Sunday, October 25, 2015

Unapologetic Motherhood

So I've been handing out my personal business cards to people and it has this blog on it so I figured I should write in it since my last post was all the way back in July. Can I blame it being a new mother? Yea, let's go with that.

Motherhood is less maddening now, mostly because my own mother has been the biggest help. She can watch the babe if I go to networking events in the evening or when I have panels on weekends. I could leave Zakir at home when I  attend all these events but I'll be honest, I really miss him! Yes I have to leave some sessions to rock him to sleep (especially because he starts grunting loudly when he's tired) but it's still worth it to hold his warm, snuggly, chubby little body against me while I listen to presenters talk about political empowerment and activism.

Zakir and my mom joining me when I spoke at the League of Women Voters NJ Fall Democracy Forum
I know parenthood drastically changes ones life and often, ones waistline but I know for myself that I wanted to keep the parts of my life that were important to me alive somehow. This article about basically focusing on your baby and nothing else and having no friends is my worst nightmare. I seriously hope that my life never gets to that point, but is that even possible? Can you be a mom and not be holed up shut in with no other priorities except for the survival of your progeny?

 I present to you Lisa Ronzulli, member of the Italian parliament representing with her little girl

I see articles all over about motherhood and where mothers can bring kids. Everyone has an opinion, both men and women. There was an article on Jezebel, about how a mother was asked to leave a women's conference for bringing her baby. I should know by now to ignore the comments section of any online article, and this was no exception. People repeatedly agreed that babies should stay at home and that a mom should just "find a sitter".

There have been many times that I have taken Zakir out with me to women's meeting and panels when I didn't have to. I could have left him at home with my mother. However I take pride in bringing him along. I am still the old Nadia but am also a mother now and I don't understand why  being an active member of society without having to shove your baby off with a baby sitter can't be a thing. I don't take my kid everywhere- some places are not appropriate of course, or can be plain annoying or an ordeal for baby (such as all-day conferences)- but within reason I like to take him. I feel like political motherhood should be normalized. Just like the photo above. Being a mother is such a powerful thing, as mothers we are raising the future of us all. The future of our entire society! Every person comes from the body of a mother but still the treatment of women around the world and in our own backyard is appalling.

AAGGGHHHHH ::bangs head repeatedly against the same damn wall::
Being a mother is an incredible, amazing and challenging experience that shouldn't be relegated to being only within the home with your child or just taking them along for errands (unless that is fully your choice of course). Motherhood shouldn't be another excuse to marginalize women. But I think it is, in all honesty.

I'm still navigating the spaces of new motherhood along with what used to be my prior life. I am learning, I am making mistakes but I am also carving my own place with my baby. Not just for us but for women everywhere. I hope to be an example of what is possible. Motherhood is well known for its sacrifices, but not as much for its possibilities. I hope to focus on the possibilities and am going to bring Zakir along for the ride. Because what could more powerful than for my boy to see a woman rocking in the public and activist sphere? I can think of no better experience to leave him with and I hope that one day he can appreciate it. I hope one day all of us can appreciate it!

Respect, we deserve it!