Apr 102008


Time for the Just Post Roundtables again! For those of you new to this this is a monthly thing where Mad, Jen, Hel, and I collect links to posts about social justice. Everybody can send links to posts written by others or themselves, and then we end up with a nice list of interesting posts.

Did you realize that it has been three months since the baby shower? Back then we wanted to do a little more than just write about social justice and so a couple of us decided to take action towards social justice too. How has it been going for you? Were your commitments doable? Fun?

I still feel like I should be doing more but that’s a feeling very familiar to me, and applicable to all aspects of my life so I just tell that nagging little voice to shut up. And go on knitting tiny socks. (I committed to knit at least one pair of preemie socks every month for Frühchenstricken.)

Even small actions do make a difference. Really. So here’s the roundtable list for you:

Beth with Have you gotten greener?
Beyond the fields we know with Thursday Poem – Testimony
Bob Dylan with Arbor Day
bon with In Praise of Universal Health Care
Carrie with People are people
Chicky Chicky Baby with Both ends of the spectrum of animal abuse
Daisy with Stranger than fiction, my job is, Teddy bear, teddy bear and Politics as usual – or not
Fretful with Sense of pride
Gary in Thailand with Free Tibet
Gina with Three trillion dollars, four thousand dead, five years, one man and Not your sweetie
Girlgriot with Believing the hype
Heart in San Francisco with What art is not
Jen with My sad lament and Unhappy Anniversary
Julie Pippert with The United States: it’s okay, it’s an easy mistake to make
Kelly with Anti-poverty protesters shut down city council meeting
Kevin Charnas with Running to save
Kevin at Life has Taught Us with Olympic Spirit and Is this the Olympic Spirit?
Kyla with What would you say? and The Interview and Where I’m Not
Lost White Kenyan Chick with Food for thought for International Women’s Day
Maithri with Beyond borders
Mary with Five years forward, a thousand years back
Mir Kamin on BlogHer with Attention 8-Year-Olds: You Should Be Pampered, Primped, and Hairless
Mother-Woman with Where Was I?
No Caption Needed with The silent costs of war
Pixiedust with Great-full Friday: Community
Reluctant Housewife with My Gayest Look
Sandra with I am not an aboriginal woman
Superlagirl with The drymouth will fade, but the involuntary movements are yours to keep forever
Susanna’s sketchbook with We can do it
Susanne with Body image, or Would you recognize your own belly button?
Suzanne Reisman on BlogHer with Legalize Prostitution
The Expatriate’s Kitchen with Is it just me
The Elementary with Everything we have , One for the road and No man is an island
WhyMommy with One regret

Some of the Just Readers

Please check out what Mad, Jen, and Hel, are saying this month too. Thank you all for participating by writing, and reading.

Mar 102008


It’s time for the Just Post Roundtable again. You might have noticed that I haven’t written anything about social justice this month. In a way this was due to the fact that I had too much things to write about. If only I could find a way to siphon my thoughts directly into the computer I would have one or two posts daily. The things I wanted to write about but haven’t were:

1. Women’s Day on March 8th. Sadly gender still is an issue. Those of you who can read German might want to have a look at the short post Frau Kaltmamsell wrote about that. For those who can’t, basically it quotes an article that reminds us that while more than half the human beings are female there are still a lot of areas where there are only men to be seen. (For years I had a graph hanging at my wall showing how in academia women make more than half of the students but only something like ten percent of faculty members.)
2. V-day. I received an e-mail about this which I’m quoting:

V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues. This year, 2008, marks V-Day’s 10-year anniversary. To date, V-Day movement has raised over $50 million and educated millions of people all over the world about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it.

3. Goods4Girls. An initiative started by Crunchy Chicken. She is working with organizations to distribute cloth menstrual pads to girls in Kenya and Uganda so that these girls can stay in school. You really should read the whole story on the Goods4Girls site.
4. Elections and voting. Voting is very important because it’s one of the few ways we can change anything about our local politics. In my head I had a long post all mapped out about the moral dilemma of whom to vote for. We had a few local elections here, one of them was about electing the town’s mayor. I didn’t know whether to vote for the candidate that I agreed with, who was very likely not going to win, or for the candidate that seemed the lesser evil against the one that I absolutely didn’t agree with. (In the end I decided to follow my conscience. “My” candidate had about 10 % of the votes. The one whose policy I heartily dislike had 45 %. Interestingly he didn’t win but there will be a second ballot, a second chance.)

