up. We do a Meat Free Monday, and I try and make it extra delicious, so my omnivorous family won’t grouse. Also, it’s swimming lesson day for little girl, so time’s a-wasting.
Quick round up of the tabs I need to clear … an article from NZ’s Stuff website about the Modern Learning Experiment. I’m far from convinced, especially about the “screens for all!” attitude of it all. A couple more things about schools: this from Sir Ken Robinson (oh, hell yes! Dance is as important as mathematics!) and I would also like to share a quote that has been rocking my world:
“We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”
― Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
For no good reason, read about an inspiring, alternative method of farming, here. Here is a gorgeous blog post about childrens’ spontaneous singing , and finally, an article from Mothering magazine, about missing your mother. I posted a comment at the end of the piece which I’m kinda disappointed the author hasn’t acknowledged. Maybe she doesn’t know how to. I will keep a compassionate heart. But only just.