Mother’s day rant, for grumpy mums to read with their cup of tea?

By   /   May 10, 2017  /   7 Comments

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OMG it’s another whole week till Mother’s Day… not only is it a load of blocks, but so many of you are celebrating two weeks and one week early, making it a mother’s month… What a triumph for shopping centres.

OMG it’s another whole week till Mother’s Day… not only is it a load of blocks, but so many of you are celebrating two weeks and one week early, making it a mother’s month… What a triumph for shopping centres. If they can have a Dad’s month too, an Easter month, a Halloween month, and three months for Christmas, then you’ve got five months of the year when the pressure to purchase is dampened slightly. Oh no scrap that, there’s the kid’s birthday days, Valentine’s day, your daughter’s engagement party, the hubby needs a reminder for anniversary of your wedding…. Oh My God!!

Step away! step away!

Live authentic lives. It has become so tight around here, that I get a funny look if I wear my painty jeans to the super, let alone take a day and do what I want with it. OH THE HORROR!   I am currently sitting around writing this in my painty jeans and it’s not Mother’s Day.  Actually I am about to go and do some painting.  

This weekend I visited the observatory, and we saw an awesome video about asteroids and meteors, and then we saw four of Jupiter’s moons. We learned about Galileo and gravity, and we took photos of John Logan Campbell’s Acacia cottage so we could replicate it in Minecraft, and Finn wrote an excellent story about a horse that breaks free from a cruel master and returns to nature, and mailed it to his kindle so he can turn the pages on his own book. Last weekend we made terrariums and leaned about the properties of activated charcoal and how water systems can exist in a microcosm.  #Everydayismothersday

If I drop his lunch in late, the teachers in the school foyer mutter, and cluck…  but earlier: “He’s doing so well” and “We’re so proud” … Yeah right.  After nine years of mothering teaching parenting forming and shaping my child… You want to pull rank on me and take credit for my child because WHY? Because you’re a school? And I’m a mother?  Yep.  Pretty much

Sorry but the Mother’s Day concept grew out of recognizing the sacrifice that mothers made for their nuclear families as a historical concept. It’s not appropriate to expect women to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of their husbands and sons any longer, though many married men are grateful that women still do!! So, it’s just a big shopping spree. I think many mothers are despised by their nuclear families for being ‘just a mum’ and not having the power that others have.   Sadly, I think some children grow up witnessing the subdued mother, and never actually getting to have a relationship with her as herself, but only as a functionary part of the vehicle of the family.  I think this happens.  (#not all)

(#Not all) Married mothers are driven bonkers and driven to drink by the sacrifice of their identities in their nuclear families. Women are not expected to not become mothers, but it’s extremely difficult to maintain a career and become a mother as well. (Hashtag Not All married mums, did we get that?).  Women like me who don’t stay in marriages for one reason or another, are forced to endure wave after wave of humiliation because of an entrenched judgemental attitude from women who are supported by their marriages. Many of them ignorantly bitchy due perhaps to their sacrifice of independence, and their unhappiness.

Having a Father’s Day as a newer development is a total load of blocks even more so. What? Does that balance things out does it? I don’t think so. Maybe at the cologne counter.

Instead of spending money on perfume and cake and lilies and lemons and tea and lace and linen and dogs and cutlery and dishwasher powder and toenails and trips to tropical islands and while not forgetting that all these gifts will remind married women of their marital obligations to provide sex (and possibly children) in exchange for being taken care of, why don’t you tell your husbands to contribute to one of several charities that are working around the clock to support those other members of your communities and your families to be protected from physically abusive and controlling relationships, and to help them escape those entrapments, and to help them not become vulnerable as a result of escaping.

Here are two organizations that are working overtime to bring attention to this serious problem our country has.  

HELP (google HELP for centres other than Auckland.)

Recently bringing women’s voices to the streets with the “I can’t keep quiet” campaign in time for rape awareness week in May, HELP have been inundated with women calling the centre.  They nearly lost their funding entirely a couple of years ago, and continually have to agitate for financial support.  

A newly formed organization that looks particularly at the stories of women who are working with representation in the family court after separation.  They also have been inundated with women obliging the call for registration, and to tell their stories anonymously about their progress towards safety and equilibrium with the family court.

All the emergency support organizations are in dire need of funding. At the very least share the links below and have a look again at the stats:

But the stats! – For example these are stats on those who experience some form of sexual abuse in New Zealand.