I know this is a bit much for a mere introduction to the roundtable, I apologize for that. As usual, don’t forget to check out what Jen and Mad are writing too. Hel won’t join us this month but you might want to go to her place anyway because there are pictures of puppies. (And who can resist puppies?)

Aliblahblah with Imagine
Attila the Mom with Language is powerful
Awake with Cyclical
BipolarLawyerCook with Free school lunches and social stigma
Cecileaux with Yes, we can vote for a black man and No-cajones congress
Celeste with Immunization controversy and The revolution will not be televised
Chani with Put a little love in your heart and Sacred life Sunday on Saturday
Crunchy Chicken with Using your sewing skills for good, and Operators are standing by
Cynematic with Unable to mind my own beeswax part 2
Deb with Naivete
Eileen with home visits in America
Elspeth with What the Dream House was/is for: building dreams and a real house
Emily with Real dads don’t suck and Her name
Gina with vote and wasteful
Guilty with an Explanation with Ain’t nobody’s business if I do
Gwen with Say it absolutely nothing
HeartFeldt Politics Why we must embrace controversy
Her Bad Mother with Juno’s Choice
Ian with Emerging from the mines at last
It’s Not a Lecture with Facebook: Still clueless
Izzy with the one where i get all aggro and lecture everyone
Jangari with Eleven years in the making, The Prime Minister who apologised and Sorry business Jen with Water boarding and other unnecessary evils, Little big girl and stars in their bucky eyes jo(e) with Filled with Groceries
Julie Pippert with Putting a face to the health care crisis for kids (and families) as health insurance options expire and vanish
Karen with Super Tuesday
Karen (needs new batteries) with Just call me Rosenblum Hussein
Kevin with 935 lies
Kyla with Hate to waste $30
League of Maternal Justice with I need to start somewhere
Liz at Los Angelista with our acceptance of the code and religious freedom
Mary with No good answers
MOMocrats Women with Just call me Hussein: The meme
MOTR with more evidence emerges about dangers of EBA exposure
No Caption Needed with The evolution of violence in the 21st century
Pundit Mom with Super Tuesday not so super
Reality Testing with In the mix: Helping our children become successful in school and in life
Sarcastic Mom with Carroll Community Cleanup
Shakesville with Call to action to help tornado victims
Sin with Backwards in Time
Surrender, Dorothy with The US and our spy satellites: Fear disguised as concern
Suzanne Reisman on blogher with Women are Dumb. Let’s Educate Girls and Boys Separately! That Will Solve Everything., Would the American Economy Collapse if Women Stopped Hating Their Natural Appearance? A Look at Makeup, and A Letter to My Body
Wayfarer Scientista with Bird friendly coffee/chocolate
Writing as J(oe) with Teaching in the dark

Feb 102008



It’s time for the just posts again. As every month there is a wealth of blog posts to read about social justice. As every month Mad, Jen, Hel, and me are collecting them with your help and write a bit about something connected to it.

I don’t know if you have seen it but last month there was “Blog for Choice Day“. I didn’t know until Mad wrote about it. (You can find the link to her post and another one by Thor in the list below.)I had all but forgotten about the whole pro-choice issue until Mad told us about her volunteer work. Then I remembered that this is something I believe every woman should be able to decide for herself. Whether to become pregnant or nor, whether to have a child or an abortion.

The legal situation in Germany regarding abortion is a bit strange but it boils down to the fact that you can get an abortion by a trained doctor if you’re less than 12 weeks pregnant and you have jumped through a few bureaucratic hoops. (Of course it’s much more complicated in real life, we’re talking about German bureaucratic hoops here.) Oh, and it’s covered by health insurance. So that might be the reason why that particular issue hasn’t bothered me in recent years.

Unlike what conservatives are saying though it’s not a stroll in the park to have an abortion. Not that it should be, I think that is a very grave decision to make, but fear of punishment is not what is getting abortion rates down. For all that is known so far the best to get women to have the babies is to give them the feeling that they will be cared for. That they have options. And, well, having access to contraception may also be a factor. From what I know it’s the US that has the highest rate of teen pregnancies in the Western world. (For further reading on this topic I recommend Suzanne Reisman’s post about “Victorian Times…” also in the list below.)

