I am not like other mothers

Even when I’m not thinking directly about motherhood and its claim over my identity, whatever course of thought I am pursuing often brings me back to it somehow. It seems to seep into my reading and viewing choices, fiction and non: the book I just finished, Angelika Schrobsdorff’s You Are Not Like Other Mothers. The Canadian TV show Workin’ Moms on Netflix. The news coverage of highly consequential court cases regarding abortion access. Unless you live in total isolation from society, you, a mother, are going to be getting some feedback from the world about how you’re doing in the mothering department. Maybe you’re not leaning in enough at work or maybe you’re not sacrificing enough of yourself to your children; from the moment your embryo is detectable, people are going to have thoughts for you. Your motherhood cannot fail to make its mark on every other part of your identity, even if it is one of the few characteristics you share with over 2 billion other humans living on Earth, or as Katherine Goldstein put it during a guest appearance on Mom and Dad Are Fighting, “literally the least interesting thing about [you.]”

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The wall calendar of my discontent

While in Paris, I did something I have not done lo these many years: I bought a wall calendar. Between Google Calendar and the ubiquity of wall calendars as tools for soliciting charitable donations, my calendar needs have been largely met for at least the last decade. The Middlebury College annual calendar always features some really lovely shots of Old Chapel in winter and other such iconic seasonal landscapes. It makes a nice office-wall adornment, though I often forget to turn the page when the new month arrives. This calendar, on the other hand, is a Joan Miró calendar from the Grand Palais in Paris, an impulse purchase at the end of a meander through the exhibit halls that had been both too short and too long. Before I could think it through, my hands were on it, my credit card was out of my wallet, and I was signing here.

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