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MamaBlogger365 – (Not) Fitting In As A Mama Blogger by Alternative Housewife

Monique wrote this awesome and insightful post over at Razing Mayhem and I was compelled to write my response. She talks about not fitting in with other mom bloggers for a variety of reasons, which I can relate to. I felt fairly connected when I blogged primarily about beauty and fashion, but I feel like I lose those readers when I write about infant potty training and cloth diapers. I contribute at BLW Blog, but I definitely don’t feel like part of a clique. Sometimes I even feel like a poser, not for what I say and share but for what I don’t.

I am a white mama blogger. I breastfeed, I cloth diaper, I co-sleep. Other than that, I am really not sure where I fit in.

For one, I’m a young mom and I’m not a military wife. And I’m broke. I work at home so I’m a lot like a stay at home mom but also not. We live in an apartment, albeit a nice townhouse one. We have one car, and pay our bills month to month.

I’m an atheist. Any popular atheist mom bloggers out there?

Within reason, we eat whatever. I tend towards a caveman diet but it’s not strict at all. My husband is on a renal diet that is in a lot of ways the polar opposite of what I should be eating. We try to limit fast food, especially now to set a good example, but I love me some Taco Bell. We do baby led weaning and that includes giving him small tastes of horrors like added sugar and food dyes. I also like Top Ramen quite a lot.

I try to balance fashion blogging and baby blogging but I’m not sure how cohesively my posts go together. I envy sites like Bleubird that feel like the best of both worlds, style and family. I wish my apartment was less cookie-cutter and more styled and that I wore clothes worth photographing every single day.

I don’t always mean to be, but I’m abrasive. Sometimes I wish that people would just give me a reason. I am waiting for someone to say something to me about breastfeeding in public. Last year I pissed off everyone on TheBump when I said I’d terminate a Down Syndrome pregnancy. I offend people without even trying.

I am also not a feminist, definitely don’t plan on homeschooling (or ‘unschooling’), and there is a TV on in my home almost constantly.

Do you feel like you have a place you ‘fit’ within the blogging community? Is there somewhere you wish you fit in?

Bio: Alternative Housewife is Janine – Work at Home Mama in Portland, OR. Writer/blogger, web designer and thrift shopper extraordinaire. Currently obsessed with infant pottying, floral prints and Parisian patterns. Follow me on Twitter.

This blog post is reprinted from Alternative Housewife with Janine’s kind permission — thank you, Janine!

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Photo credit and copyright Alternative Housewife; all rights reserved.

MamaBlogger365 – Let’s Strike the Word “And” by *Dr Mama* Amber Kinser

I have this idea. What if we were to strike the word “and” from the English language? How terrible would that be? I’m thinking maybe not that terrible. Since I use it to connect and even begin sentences in all of my blogging, and even in my published print writing, in total violation of what I was taught in school, I’d have to rework a lot of things, including how I think and how I tell a story and where ideas begin and end and all that, and how I’d write this very sentence without it.

But I think there would be some serious benefits. I brought this idea to my friend Kelly not long ago. We were sharing stories about the challenge of getting children to a point where they can tell a good story, and the somewhat excruciating experience of hearing the details of their lives as they see it during the years preceding that glorious point.

As a bit of a talker myself and as a professor of communication, I certainly hold high the value of processing one’s life verbally and in the company of others. In fact, my partner very recently took a trip to Ireland with his sons to explore his family roots, some known and some newly discovered. What I probably missed the most was his conversational companionship. We talk through every minute detail of our lives, it seems, on a regular basis, and it has become an important part of the foundation for how I think and live and make decisions.

In the absence of that daily conversation, I felt mentally constricted for the two weeks he was gone. So truly, I find conversational processing of one’s day to be a necessary thing. And I do think that kids practicing this skill in their families is a good thing. I also think that once they reach the point in maturity where they can do some good audience analysis and shape their communications according to what might work best for that audience — in this case their family members — then conversation with them becomes something that is easy to engage with and enjoy. But wow… Till then… Yikes.

So, I was talking with my friend Kelly about family storytelling, especially that by young ones. I had recently survived some agonizing version of a tale by my son and thought that the real culprit in the agony was simply the word “and.” I wondered out loud how long a story could possibly last if one was unable to connect an endless stream of rather unassociated thoughts with one simple syllable. I mean, surely the fact that all those thoughts are unassociated would become clearer to the child, right? And surely the work of making those thoughts feel like a story would present a challenge for them so great that it would seem hardly worth their effort, right? And surely then the sheer number of stories told by little people with scarcely the skill to tell them would decrease? Or at the very least the same number of stories would be shorter? Right?

