MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

By

Visit M.O.M. Today [CLICK]

VISIT MOM: Eight months after re-opening the Museum of Motherhood in St. Petersburg, Florida, the M.O.M. Art Annex has enjoyed visitors from all over the country. To schedule a visit write us: info@MOMmuseum.org. See just a few of our visitors here:

CONFERENCE: Our first “I ❤ MOM” Conference” titled Mothering from the Margins was a truly inspiring two-day event with a packed house that took place during Valentines’ week in February. We are in the process of editing and uploading content from the conference to the Journal of Mother Studies (JourMS), as well as crafting next year’s CFP.
COMMUNITY: The local Historic Kenwood Artist Enclave has been busy organizing of community events, including the Arts Walk last March. Their new enclave motto “where art lives” is particularly salient considering we really do live and work at the museum.

RESIDENCIES: Thus far, M.O.M. has hosted three residencies. In January, artist and activist, Christen Clifford arrived as our first guest and spent two weeks editing her latest work. She returned again in July. Also, we saw the first summer Spirited Woman Residency with Dawn Louise Parker who has been hard at work on her manuscript titled Forty-Seven Days of Love. Dawn continues to manage the M.O.M. space while editing her manuscript and we are grateful for her participation. In October, we will welcome Hannah Brockbank who will be joining us for a two week residency. Hannah is a poet hailing from Sussex, England. Her pamphlet Bloodlines will be published by Indigo Dreams in 2017 and she is a Kate Bett’s Award winner (2016). Hannah is a PhD student and will be utilizing the Demeter Library onsite among other things. Read more about our residencies here [LINK]

INTERNSHIPS: We currently have several calls out to local college students for internships for the fall of 2017. Our high school intern, Andres’ has been with us since the spring and is a St. Pete High School senior. He is hard at work cataloging our library and creating a new student exhibit for the fall.

ONLINE: In July of 2017, according to our google report 4,239 conducted searches and found us online. We are happy and proud that people are thinking about us. We hope that we can continue to expand in our new location. If you have ideas or want to get on board, please write Museum Director: Martha Joy Rose at MarthaJoyRose@gmail.com Introduction to Mother Studies classes will re-launch with a new partnership sometime within the next six months – stay tuned.

By

The Art of Motherhood

Since immersing myself in the motherworld in 1989 I have observed the rise in the visibility of humans engaged in the practice of birth and caregiving. This visibility has translated into music, scholarship, literature, theater, and most recently a rise in fine artists lending their passion to making video, photography, paintings, and performance. I am thrilled by this because making the labor, love, and struggles of motherhood visible lends itself to introspection, observation, and contemplation of mother-work, mother-identity, and the ties that bind. Indeed, I feel blessed to have been born exactly at this time and to have been an active participant in this process. As Alana Ruben Free said to me the other day after an especially tedious and frustrating week, “at least we changed the world.” Martha Joy Rose

Please enjoy the beautiful work of Ana Alvarez-Errecalde here [CLICK}

“Birth of My Daughter”

Ana Alvarez-Errecalde

Ana Alvarez-Errecalde

By

The Motherhood Double Standard

Mary_Poppins2

For my work, I am the nanny to an adorable “four and three-quarters” year-old boy. He is extremely bright, sweet, friendly, and funny. I pick him up from school five days a week, bring him around to his after-school activities, cook/feed him his dinner, and supervise his bath before going home. With his school being across town from where he lives, we spend a decent amount of time on public transportation. Every time we go on the bus or train, we inevitably make friends with the people sitting near us. The boy I look after (we will call him Alex for the purposes of this blog) loves to engage passersby/fellow commuters in conversations and tell them a funny joke, share the most recent piece of knowledge he has acquired, or get them to try and venture onto his plane of imagination. This also goes for MTA workers that we encounter on our travels. Alex always greets the bus drivers when we step on-board. We have even come to know a few by name. I have found that a fun activity to plan while waiting for buses is to have Alex try to guess whom our driver will be that day.

