Welcome to the first installment of Pokey Mama, my slow parenting odyssey. First, some back-story:
When I turned 30 I quit my full-time job as director of an arts council and decided to “be” a poet. It had taken me two colleges, six years and much flailing about to finally get my undergrad degree from Syracuse–a BFA, Selected Studies in Visual and Performing Arts. Selected Studies is a very special degree for TWCD’s (Those Who Can’t Decide.) I was kind of a painter but kept putting text in my paintings. I wanted to work in a museum but hated my art history classes. Most of all, I loved poetry, but after two particularly debilitating creative writing workshops, decided I would never write again.
I did stop writing for about five years, but eventually a friend of mine talked me into trying a community-based workshop and before I knew it I was underemployed and brandishing an MFA in Poetry from the low-res program at Vermont College. So it was the 90’s, I was married, working part-time, trying to publish my first book, get into artist colonies and then, at the age of 35, I was accepted to the Breadloaf Writers Conference as a “waitress” with a bunch of post-grads in their 20’s. They were a talented, interesting bunch (I could name drop) and it was fun, but they were young, I was not and it was a little weird, like being a den mother at a camp for over-achievers.
Long story short—toward the end of the conference I was in the laundry room talking to a couple of “fellows” and found myself declaring that I was planning to get pregnant. Their reaction was interesting—a little impressed, a little creeped out—like, have fun with that. Like, there goes whatever “career” you might’ve had. I could see them crossing me off some kind of invisible list while I went on folding laundry, already sunk in the ho-hum, Cinderella watching the step-sisters primp for the ball.
Yes, I said, I think it’s time. But inside all was not well. Just about everything I’d experienced screamed NO! Go back! Right? It’s hard enough being a woman artist, add children into the mix and it’s lifelong obscurity/head-in-the-oven time. Either you’re shuffled off into the compartment labeled “domestic” (read irrelevant, minor, who cares) “crazy” (see oven, above) or worst of all “feminist” (writing about your life/body in a way that’s not sexy).
I don’t know why I chose to make my declaration of impending maternity at that moment. Maybe it was the ticking clock, maybe all the pseudo-mothering I’d been doing, maybe I was a little allergic to the heightened colony atmosphere, or maybe I was giving up. (More on that later.) But once I’d said it, I could feel it was true. I was going to do it. And once decided, I figured the hard part was over. I’d go home, my husband would be happy to see me, presto-chango! Baby! As it turns out, this was a bit of a mis-conception (sorry, the pun is too good to resist).
9 thoughts on “Pokey Mama Begins”
Okay, you had me at “like being a den mother at a camp for over-achievers.”
amy… love the blog! can’t wait to read more…especially lovely with a warm latte on a cool morning!! jenn
love the easterish eggs!
Thanks, I’m glad those came through. I’m still figuring out what works in terms of scanning images and uploading them to the site, and i was afraid they were too small to read clearly.
HI Amy, enjoyed your posts and looking forward to more! I love the idea of “slow parenting!”
I’m staying tuned, can’t wait to see how you got here.
Great visuals, Amy. Congrats–can’t wait to find out what happens next!
(In the department of comrades being creeped out, I got pregnant while studying with an Olympic equestrian. “Better you than me, dear” is what she said. Never forgot it. Turns out she was right.
Cliffhanger! I’m laying on the couch with my laptop whilst all the boys miraculously sleep, but in my mind I’m on the edge of my seat!
(The rainbow & bluebirds? Awesome.)
LOVE the graphic. And the tone of this. I greatly look forward to more more more.