For most of my adult life I have been a stay at home feminist mom. Yes, you heard that right— feminist and stay at home— in the same sentence. I call myself a feminist because the most significant relationship in my life has been based on an equal partnership and I call myself a mom because I understand the strength and power that comes from a deep mother love—regardless of who brings in the big bucks. This force of power which comes from a sheltered, stable home is beyond the value of money. It comes from a place that is secure, safe, and sacred.
Like everything else, it has been a struggle to reconcile my walk and my talk. It’s really, really hard to stretch between paying bills and putting food in the mouths of our family. But when all else fails, family trumps bills, as we follow this value system on a roller coaster struggle to support ourselves. From the point of view of mama, if you don’t eat well, it will cost you in the end. If you don’t nurture yourself and your loved ones, what value does your life hold?
Besides, like the ghost of Christmas past it will come back to haunt you. (Thank you, Margaret Atwood, for adding value to this metaphor in Payback.) You just can’t steal the calcium from your bones, or the minerals from the land, and expect to stand tall. You can’t feed a nation empty calories, any more than you can feed it endless fear.
I have been a stay at home feminist radical homemaker who breastfed her children into toddlerhood, and nurtured the individuality of each family member without stomping on them, me included. So it’s this crazy wild haired super mama perfectionist dreamer who has not been afraid of putting her hands in shit that is speaking now. Yes I said the “s” word. My apologies to anyone who is offended, but Mothers are all about getting their hands dirty. We clean up the shit, because we love. Putting roses or fluffy pink sentimental flowers over the word doesn’t make it any less real or any less needing to be cleaned up. And people, it is time to clean up the shit. From the bottom up, and the top down (especially the top down) we need to start asking ourselves, what would a mother do?
And I’m not talking about a strung out stretched-too-thin single mom on food stamps struggling to pay for heat. I’m talking about a healthy supported well-loved mother who has the time to know out how her children are doing and who has the resources to feed her children with all that they really need. She’s a mom who turns off the TV and pulls the plug on the videogames and kicks you outside to get some sunshine. She’s a mom who’s educated enough to know that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are just that NEEDS. (If you don’t know what they are, look it up!)
So at this time of great sorrow, when the house is crazy and there is shit everywhere, we need as a nation to give ourselves a moment to grieve. We all need to laugh, cry, scream, argue with God (or whoever we perceive to be a higher power), and we need to find safety in the arms of loved ones. We see that happening everywhere these past few days, people calling each other to say “I love you.” And once we’ve given ourselves time to breathe, heal, and reconcile with our personal spirituality; we need to clean up the shit. We need to ask ourselves as a nation, What would Mother America do? Mothers need to balance the nature of how this nation is run. We’ve allowed the Father hunters to stay out too long, and we’ve forgotten we have the powerful voice to say, enough is enough.
We need to stop declaring wars if we don’t have the resources to help our returning soldiers to heal, from cradle to cradle because a soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder will pass that onto their children as easily as DNA. We need to stop polluting our air and water because every mother knows we are not supposed to shit in our drinking water. We need to become a good steward of the land and stop the devastation of the Amazon because it is literally the lungs of the earth and if we think global warming has caused devastating storms how will it be it we cannot breathe? We need to cherish life itself.
Seriously, I could go on, and on —but you get the point. What would Mother America look like if She has equal power to Father America? Bankers? Seriously what about the families on the street because of your fiascos? Monsanto, you need to sit in the corner and think about your lies. You are so resourceful boys (and girls) maybe you can find something better to do with your talent! Which of course leads me to the whole military industrial complex— what would Mother America do about that? And how will You walk Her talk?
I am a crazy wild haired super grandma perfectionist dreamer. And I’ve lived long enough to know you don’t respect me. And that’s the problem. We’ve lost sight of our nurturing values. Feminists might think motherhood isn’t a true career, while the Christian Right would like me to go back to the hearth and shut up already, because on some level they have both bought into the money is everything game. Congressmen will kiss my granddaughter and patronize me with a smile. We’ve got to stop being a nation of mother patronizers and become a nation run by Mothers in equal partnership, because honestly the old school patriarchy has stepped over the edge and it’s time for mothers to clean up the shit.