The other day, per our routine, Alex and I got on a bus and, being that we didn’t recognize that particular driver, Alex asked him his name. His name was Tommy. We introduced ourselves to Tommy and found a seat in the front between a woman and a man who, having overheard Alex’ precocious approach to the driver, were excited to meet him. Cracking up, they remarked to Alex how funny they thought it was that he had asked the bus driver his name. This started him talking animatedly to them.

At one point in the conversation, gesturing towards me, the man referred to me as Alex’ mother. Alex, being the smart little whip that he is, corrected the man and informed him that I was his “caregiver.”

“Ho, ho,” the man exclaimed, sitting back in his seat and looking at Alex, surprised. “Tell me, [Alex], does your mommy work?” When Alex replied yes, the man pressed on. “What does your mommy do for work?”

Though seemingly benign, the more thought I put into this man’s reaction/line of questioning, the angrier I became. I have come to the conclusion that this man’s reaction signaled one of two things: he was either judging Alex’ mom for employing a nanny when she does not work, or judging Alex’ mom for working and therefore, needing a nanny. Either way, both are emblematic of a gross double standard when it comes to motherhood in our society. If this were not so, then surely the man would have asked “Does your daddy work?” too, or even at the very least, “Do your mommy and daddy work? What do they do?” Instead, to him, the presence of a non-relative female caregiver indicates a motherhood gap, which is why his thoughts when to her immediately.

In the end, Alex never lost his cool for a second and went on to tell the man and woman how his mom is a lawyer, which is much more than I can say for myself in the situation. No doubt similar reactions like this will reinforce for him that people think it odd that his mother is partner at a major law firm, works long hours, and is the breadwinner of the family, especially as he gets older. My wish for him is that he will always maintain the same cavalier attitude when he responds, and that he will appreciate that he has a pretty special mom.

Written by: Jenny Nigro, MoM Online Intern

By

Community, Caring, and Education [CLICK]

Next_GenerationThe Museum of Motherhood (M.O.M.) is an exhibition and education center dedicated to the exploration of family – past, present, and future. We highlight the many roles of women throughout history and in contemporary culture.

In our museum space we provide mothers, fathers, youth, caregivers, and mothers-to-be insights into what they will experience as parents and how to handle it. We educate them about the emotional and physical aspects of child rearing, exposing them to different global traditions, and giving them insights into the context of mothering in the social sphere in which mothering is done.

Institutions can create a positive sense of community and an increased sense of connectedness. We share library books, films, collaborative art projects, and conferences, often at little or no cost to make cultural literacy available to those who might not otherwise have access to these types of resources.

The need for M.O.M. is highlighted by the work of the feminist movement, the gender agenda, and global women’s health initiatives.

Precedence for M.O.M. has been established through the initiatives of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the International Museum Of Women and the First Ladies’ Library. They are all positive contributors to expanding education about women in history. But our intense focus on the motherhood, fatherhood and caregiving roles opens the conversation to unlimited opportunities for exploration and documentation within the sphere of procreation and sustainability, not to mention how humanity hopes to evolve.

The development of a “Motherhood Movement” during the last twenty years as well as other mother-related literature and the explosion of “Mom Blogs” and awareness of the “Mommy Wars”, have impacted the vast social, economic, and cultural landscape. Thus, the expanded museum exhibit space and educational facility that we envision will be eminently worthwhile. Together we will be putting the subject of motherhood and family on the map.

Our long-term goals include the acquisition of a permanent physical space to house M.O.M. as we continue to develop our traveling exhibits and online initiatives, which include courses in Mother Studies, the MOM Directory, and the student run, Institute For Family Research and Development.

