Happy Marketing of Motherhood Day!

I bet you can tell by the title that I’m done with forced appreciation days. I bet I’m not alone. I bet there are a million other moms out there who would just like the world to recognize that women are human, that moms are human, that moms have too much asked of them and not enough expected of them in terms of their growth as individuals and. And. I bet you the consumer ideology that heaps a load of obligation on our backs smells really bad right now while the money rolls in and the lines queue up at the local Cheesecake Factory. I bet you.

[I bet you none of it compares to the birthing our children do of us mothers. I bet you no one has a clue. I bet you there is nothing more challenging or more beautiful or more terrifying or more heartbreaking than bringing 3 lives into an utterly mad, mad world.]

I bet you might assume this is a terrible day for me for some crazy reason. But the truth is, it’s not. It’s a day like many others, a day in which I’m contending with the very intense requirements of motherhood while juggling the fallout of others’ mothers’ fallout while everyone ignore’s the power of others in general. And a day when women are the first and easiest scapegoats in a line of ancient feminine scapegoats. But I don’t feel like one of those scapegoats. I refuse that vibe. I just know this world. And I weary of the disorders posing parenthood and authoritarianism crushing humanism and transformation. It’s everywhere, all day, everyday and it especially wreaks havoc on mothers, telling them they can never ____ and the shouldn’t ever ____ and if they fart sideways they might ruin the world. Ha, and they might actually. It’s a rigged game.

2014-2017, j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved

Here’s to mothers. Here’s to women who mother but have never felt the surreal sensation of a bowling ball-like human body coming through the most amazing otherwise recognized channel of incredible pleasure. As it turns out, being able to push ’em out doesn’t guarantee you’ll do much very well beyond that flesh-ripping moment. And it’s high time we quit romanticizing motherhood, I bet.

Here’s to people who refuse bullshit and manage to enjoy forced appreciation days no matter what they conjure of mothers’ worst reruns or best creations. And here’s to the ones who loathe it.

[Here’s to my children whose lives have ushered in epochs of gut-wrenching, heart-embiggening, tragedy-contending, beauty-bowling moments. Here’s to my children who show love in ways no Mother’s Day can convey, who shine and grow and rip up my pretenses, my pride, and my ideas of what is perfect by being gorgeous expressions of wholeness becoming. Mother’s Day can, otherwise, go fuck itself.]




Mother’s Day conjures up the many names by which we address our mothers…

Mama (my favorite)

to name a few.

My youngest son took to referring to me as “birthgiver.” I can’t read or say the word without chuckling. He has a flair for the dramatic and while he doesn’t literally call me that very often, it’s memorialized on his iPod. He receives texts from “birthgiver.” And then there’s “momnoms…” one of the often-used nicknames my middle son loves. I can’t decide which I like better. It’s a spin off from “nom nom” and appropriate, I’m thinking.

We mamas give birth, are consumed – some of us literally giving sustenance from our own bodies – and then our schedules, our energy, the old identity all of it consumed as we watch our children grow from adoring little creatures to sometimes scornful boundary-bucking beauties. And it is, all of it, beautiful. Ok, most of it.

For obvious reasons, the phrase “birthgiver” hit me today as I looked over pictures from way back before my own mama gave birth to me, to my life…

Happy Mother's Day
My beautiful Mama…

And as I reflect on mamas and life and birth and giving and consuming it strikes me how we are, all of us, capable of becoming birthgivers. I think of at least one man when that word hits my brain. So many give birth to offspring of the soul, nurturing, conjuring and calling forth dormant aspects of our personalities, our potential. It’s a beautiful truth.

My own children have birthed me in ways no others in this world, in this lifetime, can ever lay claim to… My own Mama has gifted me with a bounty of love-awareness no hiccup in our relationship can ever destroy. She is a beauty, inside and out.

j. ruth kelly, 2014, all rights reserved
j. ruth kelly, 2014, all rights reserved

And then there is the sense of a dance eternal, of a weaving and woven tapestry reaching back into fields and lifetimes centuries back…so often I have thanked my children for finding me, for choosing me to be their birthgiver. For that is what we are here for, all of us. We’re here to give birth to each other by our love and support, our encouragement and courage in truth with each other. We can choose what we allow and what we refuse to birth. Such a beautiful handiwork we can, each one of us, make of our lives and of our interactions with each other in love.

It’s an especially wonderful gift to be able to receive from those we are supposedly “in charge” of, to receive on levels that nurtures their awareness that they, too, give birth and especially that they give birth to vital parts of our own souls … just. by. being. And especially by being encouraged to question everything.

So here’s to all of the birthgivers out there and the momnom yummy folk who have nurtured soul, encouraged confidence and facilitated independence… we are all grateful for the dance.

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle . . .

My two boys are playing together quietly in their room. My daughter is passed out in her bed after a night of birthday party adventure. It’s perfect. It’s not the ideal scene for “mother’s day” but I’m a bit of a scrooge at Christmas and a hag on mom’s day. Not that I behave inappropriately or rudely, I just don’t go for this push and shove along to do what can be done any time. And is done many times…showing love, showing appreciation.

But! I’ve two new plants to put in the ground thanks to Mother’s Day. I got to see an extra high beam shine in the eyes of my children. I’ve heard from my friends and sisters and spoken with my own mom. It’s a rich bonus, I must admit, to have the extra, all-in-one-day flow of encouragement and to give it.

It was a gift in and of itself to stand by and watch a monsoon-like torrential storm usher my daughter’s party into the arms of fated fun last night, right on the threshold of “mom’s daze.” We had plans and schemes and all kinds of things to eat and electricity, games for the boys she’d invited (wow, a first) in case they got bored. And then the rain. And then the wind. And the groan of transformers failing, trying again and failing then for hours. And the fun took on dripping drenched proportions, stripping us of protocol and shyness as I dashed to cars with umbrella rendered completely useless by the direction of the wind and the sideways “falling” rain. But it was a lovely gesture, no? My clothes thought better of it.

I love how nature brings us down to our best and even to our worst. I was reminded of the best of it last night. The evening evolved into candlelight, piano storming and guitar interludes with outbursts of singing and dancing and too much laughter to keep inside. It had to spill into yard, flying up to sky. They had fun. I sat back and kept candles lit, checked the location of males and females and grinned at the revolution.

Then this morning I find brasschecktv reminding me of Katrina and how nature showered and smashed us out of illusions, uncovering our weaknesses, our unprepared state, our nation’s clueless disconnection from what really matters and the ease with which we herd and are herded without regard for dignity, respect or intrinsic worth. Such a stark contrast.

Check it out (and the blog of Oathkeepers, the group who created this video):

It puts me in a more sober mood, once again. To recognize the responsiblity of parenting includes teaching our children most especially what to refuse and why, why the freedom to run under moonlit sky without fear, without loss is tied so intimately into the freedom to stand up and draw a line and say “this far, no farther…” It puts me back in touch with the value of the one, of the lone unit, the “anecdotal” comprising “empirical” and tossing us all into a show of what’s real. It puts me in touch with the truth that we discover what matters most when we can rest in our freedom. It begins within . . . with knowing the legitimacy of our wants and needs in the middle of pouring rain. To be so sure of such value we’d never dream of robbing it or violating another in fear. And when we do, to stop and learn from it, to be changed by what nature reveals.