On another note, how are your baby shower gifts coming along? I kept my promise to knit at least a pair of preemie socks every month, in fact I made three so far. I’ll add to that so that there will be all pairs, don’t worry.

Alpha Dogma with Happy Period
Andrea with Apocalypse for one
Blue Mountain Mama with I first saw her at a kid’s program
Bohemian Creations with The machine
Bohemian Girl with Paraben Free
Carrie with My little philanthropist
Casey at Expectant Waiting with Actually, YOU need to seek help for my PPD
Chani with Midnight in our souls and Retirement of a cultural dissident
Chez Kirby with Taking Chances
The Cleaner Plate Club with My first boss, and what she had in common with a cloned cow…or a mad one
Dave with Words. Tone. Death
DAYSGOBY with Trial and error
Defiant Muse with bratz dolls and string bikinis for toddlers
Elderwoman with why hasn’t everybody turned green yet Pt. 1 and Pt. 2
Emily at Wheels on the Bus with Blog for Choice Day
Ewe are here with Just a quick note and Why our next election can’t come soon enough for me
Gina with not my god and big bad wolf
Gwen at Woman on the Verge with We real cool and And I Would Walk 5 Thousand Miles
it’s not easy being queen with his dream is still my dream
Jen with oh george, how i loathe thee and don’t you know i’m talking about a revolution
Jen Lemen with Everything we needed
Jen M with Philanthropy Thursday: Haiti
Jess with one step at a time and beloved
Julie Pippert with my big pink elephant for hump day, When it comes to sexual harassment, it’s the little things that bleed you to death and To the Sexual Harassment Google Searchers…
Kevin with Operation Climate Vote Relaunch
Lucy with We do not need rulers, we need rules of law
Mad with Blog for Choice Day
Mouse with Don’t Tell Me How to Talk About Sex and The Talk
No Caption Needed with Love in the ruins
No Impact Man with A balanced approach to climate change
Not Hannah with Enough. No more.
Peter with The politics of greed
R World with Secret decoder ring for Bush’s state of the union address
Seventh Sister with The last hours of ancient sunlight
Sin at Write About Here with tenuous
Slouching Mom with Wherein I’m dismayed to find that old and young are not always antonyms and What happens to a dream deferred
Snigdhasen with Daughters of the soil
Susanne with stifling the urge to learn
Suzanne Reisman on blogher with Why We Vote with Our Uteruses, Standing Up for Working Women & Child Care Providers, Because “Nobody Really Likes Hair in their Private Regions…”, and Victorian Times or Comprehensive Sex Ed: Which Method Do You Choose to Prevent Teen Pregnancy?
Thor with Blog for Choice Day
Uppercase Woman with Take the baby to prison day
Wayfarer Scientista with last native eyak speaker dies and energy & google earth

More shower gifts
Christine at Running on Empty with December Just Posts: A Baby!
Mary at Them’s My Sentiments with About the Gorilla in the Living Room
Suz at Within the Woods with Late to the Party

Mary Murtz

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Feb 022008

I’ve been thinking a lot about schools and learning the past days. It all began with the question of whether our son should be starting elementary school early (that would be this fall) or regularly a year later. I had been thinking about this already last year. In all the thinking and talking to kindergarten teachers (“Better wait.”) and the pediatrician (“But of course he has to start school this fall!”) I got totally emotional and nervous. And I wondered why. Because, truth to be told, I don’t think that it really will make much of a difference for our son and both ways would be sound. And, as much as we can tell so far, he probably will do well in elementary school. Either way.

I only realized why I got all worked up about this when I went to look at a nearby Montessori school. I entered the classroom, I saw the teachers, I heard their presentation and thought, “That’s how school is supposed to be!” And I realized how much I had suffered as a child in school because I had to learn so slowly. I didn’t get top grades but basically I just sat there, made an attentive-looking face and thought of something else.

I’d like my son to have the chance to learn as fast or slow as he needs to.

The other thing that has me all worked up is the Bavarian school system. When I studied music education I learned a lot about the various school systems in the different parts of Germany. When my husband and I got married, and when I briefly worked as a music teacher in a Bavarian school, I told my husband that we had to move somewhere else in case we had children so that they didn’t have to go to school here.

