Monday, May 01, 2006

Busy and Wonderful Week

Wow, I've had a wonderful of being on the road and talking about motherhood. This past week I was in DC not once, but twice, and over the next few days I'll post more. The first event was a talk with the Wednesday Morning Group, a wonderful collection of moms who gather at the Unitarian Church in Bethesda, deposit their children in the childcare rooms, and spend an hour listening to speakers of all sorts. It reminded me of Betty Friedan's instructions near the end of The Feminine Mystique that we moms should keep an intellectual life around us, we should have interests and new information coming in, especially during our years with young children. I wrote about this part in my book, because it's not the one-answer portrait of Friedan we always hear. It's the part where she writes about how demanding young children are. The new vision for women, she wrote, is to not have to separate our minds from our daily lives. The WMG seemed to be acting on this.

I gave one of my more political and policy driven talks yet, in part because my friend Rebecca kept telling me how much she and other moms rely on WMG for their burst of smart talk during the week, and because I figured every mom in the room knew the basics about what's simultaneously great and frustrating about motherhood. And after all, this is DC; if you can't talk politics here, where can you? And, finally, because I'm at the point of exhaustion at hearing the same thing over and over again. We've all got to start moving ahead out of the mommy wars cultural saturation we've been in.

And moving ahead means getting political. It means learning what's going on, breaking it down into pieces, and figuring out what to do, how to move ahead. It means shifting the discourse. One thing I've noticed, oh so many times, is how rarely many women--not all, but many--still don't feel comfortable with political talk. Well, we need to raise our comfort. Gain information and tools. And see ourselves--what's the phrase I'm looking for?--as political actors--as people, as citizens who deserve some change.

On Saturday evening I did a Mothertalk with Andi Buchanan and Marion Winik. This was loads of fun, not just because I was in the same room as two beloved writer-pals, but because the room--at Kakki Lewis' wonderful home in Bethesda--was filled with so many other writers and bloggers. Devra Renner, of Mommy Guilt fame, and Tracy Thompson, who has a wonderful and moving book coming out about motherhood and depression.

And drum roll please. That night I was in the room with two of my favorite political/family bloggers. Yes, Elizabeth from half-Changed World, and Brian from Rebel Dad were both there. It was so much fun. They are both lovely, and of course it's a treat to meet them in real life.

More insights to come, and I promise to provide links in the next few days, but if I stop to do it now, this will never get posted, so forgiveness, please, from all.

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