1 in 3 girls under 16

1 in 7 boys

1 in 4 women

1 in 2 people who are trans

There are more to consider here on the AreYouOk Family violence page.

And even if it’s not violent abuse or sexual abuse, even if it’s just controlling behaviour, even if it’s death of a spouse, or estrangement, or any other reason, becoming a solo parent means that mother or father is stigmatized by those around them, and just left out, because they can’t join couples as a couple and they don’t get invited.

Their care times interfere with job opportunities, and it’s not always (but sometimes) because they can’t access the childcare, but because they need and want to spend time with their child! Surprise. Parenting under trying circumstances is overwhelming and most likely it’s mothers who will lose their career after a separation, even in cases of shared custody.

If you become a sole parent without income as is often the case for many mums who choose to leave unhappy relationships, the social stigma that ensues is an extravagant waste of energy. The journey through the world of winz is absurd, contradictory, arbitrary, and discouraging of anyone from gaining ground after sole parenting. Disheartening, structurally abusive processes through the Ministry of social development; the family court; the police; the medical system, or the education system, see mothers who are trying to find the support they need, turn back to abusive relationships, or rely on overburdened parents, further stressing families that are trying to progress their own lives.

What is structural abuse?

Structural abuse like this is not the same as abuse by individuals. But it can continue and perpetuate abuse, especially if there is an imbalance between parties financially, or sometimes in ability, language, society or education. Well-meaning individuals can unwittingly contribute to the structural abuse that supports a violent abuser, because they are obliged to follow protocol, or can’t operate outside their specialty area, or because they are misinformed or tricked by the abuser. They can also become misguided because of commonly held prejudice, and judgemental attitudes that have no sensible basis.

A school principal, or a family doctor, a surgeon, or a psychologist, may each feel that they can make a professional judgement on an individual case. But when a parent has had their future sacrificed, their health compromised, their dignity damaged, and their wardrobe and assets diminished, to maintain the energy and presence required for parenting under adverse conditions, then those more well-positioned practitioners, may be more likely to cast aspersions, and to make a biased judgement, or a judgement based on those esoteric belief systems like a meritocracy for example.

A couple of years ago, I had two car accidents, 10 days apart. “Shaken but not stirred”.  When I told people, they immediately responded: “You need to slow down”, “Oh the universe is telling you something”, and “You’re attracting that energy”. Bullshit. One guy was accelerating through a stop sign, the other guy was on his phone while he hooned through a red light. But people’s readiness to denounce me as a bad driver or an attractant for bad drivers I expect would fade the more professional I am able to present myself. If I were currently practising as a doctor, or a school principle, or a policeman, when I got hit by a fast moving vehicle, I think they would cast their judgement on the OTHER drivers first.

It’s the same with drinking drugs smoking violent tendencies madness hysteria being stupid education tendency to collect cats and quilting. For the record, I can’t stand quilting. I don’t smoke anything or do drugs of any kind as it happens, but people will assume that I do. Because I am a mother without a husband.

People will assume that they should help me with useful advice about how to parent. Cheese is swept. The school teachers at my son’s school will presume that his abilities have been entirely developed and nurtured by them. They will send me a message saying, “Your son has been late 11% of the year and this will affect his learning”   This will cross in the ether with my message that says, “you have failed every consecutive year to attend to my son’s ability in class and I have had to step in and re-direct his learning at school every year since he was five because your teachers are prioritizing fitting in to their own class methods over actually assessing prior knowledge capably, so we are taking the morning off once again to treat nits because you have also failed to do anything about it, and tomorrow we’re going to take the whole day off so that he can come to Bunnings with me because we’re going to talk about interesting things on the way like molten lava”.

Recently a well-meaning school parent saw me reading a book outside a cafe. I was actually trying to relax as the last several weeks, (years) of my life have been so stressful, “This is what it’s like to have only one child” she said to her friend…

She’s nice, she’s a lovely friendly woman and she wanted to celebrate my difference, and accentuate her own industry and desire to read a book in the sun.

I had to tell her, my personal situation has prevented me from having more children. It wasn’t something I chose. I wanted (despite the odds), to try and make a loving family unit with loads of children.

