*as far as I know, there’s no such thing as the slow parenting movement, but I made it up last night when I couldn’t sleep.

There’s a lot of “slow” movements these days, and while it’s true I’m a card-carrying member of a local farm share, cook my food more often than unwrap it, wash out my plastic bags, and am secretly proud of the occasional crafty project I manage to complete, none of that has any real bearing on “slow parenting.”

So what do I mean? I mean slow to figure it out. I mean hello! you’re not alone anymore. No more month-long sojourns at artist colonies where they bring your lunch to your door in a basket, and then tiptoe away, lest they disturb your tender creativity. I mean no more late nights with the wine bottle, late mornings of just you, a cup of coffee, and the blank page. I mean you staring you in the face in the form of your sobbing/defiant/contrite/ demanding/ impossible/amazing child, you up against the wall with every button pushed, slow to realize: it’s too late to run away and join the circus.

By now you’ve probably figured out that if you’re in search of parenting advice: look elsewhere. I’m no one’s role model. What I am is in search of a new way to be, a new paradigm for the frustrated artist/writer/mother I grew up with and felt myself becoming. For so long, almost everything I read or saw said: you can’t do it. You can’t be a successful artist and be a parent, too. Not if you’re a woman. Women artists end up poor, alone, crazy, head in the oven. And while it’s affirming to know that I’m not alone in my struggle, it’s also kind of debilitating. Does that have to be true? And what does “successful” mean, anyway? Who decides?

This blog is the place where I’m going to bring those parts of myself together that have not been so comfortable. Let’s see if they can co-exist. Right now it’s pretty peaceful here–lots of black space, blank posts, no comments. Kind of like when I don’t have to work and my kids are at school. I’m not sure I really want that to change, but I’m here, so I must.

First and foremost, I want to share my experience as a woman trying to be a mother trying to be an artist/poet.  My children are now 14 and 11, but I think we need to begin at the beginning, that is, with conception. So  each week I’ll try to post an installment of my slow parenting odyssey, along with various oddities that reflect my current situation.

Are you a member of the SPM? Tell me about it!

2 thoughts on “*as far as I know, there’s no such thing as the slow parenting movement, but I made it up last night when I couldn’t sleep.

  1. Carol Purington says:

    Woodslawn Farm
    April 22, 2011

    Dear Amy,

    I love the phrase “slow parenting”! I suspect, from your poem “In the Treehouse,” that I would agree with the concept, assuming you have defined it by now. From my first encounter with that poem I have felt that tender connection with it that one develops for a work that speaks for your own childhood experience. Our farm has a sandpile bounded by a ledge that serves as stove, and I have spent many hours there – as child, older sister, and aunt – cooking up and consuming a smorgasbord of dandelion pies and buffalo stew.

    “Of All She Surveys” resonates afresh with each rereading of those words “you’d think I’d know plenty.” I love the way the poem moves from details to gratitude.

    Thank you for allowing Susan and me to include both of these wonderful poems in Morning Song. Thank you also for telling about the anthology on Pokey Mama.


    Carol Purington

    • pokey mama says:

      I’m glad you came to visit at Pokey Mama. I so appreciate your response to the poems, and I’m pleased to be in Morning Song with such good company. You and Susan have done a lovely job with the book–thank you for your hard work!

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