Monday, October 04, 2004

What's a Mother Need to Know?

What does a mother need to know?

That's the final question I posed today to Judith Stadtman Tucker, the editor and visionary force of Mothers Movement Online. It came at the end of a long interview. For those who don't know Mothers Movement Online (, check it out. It's an online voice for smart motherhood and for mothers who want to think about parenting in a social and political framework.

I interviewed Judy because the final part of my book talks about efforts to make social change, both DC and state capital policy and legislative action, and more grass roots efforts, too.

Judy runs Mothers Movement Online on her own dime, and through her own effort. It's not an organization, it's just her, and it's her fulltime unpaid job. Her desk's in the middle of her house, and her writing takes place amid her two boys moving through.

So what does a mother need to know? Her answer: "that motherhood takes place within a social context. It's not confined within your heart or within the four walls of your home. The expectations we have of mothers and the outcome of mothering are very much shaped by values, by how our society is ordered. Mothers need to know how to develop some critical awareness. This gives mothers the ability to step back and say, this is really hard, but it's not something I'm doing wrong....The most important thing a mother can know is, it's not all about you and what you do. There's a much bigger picture, a whole network of social conditions that affect the way we can mother."

Book news: my title has been changed. Good bye to Playground Revolution. Hello to "The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars."
It's a loss of poetry in the service of a literal description of the book's contents. It wasn't my idea. It came when my editor presented it to national book buyers at the presales meeting last week. Apparently Playground Revolution was too scary, combined with a gritty urban playground on the cover. I'm still in lost-book-title grief, but as Andi Buchanan, author of the amazing Mothershock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It, said, at least we get a kick-ass title for the blog!

I'm two weeks or so from finishing.

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