By

Reflections on My Mother at Christmastime

128px-The_Christmas_carolI suppose that people establish holiday traditions based on the customs they have grown up with in their families that soon become intermingled with their partner’s when they start a family together. I can’t say for certain whether it was my mother or father’s side that started this tradition, but in my family growing up, gift-giving holidays were a big deal. Living in a house with two sisters, ours was not a family where toys were handed out all year. There were no occasional rewards for good behavior or “just-because” gifts given during the year. The truth was, other than the worn-in toys and hand-me-downs that sustained us through the year, new toys only ever made their way into our lives on two occasions: birthdays and Christmas. But unlike other kids who got toys randomly during the year or who saved up their allowances to get a prize, we got a half year’s worth of toys at both Christmas and our birthdays.

This made Christmas extra-special for us. Inevitably, we would write our lists to Santa (informed, most likely, by commercials that had played in the last half hour of TV), and not only would we get everything on our lists, we would also get a very welcome handful of toys and games that we hadn’t thought to include. I took to writing my letters to Santa, listing all the new toys I wanted and adding a line item for “any extra surprises that I may like.” On Christmas morning, the tree would be littered with so many presents that you couldn’t even see the floor. This was our tradition, and I loved everything about it – from reminding Santa of the annual surprises, to racing from our bedrooms at the crack of dawn to open our stacks of presents on Christmas morning.

The year after my dad left the house during my parents’ divorce when I was fourteen years old, we were sure that this could not continue. We felt the impact of the loss of my father’s income in the house for certain. My mom, now a single mother with two daughters in high school and one in college, surely could not be expected to carry out the tradition of bombarding us with gifts for the yuletide holiday. We made our lists shorter, no longer the scrolls of games/toys that we would play with for a few days and forget a week after Christmas. It was the dawning age of personal technology and everyone was going mobile. My sisters and I had wanted cell phones that year, but figured it was a pipe dream. The only ones on the block still using a VHS player, we didn’t dare get our hopes up for a DVD player. Not this year, we figured. We didn’t want to put any pressure on her.

On Christmas Eve, we went to bed, grateful to be with each other at the holidays. We could get used to Christmases with just Mom; it felt more peaceful, anyway. To us, that was worth more than the mounds of presents with our names on them, so we snuggled in, satisfied. On Christmas morning, we woke up early and headed down to the tree with lowered expectations. We peered into the room and assessed the scene. The tree seemed to twinkle in the same way it had the years before. We glanced down at its base. The sparkle of the green, red, gold, and silver wrapping paper caught our eyes in the same way it had the years before. We saw the towers of gifts, piled up with little tags made out to my sisters’ and my names, stacked up in the same way it had the years before! We looked at one another, smiled, and took our places in front of the mounds. As we tore into our piles, alternating turns unwrapping, we glimpsed a similar looking package in all of our stacks. We decided to open them at the same time. We held our breath as we pulled back the Scotch tape and colorful wrapping paper. As the package began to become more visible, we knew she’d done it: she had somehow managed to get us each cell phones. We had a million questions, but somehow knew that it was all part of Mom’s magic.

After each of us had unwrapped the presents from our mounds of gifts, my mom pulled out a large box, which she happily announced was a “family present.” This was something new. Because all throughout the year, having two sisters meant that we shared everything, we usually got our own individual presents at Christmas. Who would open this “family present?” We decided to do it all together, Mom included. We tore back the wrapping paper to reveal a brand new DVD player. “But…what? How? How did you manage this? “ we asked her. “I got it on Black Friday. I got a great deal. Seriously, guys, don’t worry about it. It’s about time we get with the century and start watching DVDs.” Black Friday. With the exception of when my sister worked retail and had to go in early on the Friday after Thanksgiving, none of us had ever partaken in any Black Friday shopping. This year was different, and of course it would be. This was the first year that it was just Mom and us. Perhaps Black Friday shopping would be a new tradition for us, and we could get down with that.

As I think back on impressions of my mother at Christmas, I realize that even twelve years later, not much has changed. She still spoils me. Even though the type of presents I ask for are a little different (hello, utilitarian gifts…food processors, bed sheets, and clothes), I still look forward to the gifts from my mom most. And she always manages to throw in some surprises that I might like.

Written by: Jenny Nigro, MoM intern
Photo source: Public domain photo, Wikimedia Commons