a slightly different kind of mother’s day message.
greetings from havelock north, aotearoa/new zealand. it’s day 48 here. later today, jacinda ardern, the prime minister over here and mother-supreme (she’s been potty-training a toddler while leading NZ out of this pandemic with total and utter grace and candor) is going to announce whether the country is going to loosen restrictions.
nobody knows what’s going to happen.
ash hasn’t played with another child his age in about two months.
on that cheerful note…..happy mother’s day!!!
we are doing okay down here, and i so appreciate everyone who’s taking time to check in and send love.
what a sweet, sad, warped world we are all living in right now.
i would love to hear your voices….mothers, mom-figures, dads, parents, care-takers of the young. i’ll have a little more time to read things later in the week. i’ve got ash on my own for the next few days and then xanthea’s back in the saddle to help. she’s been a god-send.
to all of you raising children right now, the journey has altered, that’s for sure. and for the family connections that are getting frayed and tightened…things are shifting in all sorts of directions that make us examine the deeper threads of what parenting is all about. i am only at the beginning of the journey with my little elf.
i would love to hear what’s on your heart, and what you’re going through, and i’d love to offer your some words of comfort from over here in my own strange little lockdown corner, with ash, who’s now four.
in the big “unclickable heart” post that tied together a lot of your lockdown comments and stories, i started a little file on my laptop called “THE CHILDREN QUESTION”, and i cut and a few comments from people, mostly about their newly-found fear and ambivalence around having children. minds were changing.
i’d wanted to write something tying all of those stories together, and i’ll still try to do that when i get a little bit of time back to myself.
right now i have very little time because i am, poetically, spending pretty much all of it raising a kid.
i am not gonna resent it, the work its doing on my insides is something that will grow into something else, and it’ll all blossom at the right time. turn, turn, turn.
i am only able to write this post because i’ve just sent my child for a Time Out, because he had a mild tantrum, took the mother’s day card that’d we’d drawn for my own mother and violently crumpled it up, heading for the fireplace, declaring “NOBODY CAN HAVE A CARD, EVER AGAIN”.
then he raised his fist at me.
time out for him, mother’s day blog time for me. we are in a small cold war in side-by-side rooms.
at least we have two rooms. many mothers right now do not have that luxury. all active mother-figures everywhere are working overtime right now, and they deserve all the love and compassion and praise that we can possibly pile on them. i’m looking at the statistics and stories about domestic violence every day and crying. at least i have all this privilege, and all this space, and all this food food, and all these people i can call on …. so many mothers do not.
but i also wanted to send a different kind of message for a smaller sub-group of people out there.
echoing the posts i clipped from the lockdown stories….i have been getting all sorts of comments on social media lately asking “if i regret having a child”.
if i were someone else, someone who didn’t speak openly and deeply about my life, those comments would probably be seen as offensive.
but they’re not, because i’m me, and i like talking about my feelings.
i feel honored to be asked, especially because the questions are coming from younger folks (women mostly) who are scared and confused.
so i’ll try to write a longer post during the week, because the topic stirs me deeply, (and i also imagine you all have quite a bit to say and share about this, and i’d invite you to do so in the comments.)
but meanwhile, on a mother’s day in lockdown where it’s been a big, loud, confusing mix and barrage of emotions….especially for those who didn’t have children, couldn’t have children, lost children, or are scared and ambivalent about even having children, i have some words for you, too.
if you are a mother who’s lost pregnancies, or lost a child or children, i feel for you today., so deeply. it’s so very hard in the best of times and these are not the best of times. i send you all my love.
if you wanted children but were unable to get there, my heart is beating along with yours. if you are a person who decided to mother things or beings other than children….i feel with you today. your choices are real and valid and i see and love you, and i praise you for whatever you’ve decided to mother. we all find our paths.
if you are pregnant, i am thinking about you today and i hope that you feel safe, and protected, and at ease….and i hope you have a community that is enfolding you in their arms, even if it’s just digitally, to get you through what’s already such a fragile life-moment. i all must feel so, so strange, and maybe lonely, and i send you all of my love and all of my strength.
if you happen to be lost in uncertainty, i love you especially today, because it must feel very, very scary right now looking out at through a maybe-mother-to-be’s eyes.
what should i do?
what is going to happen?
it’s echoing in many heads right now.
you’re not alone.
while coronavirus rages through our world, we still grapple with the same old questions and things that people always grapple with. pregnancy, and whether or not to do it. accidents. miscarriages. abortions. family planning all around, and dealing with the complications that go right along with it all.
all of these things are still happening every day.
i am thinking about all of you who are going through these things, and i am holding you especially in my heart, because the world is such a disconnected, lonely place, right now. and we don’t have the shoulders to lean on that we usually do. if you need a shoulder, you can have mine.
to all the people who have shifted their lives right now to care for children…your sibling’s children, your housemate’s children, your partner’s children, your ex-girlfriends children….believe me, i know it’s all happening….thank you. thank you for doing what you’re doing. thank you for taking care of … The Kids.
i wished xanthea a happy mother’s day yesterday, because she deserves the sentiment. she’s a friend from from melbourne who turned into a mom-figure almost overnight, and she’s brought her whole heart and soul to the task….and i cannot imagine what my life over the last month would have been like if she hadn’t been helping to raise, teach and protect my kid.
all over the world, we are all just doing what we can to keep the boat afloat and to keep things as un-weird as possible for the kids.
i have three or four friends who are pregnant right now.
some of them don’t know what their immediate future holds, or even where they are going to be able to live. for me, remembering how disorienting it was to have a baby, period, and i am trying to graft the terror of post-corona-new-york on top of that and my mind just melts.
i can understand how, right now, parenthood can start looking like a cage instead of like a joyful and lovely thing to do.
so this is a final little message not just to the mothers, mother-figures, and all the quietly-just-getting-on-with-it children-care-takers out there under the COVID sun, but a message to all the moms-to-be, or maybe-moms to be:
don’t be afraid.
there are good people out there everywhere, and you and your child, real or just a figment in your life mystery right now, will be okay.
you will be okay.
it will be okay.
i don’t have a crystal ball and i cannot predict the future, but i do know that there is an incredible amount of fierce compassion and goodness in our society, behind all the darkness we see on the surface, behind the screaming tweets and flaming newspapers and fire-and-brimstone apocalyptic predictions for the future.
i know, because when i had my child, strangers everywhere opened their arms, hearts and homes to me. they saw the panic in my eyes, and they knew when to call in the dead of night, and they often gave me refuge of all kinds.
not because i was amanda palmer, but because i was a scared woman with a child who needed help.
it is happening right here, right now, in new zealand, as people find out about my situation. ash is currently in his cold-war time-out bedroom wearing the hand-me-downs of a 7 year old girl in the neighborhood. (he looks adorable, even if he did throw my mother’s day card in the fire).
people will help you.
the world may make you think otherwise right now, and i am here to remind you of the inherent goodness in a lot of humanity. it’s real, it’s here in this community, and it’s all around us if we trust in it.
take a deep breath, future mama.
you will be okay.
it will be okay.
and i love you.
and here’s the final hero of the post…my mom, katharine mockett, for whom my crumpled-card was intended.
i don’t think i’ll ever be able to quite thank her enough for giving me a chance to be here on earth. here we are a few years ago at the house i grew up in, with almost-1 year old ash.
for everything you’ve ever done….
to the rest of you all, everywhere, no matter what you’re going through….
hang in there.
easy does it.
a crumpled card is still a card, and you can always rescue shit from the fireplace as long as you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.
——THE NEVER-ENDING AS ALWAYS———
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