Ultimate Juggler

Sunday, February 26, 2006

To Blog or Not to Blog

I have exciting news to share. The MMO is featuring Mamas in Blogland this month. I have already devoured one article and need to pace myself before reading the rest at one sitting and thus neglecting my other duties. I have anticipated this issue and am enjoying being in the online community of mothers. Hey, for those of us too busy to connect in person, mommy blogs give a cyber connection a bit similar to female bonding.

This is my update in blogland: 1 post published, 1 draft barely started and I post being written. Not bad for my first week. I can see from the onset that blogging, though very rewarding, is also time-consuming and will eat away at other things going on in my life. But, without making promises I don't intend to keep, I am determined to continue on the blogging path.

Why? Well, to state the obvious, blogging keeps my entries more neat and orderly than my low-tech mish-mash journal. In addition, there is a community-minded feel to blogging, especially when my intention is to create a sort of one-sided coffee-house exploration of ideas which will focus on, at least for the time being, issues related, but not restricted to, motherhood.

Another goal I have for blogging is to continue fine-tuning my writing. Admittedly, life has kept me from advancing far in this area, but my dreams are alive and well, partly strengthened and inspired by the ample supply of role models who have successfully started, or changed, careers later in life. My goal is not monetary success (however it would be nice to make a buck!). I simply hope to contribute to positive change in our society and perhaps, if ever gifted enough, to influence and stimulate thinking about Canadian, and possibly worldwide, contemporary issues.

So, in keeping with my goals, I will conclude this blog with my opinion of something that will improve Canada. I believe we are missing a Canadian version of the MMO website. If I am wrong about this, I will promptly post a link when I find it. Who knows, perhaps my calling is to fill the void. Specifically, I am referring to a website devoted to intellectual articles about social concerns affecting Canadian mothers and fathers. While MMO is universally thought-provoking and appealing to mothers, and hopefully also to others interested in the mothering cause, clearly many of the legislative issues mothers in America face differ substantially from more socialist countries such as Canada.

Despite the fact that we have more government-funding per capita set aside for childcare than our southern neighbours, I must say that, speaking from ground zero, all is not rosy in Canada's Mommyland. One look at how the daycare platform differed between the Conservative and Liberal governments during the last election sheds light that the topic of childcare is continually being discussed by parents across the country. I will plan to post my experience with government support and raising children in Canada in the future. There is much buried inside on that topic itching to get out.

A last note: I have subscribed to a new Canadian liberal magazine called the Walrus. I have also given a subscription to my brother in Ontario as a Christmas present. Furthermore, I am posting a link to its website after I publish this post because I believe this magazine is greatly needed in Canada. I have one expectation from this forward-thinking and worthwhile magazine in return: that they regularly include stories about Canadian family issues and cover them in an open-minded and accurate manner. I plan to post on this topic in the future as I have more to say here. I also realize the need to communicate this thought to the Walrus if I ever hope for this to transpire. Heck, I'll be honest here - I have another goal: to publish an article and - hey, why stop there - frequently contribute articles about social and family topics of interest to Canadians. Dreams, dreams and more dreams - they never end.

Well, Mom needs to go now and help with dinner and putting the kids to bed. If anyone has taken the time to read this, I hope you are better for it. If not, I hope you at least enjoyed your time. And, in case you did not, may I at least tell you that it was very nice to have your company.

Cheers.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Be yourself

Always insist on yourself. Never imitate.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I just finished reading an editorial article on one of my favourite websites about mothering, MMO (The Mothers Movement Online), about a book published recently entitled The Mommy Myth by Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels. This book will be added to my evergrowing must-read list.

While I'd be certain to have more to say if I ever read the book, the article about the book was thought-provoking in itself. The theme of the book exposed in the article was what captured my attention. I identified with the reality of the idealistic mommy images portrayed by the media in the early-to-mid '90s during the time my children were born. The images came primarily via parenting magazines in my case, and occasionally on television commercials, however I did not witness the latter to a large degree because we did not have cable television at the time.

Every role and function, including
motherhood, is idealized by the media in the attempt to increase market share. Whether it be a fictitious representation of the ideal male or female physique, SUV driver, IPOD user, mother, father or grandparent, the idealization of consumers is rampant in our society. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves as a public in order to see through these depictions for what they are (comically surreal) and boycott the products if we find the idealization to be offensive. We can protest if we wish to, however I think education is a more effective method of striking at the heart of the problem. The false representation of motherhood is no more than a dim-witted marketing ploy that any of us in the role of motherhood would quickly deduce.

The scheme undermining mothers is by manufacturers of parenting products. It is a fact that when we have children our expenses will increase, and so will the many businesses eager to make some money off of us. There is no ploy an enterprise will not stoop to in order to create a 'need' where none previously existed. Doesn't the creation of a perfect mommy image using a product that makes her life even more perfect seem a likely tactic with which to seduce the imperfect mothers of the world? This method has been used for ages and we need a discerning and critical eye to see through the lies. We mothers, and consumers in general, should give ourselves the permission to be who we choose to be, how we choose to be it, and not simply follow what the mass media tells us.

Tomorrow I will attend my first meeting with a mothers group in my new hometown of St. Lazare. I am hungry for the comaraderie of other women in my situation and the opportunity to share opinions about topics such as this. It has helped me immensely in the past and I am happy to know a group like this exists in my community.