I’m changing this posting series yet again because I obviously have issues finding my groove with it. Get ready for an exercise in (nearly) infinite scrolling.
Gifts from the Internet
…on motherhood. On being scared to have a family and to pursue your dreams.
- I had written this post before I read this, but it reaffirmed all I felt. Your words matter. People who speak of parenthood as an inconvenience and complain about their children are incredibly destructive to single men and women who would consider a vocation to marriage and parenthood, just as people who speak of their families with joy and whose homes are full of gloriously chaotic life bear the most beautiful witness to that vocation. I’m so thankful for the mothers and fathers who have unabashedly shown their love of being a parent:
These parents see their children as creative, exciting, unique human beings, and enjoy watching them grow in their own way, in their own time. When their children are young, they don’t worry about what others think, about whether their child is “advanced” or not, about whether they’ll be a straight-A student. They don’t try to cover up the imperfect moments, or wish their kids would finally be old enough for daycare, old enough to go to school, old enough to finally move out. On the flip side, they don’t “vent” about their children constantly in public forums, complaining about their problems and issues. They recognize the fact that—just as it isn’t appropriate to do that in regards to their husbands, or sisters, or parents-in-law—it’s not appropriate to do with their children, who are also people with feelings and dignity.
- Just the best article on why women will never truly be able to have it all:
Many of the women in my classes are particularly captivated by the idea that a major component of human happiness is the pursuit (if not the achievement) of moral and intellectual perfection…Like Aristotle, they are pursuing moral and intellectual virtues. And of course they are pushing themselves to reach concrete, worldly goals: to ace the MCATs, to write a really fine short story, to master ancient Greek, to play a Bach fugue with confidence and proficiency.
Yet…They sense that other activities and other modes of life offer a very different kind of good: Worship, poetic contemplation, and love are quintessential examples.
My students know that motherhood is more like these activities than it is like the pursuit of excellence. They sense that caring for others requires us to put aside (at least temporarily) the quest for achievement, not just to make time but to create space for a different mode of being. Worship and love: These require no particular talent or cultivation of the sort I have been describing. They are gifts of the self, not achievements of the self.
- Specifically on the tensions of motherhood and the artistic drive:
I don’t want to believe it — that parenting itself makes art hard, that you must always sacrifice one for the other, that there is something inherently selfish and greedy and darkly obsessive in the desire to care as much about the thing you are writing or making as you do about the other humans in your life. What parent would want to believe this?…
“but … Here’s the thing. Despite everything, I have to say that having the kids grew me up in a way nothing else could have. And basically, I needed ten years of mothering before I was like, Whoa, hey, this is what I’m meant to write. And now I’m working on a novel that I love and it feels like the kids gave me that by remaking me.”
This was a delicious week.
First off, we started with a bang with our annual spring dinner party (which in keeping with tradition was ridden by both allergies and April showers). I pretty much love seasonal parties as they give me an opportunity to tick off recipes from my pinterest boards. My contributions this year were:
- Nigella’s spring chicken. (I’d give it three stars.)
- Steamed spring veggies with herbed aioli. (four stars.)
- Strawberry and Cucumber salad with a minty-elderflower dressing Nigel Slater’s gem. Like pimms on a plate so more summery than springy but totally worth it. (five stars.)
Other seriously delicious contributions were:
- Smoked salmon crisps
- Blackberry cheesecake galette
Then the torrential downpours called for more comforting fare so we got on a soup kick:
- My sister made this parmesan soup. It’s the kind of thing that demands to be made again and again even though it’s definitely not the stuff of whole 30.
- I upcycled the leftover aforementioned chicken into soup. Shredded the chicken, added stock, and cooked and added rice.
- We had a bunch of vegetables just languishing away so I made clear-the-fridge soup on a mostly monochromatic green theme. Sautéed, boiled, and simmered celery, asparagus, and potatoes and then added scallions and a ridiculous amount of parsley before throwing it all in vitamix and then finishing it all off with heavy cream. Like doing straight shots of vitamin k.
- On the same culinary color coordinating theme, I made a smoothie with these key players: almonds, flax seed, almond milk, yogurt, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a dash of almond and vanilla extracts.
Ever since one little boy succeeded splendidly at sleep training (in one night! You the real mvp, kid), the whole having free hours in the evening has me doing a happy dance come 7:30 every night. I’ve been celebrating with too much screen time:
- Poldark. I can’t resist it with its vibes of both Downton Abbey and North and South. I’m getting way too emotionally involved.
- Less than two episodes of Kimmy Schmidt. I’m just not as charmed this time around.
- Grantchester which takes the cake for me. It’s filling the gaping void in my life that’s been around ever since I finished Foyle’s War and Rosemary and Thyme.
- Stars Wars. I finally watched The Force Awakens so we decided to backtrack and start marathoning from the beginning. We just finished slugging through the first three episodes in all their cheesy glory.
Happy Feast of St. George! Some recommended reading for the occasion.