Many people feel compelled to perceive something different. In fact, many people have this entrenched belief that you get what you want. One gets what one wants.  So they think that everyone they see, has got what they wanted. Some people have an entrenched belief that everyone gets what they deserve. Where do they get these flamboyant esoteric ideas? As I mentioned earlier some go as far as to tell me that they believe that if you have an accident or get ill, that you’ve brought that on yourself! This always strikes me as extraordinary, this belief in positivism as a magical force over matter seems to have replaced a fundamental belief in God or gods as a contractual relationship, in that if you’ve signed up, you will be protected. It’s an old-fashioned thing but still seems to work.

In ancient rituals, worldwide, for the betterment of society human sacrifices were made. I remember reading an account of one young woman’s body that was somehow preserved, and a study of her entrails provided examples showing she was drugged before death in a sacrifice ritual. Joseph Campbell believed the community’s interest in the sacrifice (to loosely deliver his findings), was to serve as a kind of reminder that death comes to us all, and thereby, a reminder of our place in life, to be humble and compliant and less ambitious. ” Eat drink and be merry”, and “let us eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die”, from the bible (Ecclesiastes, and Isiah, respectively), are only a step away from the essential message of the same practice. Personally, I prefer “live well and prosper”. which a quick google search teaches me originates beyond the Vulcan salute, in the Hebrew phrase: ‘Shalom Alacheim’, which like the Arabic phrase ‘Salaam Alaykum’, translates as “Peace be on you”.

Peace is great. I like the idea. It’s not a new idea to me, but it’s a good one. But in modern society, for some crazy reason rocking the boat and fighting for peace have become one and the same. However it is that babies arrive, we are at least universally aware, that peace is a requirement by which to mother a child. Peace, mothering and babies being born – there is no separating these things, there’s just no debate.  (Can I plead old-fashionedness for just a minute and leave cryogenics, and embryo development in the lab for a different day?)

Mothering or nurturing of our infants, is the most important part of our entire society’s development.

Mothering shapes us all as individuals.

Mothering comes first. *

I’m talking about the judgement of mothers, the preconceptions about mothering, and the control over mothers by using their children as levy for ransom of their sacrifice. What sacrifice?

Ask them.

My husband’s not like that?

Ask him to donate to abuse charities then.

I’m not like that?

Good. Start helping others not to be like that too.

We’ve had enough of flimsy shopping day talcum powder totems and being told to stay in bed, and we’ve had enough of being sacrificed thanks.

LIVE WELL AND PROSPER!   
and here’s something to ponder:  
If there are two objects of different mass unobstructed in space within the earth’s gravitational pull, on what does the effect of gravity on the velocity of the objects depend?

http://www.lifeline.org.nz/corp_Home_378_2001.aspx

https://www.youthline.co.nz

http://helpauckland.org.nz

Rape Crisis. (focused on prevention education)

http://rpe.co.nz

Women’s refuge

https://womensrefuge.org.nz

The Women’s Centre
http://awc.org.nz
*(If Dads are stepping in to provide the familial parent care and nurture of a child from that child’s earliest days, then what they are doing as far as our language still allows it, is mothering. And it’s less common, so don’t get me started on semantic exactitude, I’m being inclusive here).

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7 Comments

  1. Zelda Wynn says:

    Gosh, lovely to read a powerful, interesting article.
    Great reading material Genevieve!

  2. Cassie says:

    Your article is indeed interesting because you touch on many many issues.
    So many issues that go beyond just “Mother’s Day”.

    But since you’re a Mum just chill out and think of the nice memories that you could create for your child(ren). That’s the most important thing.
    And if you get a little token of thanks, be thankful. Because your child(ren) will remember how it made them feel.
    Try to create happy memories for your offspring. When grown up, they will ALWAYS remember their childhood, by the impressions they received.
    They will only remember how their childhood FELT with you, and the payback years from now is enormous.

    There are lots of elderly in rest homes who rarely get visits from their family.
    If you managed to create a close & loving bond with your kids, your love will be reflected back years from now

    Feminism is a fraud. It has tainted all of society. It does not support Motherhood – THE most important role in society. (same as Fatherhood) It makes women resentful of their role as parent & caregiver, which is the greatest honour in Life, because of the enormous responsibility- creating future member of society. Fulltime job.
    If you have found yourself single as a parent through circumstance, please make the best of it. Time passes so fast, suddenly they are grown up & gone. Believe me.
    Happy Mother’s Day.

  3. Genevieve says:

    I am propelled to respond to that Cassie.

