hedgehog adventures

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

There is no "I" in Mommy

What makes me unique?

That's a tough one. I always thought that my life is a little different than most because I have these overlapping layers that is a source of constant internal struggle but then I realized most women have this.

One of my favourite books is The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. It’s the story of a woman’s life, but told from the perspective of everyone around the central character. There was no “I” and the point was not lost on me. In general, us, as women, are not very good at telling our own stories. Our lives have meaning because we touch other people’s lives. It’s what we do. We connect the dots, fill the spaces between the gaps, mediate between people. It’s what we are.

So with that preface what I think I'm saying is that I don’t think I have a very good perspective on what makes me unique, but here goes. My list so far: I'm Filipino (my family immigrated when I was 12), now living in Toronto but I’m an ex-Western Canadian (Calgary, Vancouver, Prince George), married-divorced-remarried woman who rode the fertility emotional roller coaster with my second husband (from Eastern Canada), a first time mom at age 43 to a beautiful little boy (part Filipino, part Scottish) now nearly five years old but who happened to show up two months early.

After having my son and after waiting all those years to have a child, I decided not to go back to my (paid) work in corporate communications and instead decided to run my own home-based business where I rely on social media for developing relationships. I’m pretty sure all of the above count for something, but does that really make me unique? It seems pretty normal to me but as I said, I think I've lost all perspective.

Maybe it’s better if I say what I might be able to write about and share with Today’s Parent viewers.

Experience I can share with others

Infertility ups and downs. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. I totally understand the emotional rollercoaster.

Being a mature mom. Had my first – and probably only – child at age 43. Adopting a second child is under consideration at the moment.

Being a preemie mom. Did I mention he showed up TWO MONTHS EARLY!

Divorce. After 10 years of following someone’s career, the relationship ended because he wanted to “find himself.” I did not realize until years later that was actually code for “I want to live full-time with my girlfriend and have babies with her.” I can tell you about being deceived and manipulated. By the time he left, I was 37, had $16.25 in my bank account, no house, no car, and alone in a city I did not know. Oh, I have stories.

Being in a mixed-race marriage. Yeah, I (re)married a white guy who is originally from Nova Scotia, an engineer, a geek. Cultural clashes abound in this marriage. See my post Staging on girlmeetsgeek.

Other stuff I think about a lot

I’m interested in the social construction of “boy.” I care very much about my role in the cultural process of defining what is appropriate look and behaviour for boys and young men. This interest is woven not only into my personal philosophy but business as well.

I'm also trying to reconcile my feminism and current job as retailer of boyswear (as well as mom to a four year old boy). Specifically, I’m trying to understand my societal role in defining culture through fashion. I am conscious of the impact of fashion in the construction of knowledge so I try to do what I can. For example, I do not source items that promote negative boy stereotypes, glamourise violence, or exploit children. I do not buy brands that use sexist stereotypes in their ads nor ones that use children in sexualized poses. I also go the extra mile to promote businesses that reflect the diversity of our population.

I supposedly have some expertise on issues concerning nannies and caregivers. I wrote a thesis on that topic many moons ago.

And finally: blog posts that you might want to read

I've been blogging since 2004 but have only ever shared information with family and friends. I stopped updating content on my girlmeetsgeek blog when I started my business and found myself more google-able. There's a lot of stuff there and here but I picked out a few writing samples as you requested.

Interview with a toddler. My son had a cold and I gave him a lollipop to ease his sore throat. As he was sitting there enjoying his lollipop, it looked like he was holding a microphone so I decided to videotape him. Here’s the result.

Here’s my musings about my non-pregnant body. It received a bit of reaction from my family and friends including an “eww” from my cousin.

I posted a comment on a New York Times article on When Mom is Mistaken for the Nanny. My post wasn’t really about being mistaken for a nanny, which has happened many times, but it was more of a look at race in general and how my son is learning about the topic.


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