Artist: Minna Dubin #MomLists
Each list is handwritten on a 4×6 card. A layer of bright decorative paper is placed over it and the two are sewn together across the top. The act of making—cutting, sewing, hand writing, stamping—then feeling the tangible, finished product in my hands is a relief. Each piece is a clearly laid-out goal—the opposite of the uncertain nature of raising a child. The lists dangle from ribbons in public spaces (coffee shops, laundromats, community centers) looking like flattened gift bags, waiting for strangers to stumble upon them. #MomLists requires interaction. Readers must lift the pretty exterior to access the gritty, vulnerable list underneath.
The project began in March 2015, 2 years after I gave birth to my son, as an attempt to make sense of (and peace with) my new “Mom” identity. Motherhood can feel isolating. Social media, our modern-day connector, is a barrage of happy mom-and-tot selfies. I am not living that picturesque motherhood life, and my suspicion is: neither is anyone else. In search of an alternative motherhood narrative, #MomLists lifts the societal surface of motherhood and exposes a messier, more resonant truth.
#MomLists adds to conversations about motherhood by expressing feelings most moms don’t talk about in a public way. The writing is both personal and universal. This is clear in the conversations #MomLists stirs online. The project title, stamped at the bottom of each list, contains a hashtag to suggest: “This is a conversation. Go online, join in!” Each time a list is posted in the real world, it also goes up on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Moms share the posts and even contribute their own lists or make list requests. LINK
BABYSITTING INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE OLDER GRANDPARENT From MER Vol. 13
By Judy Kronenfeld
Swiftly retie your grandson’s sneakers while he insists I do it
myself! Snuggle him into
the car seat, and buckle it
(don’t awkward-angle that doddery knee!), give him plush pup and his sippy cup
and whisk him from day-care lickety-split singing wheels
of the bus wheels of the bus,
saying yes! to every gleeful TRUCK! while the leaves blaze gold
and crisp and drop
without a sound, without
a sound, and a muster of crows
flaps over the trees.
Praise the tiny tupperware cups
you must fill with raisins or
teddy grahams, and praise the lunch-box you have to find,
and the bedtime story you have to
read, and the desperate cries
for a third from the crib, Snowy Day!
Snowy Day!, before the child plummets
Praise falling into the guest bed, exhausted, with granddad, exhausted, who ran repeatedly to the slide in the playground
to grab the flame-cheeked, careening boy, and cleaned and diapered
the fusser’s bottom and hustled him
into nighttime footies, and hunted down that rascal blue cow.
Praise sleepy caressing
and sleepy forgetting warm flesh
will be ash, and gravity rules,
and granddad’s beating heart’s precarious,
In the Night Kitchen,
Judy Kronenfeld’s most recent books of poetry are Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012) and the second edition of Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths (Antrim House, 2012), winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in many print and online journals (such as Calyx, Cimarron Review, Natural Bridge, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Sequestrum, The Pedestal), and in eighteen anthologies. http://judykronenfeld.com.