Now the disadvantage of striking “and” from the English language, from the point of view of parents, is that we too would lose the ability to connect a bunch of disconnected thoughts. I know my own father would really hate a world with no “and.” I base this knowledge on his “and another thing!” strategy for scolding us when my siblings and I were little. He would rant about one thing or another, storm out of our rooms and flick off the hallway light switch. But we never breathed a sigh of relief after that because we knew it was hardly over. Within a few minutes he would flick that hallway light switch again, storm back in with, “and another thing!” and then rant about something else we had done which he’d decided he’d kept quiet about long enough and now that he’s amped up he’d go ahead and cover it. I am choosing not to think about how much I’d miss the word. It’s such a good one. And maybe it’s not feasible, striking an entire and enormously important word from a language. But it would be fun for a while.

BIO: Dr. Mama (Amber Kinser) is a writer, feminist mother, professor, and speaker who lives in Tennessee. Check her out on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @DrMamaWit, and see her webpage. Kinser writes for the MamaBlogger365 series each Thursday at the Museum Of Motherhood, Mamapalooza and Mamazina Magazine.

Support MamaBlogger365 and help the Museum of Motherhood secure a permanent home in 2011!

Photo credit: Colored Pencils by Petr Kratochvil

MamaBlogger365 – The School Year’s Almost Over by Veronica Hosking

Big thanks to Veronica Hosking for sharing her school year photos with us, and for the reminder that taking pictures can be one of the best ways to remember this motherhood journey…

The school year is rapidly drawing to its end — the last day is Friday! Did you know May is National Photo Month? Here is the 2010-11 school year in review with photos. Mom took all photos. And there you have the 2010-11 school year in pictures.

Veronica Hosking

MamaBlogger365 needs you! Tell us how you’re re-framing motherhood and help the Museum of Motherhood secure a permanent home in 2011!

Photo credit: Photographer by Anna Cervova

MamaBlogger365 – The Guilt Complex by Dorothy Sue Laqua

Two of our sons and I had a conversation about my divorce and remarriage to another man. When my first husband divorced me, I remarried within eight months to a neighbor man. I had four children and he accepted them all. The marriage was good for the first five years, but shortly before his mother died he became violent. It was almost overnight that I became the target of his obsession and the children became targets also. Within eight months after the first strike and pulled gun. I and the children left him and went into hiding for an entire year.

My overwhelming guilt all these years was that he had abused not only me but the children, that the abuse was my fault, and that fault carried with it shame. Trevor said, “Mom, you had no way of knowing what was going to occur.” Scott said, “Mom, it is not your fault.”

But I was steeped in the social construction that defined motherhood in our generation. We had two jobs: keep our husband happy and protect the children. If I could teach another woman one thing, it would be to teach her that it is not her fault. The shame should not be carried on her shoulders. We need to reframe the social construction of motherhood, and teach society’s institutions that one of the worst oppressions women face is the socially-constructed idea that we are responsible for the violent behaviors of our men.

BIO: About Dorothy Sue Laqua: I am a 51-year-old woman who is currently attending Minnesota State – Mankato and will be receiving my BS in Gender and Women Studies. I have worked in the human services field all of my life with Developmentally Delayed and Mentally Ill clientele. I earn a master’s degree in my field of study with an emphasis on Ethnic Studies, and would like to work in a reentry program for women who have been incarcerated. I believe these women are the most marginalized in our society, and understand that they are stuck in a revolving door with no way out of poverty. Many of them are mothers who have little chance of rejoining their family and making it safe. I know that being a mother and a feminist can sometimes be at separate ends of the spectrum as we try to protect our daughters and in the same breath give them the freedoms of choice and equality. I have 4 children, and two step-children. I fostered two grandchildren and helped raise three young multi-cultural women. I also have seven grandchildren to complete my family. My husband and I live in a small agricultural community and spend a great deal of time volunteering by helping older persons or persons with disabilities.

I have just opened up a new blog at http://breakingthesilence-sue.blogspot.com.

MamaBlogger365 needs you! Tell us how you’re re-framing motherhood and help the Museum of Motherhood secure a permanent home in 2011!

Photo credit: Waiting by Kim Newberg

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