    To be very clear, I am not unchill, or unhappy, ungrateful, I do not need or want your advice, if you have made these presumptions based on my writing then you may have misunderstood a few things in it. I cannot take responsibility for anybody’s ability to understand what I write, but I can let you know if you’ve made some mistakes in interpreting my writing.

    Also, feminism is not a ‘fraud’, what a load of rot. I will refer you if you think so to an earlier article I have written at the other end of the list under my name on this site. If you think feminism is a ‘fraud’ you probably like many others don’t understand what feminism is.

    And your condecending tone that I should make the most of it, also imparts a presumption. I suggest you read my article a second time especially the part towards the end about sacrifice.

    How dare you infer these things and smugly publish your comment in this way without actually understanding what I have written. I absolutely make the most of all aspects of my life that I have available to me, but I am aware that many opportunities in life have been limited for many many women in this country. And this piece of writing is about empowering them to leave bad relationships, abusive work positions, make formal complaints about abuse and harrassment and to live lives with some choice about whether they should be child-bearing or not, and I have feminism to be grateful for in the form of the many enlightened and courageous women who allow for other women to make a departure from any kind of entrapment in their lives.

    If people have forgotten what feminism is about, in this country it’s about the freedoms that New Zealand women have fought for on behalf of women in the western world to have a democratic vote.

    If you are starting to worry about the backlash against feminism, women’s rights, and ant intellectualism, amongst women in this country I strongly encourage you to share with all that you know the importance of utilizing this democratic right to vote. To express yourself, and to expose injustices against yourself or other women, or men.

    The reason I say Mothering is the most important part of our society’s development, or the familial nurturing of a new born infant, is because that is the most important and crucial part of that single child’s brain and emotional development. That’s why. It’s not a case of ladies are better than men. So please don’t get me wrong.

    The parent that nurtures and supports a newborn and bonds with that child bonds as the Familial parent. It’s usually the mother, and ideally it’s someone that bears and breastfeeds the child.

    I hope you also have a happy mother’s day Cassie, and please take care of yourself. I agree it’s dreadfully sad that young people don’t visit their family in rest homes. Do you know why they don’t?

    Because they can’t afford to take the time off on the whole. They have to work for the man who pays them the fee to pay the fee to the man who owns the rest home. It’s so expensive that theuy feel justified in letting the staff at the rest home do that job for them. It’s such a problem, that a big reason for developing people friendly robots to perform tasks for the elderly is that they are so lonely, and bored out of their brains in their dormitories listening to the wailing and anguish of the people next door to them.

    When my grandparents were dying in the last several years, I visited them, and I planted roses for them, and I sang in the corridors with everyone else’s grand parents.

    What a state of affairs.

    But make the most of it? Being a solo parent? Maybe you didn’t read my article at all. This idea that solo mums are sitting around in rose gardens with a baby, wondering what to do with themselves is not real. It’s a mythology of the rich. Who have not got a clue how time consuming, and difficult is the business of being a solo parent if you’re not rich.

    Which is WHY I wrote the article.

    So, you see I am not a robot. I am real. I wrote the article for real people to read to help them to understand why it’s not always a bed of roses for women on mother’s day.

    If another person tells me to count my blessings or do some work, I may pop my new flower balloon that a clown just gave me to cheer me up, because my son has been with his step mother and father every mother’s day for the last five years.

    A big shout out to all the mums and dads who don’t have their kids on mother’s day. It’s one of the toughest things. Of course we make the most of everything we’ve got for the sake of our children, but that doesn’t mean, you know…

    Bill of Rights. Know what I’m saying.
    Cassie this one’s for you, I hope you have enough tea,

    Nga mihi Nui,

  4. Siobhan says:

    Its just a bit of commercial crappery, but, you know, if it gets me breakfast in bed and a nice bottle of wine, and when they were little a bunch of slap dash home made cards…..then what the hey…..I can go along with that…..

  5. Genevieve says:

    Feminism is not a fraud that’s just silly.

    • Andrea says:

      Some of the fems who say they’re feminist are most definitely frauds. And matronising. And sooo conformist.

      Meh.

      • Genevieve says:

        Look, I get a lot of condescending judgement from ALL directions. Certainly from some of my LGTBQ friends, who are disappointed when being a straight feminist actress doesn’t fit their expectations of feminism, I wouldn’t be the first.
        Believe me. Being straight is not an easy road if you’re not conformist.

        meh doesn’t really progress anything though does it?