Oct 142007

There is this interview-thing going around. I asked Liv and Flutter to send me questions and they both did. Very good questions. And it took me a long time to answer these, sorry. (And I’ll answer Flutter questions soon. I promise.) So, now you get the answers to Liv’s questions:

1) You knit, sew, sing, cook–and all extremely well. Where do you find the time to engage in these arts?

I had to laugh when I read this question for the first time because, well, it’s nice of you to appreciate my cooking when you have never tasted it… Also, to be frank, my dear husband is the one who cooks most days. His cooking is marvelous and very inspired so that even my very picky parents eat everything he makes. So, I like cooking but I don’t do it every day. Most days if I cook at all I make things like frozen pizza. (When I told my husband about this question and my reaction to it he said, “But you’re a good cook!”)

Finding time for knitting is very easy since I can do it while talking with people or watching TV. And since I have returned to a schedule of almost daily watching of “Angel” I have about an hour each day for that. And it’s a time when I am too tired to do anything else.

Sewing happens in bursts. I declare to my family that I want to make something and then vanish with the sewing machine for a day or two. Usually on weekends. Last week I made a bag for my son and he played with buttons and “helped” me.

Finding time for singing is harder for me but then I sing a lot when I teach. Especially with singing students but also when I teach guitar because I then sing along with the songs. And I try to sit down almost every day and play a song or two. Playing the piano or guitar for me is inextricably linked to singing.

2) Mommy guilt is clearly on your mind. How viscerally do you feel this? Do you think that talking about our perceived inadequacies as mothers is somehow a disclaimer if our kids don’t turn out “right”?

I still want to write a follow-up post on that mommy guilt one in which I’ll try to explain that I don’t suffer from guilt very much. To me it is a collective phenomenon. I have never thought about it like a disclaimer. That would explain a lot. I do strive to become a better human being and that includes becoming a better mother. I don’t believe that I’m the sole source of my son’s happiness or well-being but of course I have a great influence on his life. I’m constantly trying to balance his needs and mine and when there are conflicts and problems I try to find a way that works for all of us.

On second thought I don’t think that “talking about our perceived inadequacies as mothers” works like a disclaimer. There are two sides to this: we as women and as mothers have been taught that we are never enough, never good enough. We feel that we have to do everything perfect and right. Since we can’t, we feel bad. The second one is that as bloggers we use this forum to talk about the sides of motherhood that we deem inadequate for polite everyday conversation. I don’t remember where I read it but a blogger wrote that she once talked to another mother in her playgroup about some aspect of motherhood that was not about nice and happy and she was met with a very blank look and treated as a pariah afterwards. A lot of mommybloggers use their blogs to write about the dark side of motherhood. And that’s a good thing.

3) I really loved your post about “pink shoes”. As the mother of a five year old boy who was recently found applying Disney princess lip gloss and proclaiming his lips to be “sparkly,” I have to ask: Is there, in your opinion, a line that we should draw as to the beautifying/fashion habits of our boys?

In fact I wrote three posts on pink shoes… Here’s the first, the second, and the third. I don’t think that there is a line that we should draw with our boys but since they are so young and only start to learn how things work it is a good thing to caution them. I won’t let him wear something to school that would make other children make fun of him without talking about it to him first. Also there are different kinds of embellishment. Sparkly lip gloss doesn’t show much and can be wiped off is the wearer decides to be manly again. Nail polish is something else. I wouldn’t buy my son a skirt but I’ll happily improvise something for role-playing.

I don’t mind if boys and men wear skirts, high heels, make-up, or nail-polish. It’s only fashion after all. For a while earrings are considered very manly and then fashion changes and they are feminine again. It’s just that I would do my son a disservice not telling him that people might find it odd if he wears something unusual.

4) You recently mentioned pulling a card from one of your oracle decks. How often do you do this? How much do you rely on the wisdom you are given? How great do you believe the accuracy to be?

I do this almost daily. They are often astoundingly accurate, sometimes in ways that I couldn’t imagine when I looked at it in the morning. On the other hand there is not one card in those decks that doesn’t give good advice… Since these cards all have a phrase written on them I find them easier to understand than tarot cards which I use too.

How much I rely on them … that’s hard to say. They are just a tool that I use to tune into my intuition. They are very positive.

5) How is the wiping with cloth thing going? My chief concern was that the hot water/detergent, etc… would create an environmental impact roughly equal to using paper. Please give us an update.

It’s going well. We continue using it. Sometimes we forget to wash the wipes in time and then we use toilet paper instead. It’s all very easy-going. The hot water and detergent doesn’t make an impact. All the wipes that we own together are only a fraction of a load of laundry. So we just stuff some wipes into a mesh bag and wash them with whatever laundry we have going on at that time. (We’re only using them for pee so they are not that dirty.)

On my post about the cloth wipes somebody mentioned cloth diapers and the environmental impact of washing them. All I can say is that if they are used for more than one child the energy and such used to produce them plus the washing makes less of an impact than even the most eco-friendly conventional diaper. Since my cloth diapers were used by another child before, and the cloth for my cloth wipes is thirty years old and has been used as a blanket for two babies already, all is well. Also we don’t soak them and don’t use a dryer.

But I do find it interesting that people who never think twice about using copious amounts of paper products and throw them away suddenly get very concerned about the environmental impact of my washing machine when I mention something like cloth wipes or diapers. (No offense, Liv, I encounter this kind of reaction very frequently. Another example would be people who don’t think about where their produce comes from twice being very concerned about my organic vegetables. “Are they really organic?” “And what if they are as polluted as everything else?” All I can say is that at least I’m trying to encourage a different kind of agriculture even if it doesn’t work perfectly all the time.)

For me it isn’t only about the counting with these things. Somehow a glass bottle that’s brought back to the juice company and then washed and used again feels better than a tetra-pak even when it’s recycled. Even if I’m told that the former is not as environmental-conscious as the latter. Somehow I doubt if we are able to count everything in…

If anybody wants five questions to answer, ask me in the comments. I’ll try my best. As all things these days it may take a bit of time though.

  8 Responses to “Interview by Liv”

  1. These were totally fascinating. i am especially impressed and slightly enchanted to think of you singing and knitting with the same frequency that I do.

    I like you.

  2. Great questions and answers. I love learning new things about the people I read. 🙂

  3. fantastic answers and it also shows how much you give of yourself in the blog that Liv found such interesting questions to ask. I agree with the comment above learning new things about people is fascinating

  4. I have a gold polish I put on Lorenzo’s toes during the summer. He was thrilled, although he’d probably prefer bright red. One day I noticed it was gone, but I’m not sure if it wore off or if my mother removed it.

  5. Sort of off topic, but because of you i ordered diva cups yesterday for my daughter and me.

    Still not sure about the cloth wipes though, maybe someday.

  6. As flutter said:

    I like you.

  7. great answers, I particularly liked the ones about how you help your boy decide what to wear – it seems only fair to warn him, but also so great that you don’t discourage him.

  8. I agree with your take on guilt and mommy-blogging. I sometimes find that commenters assume I’m feeling guiltier about something than I am – I blog about some of those things because I can’t talk about them elsewhere, not necessarily because I’m feeling uncomfortably guilty about them.

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