Mother's Day is hard for me. It's hard for a lot of people, especially those of us who have lost our mom. I felt the deep ache today, the need for a hug and reassurance that things will be ok. I'm slaying dragons right now, old beliefs, old ways, making a new path for myself and I could really use a hug from my mom.
And the flip side is that I'm not sure I want to celebrate Mother's Day at all. It has been a long hard year+ of pandemic parenting. I'm tired and flowers and cards are just not going to make up for it. And I don't feel like a very good mom right now. Battles everyday with my teenager and my 1st grader who hates zoom but also doesn't want to go to school for the 3 hours twice a week that is being offered. 59 undone assignments in See Saw, a play I'm supposed to help him practice - I don't think his teacher is thinking very highly of me right now. My 7th grader is about to explode if she has to tolerate her zoom classes one more day. It's all just too much. I want to scream. And I don't want to celebrate being a mom.
I used to say “I”m not a feminist.” And I certainly wasn’t an ANGRY Feminist! Well, middle age, the pandemic, life - it has broken me OPEN. I am ANGRY…at my husband for not seeing how much has been added on my plate, at the government for all the talk and too little action, at the men I work with who say “I’m so glad my wife is home taking care of school for the kids”. All of it. I used to agree to it, to buy into it, to think “if I could just stay home with the kids and have a husband who was a “good man” who worked for our family and provided the life we dream of/deserve/etc." The thing is, I know there are “good men” out there but they seem to be few and far between…meanwhile I know a lot of “good women” who have do what they agreed to, had babies, stayed beautiful, made a lovely home, cook amazing healthy food…the whole 9 yards…all while taking on more and more as things shift especially in the pandemic. Men still act like it’s a choice to show up. To be a dad. To be a provider. To be present. But it’s not a choice for moms. GOD FORBID a mom steps back, does what she needs to do. Then she’s CRAZY, a BAD MOM - nothing worse than that. There is an AMAZING photo of a mom holding her child close with a giant pack/sack on her back that is overflowing with all she has taken on…it is stunning and it is poignant. Because if we dare say “my load is too heavy, please help me carry it.” Then we are selfish, ungrateful, unreasonable, crazy. We are met with cultural gaslighting, family gaslighting…to keep us “in our place”. The pandemic has magnified it ALL and now I see that my only choice is to be an angry feminist. To yell and scream so I don’t forget that I’m not crazy. I am a human being. I deserve to live a balanced life. I don’t have to take it all on and if I do then I’m going to do it alone. I’m not going to agree to the “Emperor’s New Clothes’ version of partnership. I’m just not. I make more money than my husband AND provide more childcare. If I were a man then he would be expected to do more childcare. Instead, I’m expected to “make it work” no matter how much falls away…three kids out of school for over a year, with three different distance learning schedules, soon to be three different hybrid schedules and then three different summer schedules. NO. I am going to make choices that support me supporting them. I am. I am angry and my anger will fuel my fire so I can burn this shit down. Let the old ideas die. Let. It. burn. That might be my first tattoo. So I will always remember that I’m not crazy…the patriarchy is F’ing crazy. Not me. Not us. NO.
On March 30th I finished my 100 day project. I'm still drawing every day, often late into the night, posting past 12am so I guess it seems like the next day to those who see my feed. As I have shared, this has been such a gift. Last Friday I went to San Francisco for the first time in over a year and walked down a little street in the Mission that had the most amazing homes, with beautifully painted doors. I took so many photos and I have been drawing the doors all week. It has made me think about the meaning doors hold...the terms we use "Opening a new door" "when a door closes a window opens" and the doors I have walked thru, the doors I have closed, the doors I wish would open. I'm not sure where this project is leading me. I feel like mostly it has been full of learning to be in the moment. To notice things that are inspiring, to take the time to draw them and write about them, to make patterns, to be inspired by abstract collages and to embrace the best of digital media while keeping my analog style. When I think about it, it's a lot. This path is rich with discovery and innovation. I'm in an inbetween time - still more designer than artist as far as making a living, but I know I'm on the path and that feels so good. Thank you for following me, for stepping thru the doors, for imagining what is possible.
Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the right time... I long for a bygone era and yet I dream of a future that holds the best of technology mixed with the “old ways” that are so much gentler on us and the earth.