All in all it’s a jumbled mess of reformed reforms, of decision made hastily and then altered because it all didn’t work. That’s possibly true of most institutions but the Bavarian school system is especially prone to promote only a few elite students and leave the rest behind.

There are only very few students who still love knowledge and learning after leaving school even if they have been successful there. I can see it right now at kindergarten level when dozens of people tell my son that he should be glad to still be in kindergarten because he won’t be having any time for playing anymore once he’ll start elementary school. (Which is crap by the way, school’s from 8 to 1 and they don’t have much homework the first two or three years.) I see it in a kindergarten teacher telling another parent – while I and our two children were standing nearby – that it’s a shame, the things first graders have to do these days in schools, some of the lessons were too hard even for the kindergarten teacher!

And then, in third grade, it gets worse because then the children are pressured to get good grades otherwise their chances of getting access to a college or university education later in life will be minimal. (Really.) And if they get top grades and get admitted to the Gymnasium the fun only begins. With the recent reform of the system joy of learning and knowledge has a very hard time in school today. “Learning” is again used as a synonym for “cramming as much facts in your head as it can hold until the next test and then forgetting all about it”. Learning is considered to be hard, to be something one only does when forced to, something that isn’t fun for sure. And it’s not as if the students were taught how to learn, it seems as if they just get fact after fact dumped on them, without any strategies of how to deal with that.

I, on the other hand, still believe that learning is fun, that it’s something that occurs naturally, and especially that children are eager to learn as much as they possibly can. Just like Maria Montessori did.

In order to have our son visit a Montessori school we’d have to pay about 350 € every month for school, have him driven to school to the next town, and we’d have to be lucky to get him in since there are much more people interested than they can take. Regular elementary school is free, it’s nearer to our house than kindergarten, and it has to take him by law.

Those of you outside Germany might ask why I don’t homeschool him, seeing that I am that passionate about learning and a teacher on top of that. Well, homeschooling is illegal in Germany. This goes back to the 19th century when children were forced to go to school for the first time ever, even those whose parents depended on their labor, like farmers. I always believed that this is a good thing that it makes society a bit more equal.

But now that it is about my son I’d like him to be a bit less equal, or better yet, that all the children can have access to schools where learning is fun and where both teachers and students are looking forward to go to every day.

I know that there are still a lot of children in the world who would love to go to school and can’t. Children who have to work for money like they were adults, children who’d love to learn anything, and can’t. But still I’d like to live somewhere where learning is driven less by fear and more by enthusiasm.

Jan 102008


Now, this is the just post anniversary. A year ago there was the first social justice roundtable where before there had been nothing. In fact, that social wedding was the reason that I found this particular corner of the blogosphere. De wrote about that wedding, she posted a picture of her own wedding day and the lyrics to “One”, and that moved me to seek out Mad and Jen who came up with this idea. And I promised to write something about social justice once a month at least. A promise that I kept, mostly, with the exception of March. (And this month you won’t find my post on the list because I forgot to nominate it. But that’s the beauty of being one of the hosts, I can point you towards it now: “Healing the World“.)

Since it has been a year of talking and writing about social justice, we decided to go a little further, to have a baby and to ask people to volunteer. I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant at first. I’m always reluctant to commit my time or energy to something new. But then I did want to do something. And I realized that it didn’t have to be something really big. Just small and doable would be enough.

My first thought was forcing my students to do regular performances at the local retirement home. But my heart wasn’t really in it. Also, the students wouldn’t have liked it. But then I allowed myself to think even smaller. And I found something totally unspectacular. Something I already have started doing, actually. I’m committing to knitting a pair of socks or a hat, preferably both each month for “Frühchenstricken“, that’s a German project to knit for preemies.

Just last week I found a similar American project for those who, like me, might be interested in doing a bit of social volunteer work while sitting on their own sofas watching TV. And then there’s “project snuggle“:

Project Snuggle- A project of knitted bears for police to take to child victims of domestic violence. Simple, really yet so very absent in the world of charitable knitting.

I would totally support this if it weren’t crazy to ship hand-knit stuffed animals half-way around the world.

Knitting for preemies warms my heart. At first I thought it was all about the fun of knitting doll-sized tiny socks. They are so cute! And almost instant gratification. But then I found that I also liked it because I was born too early myself. And at a time when my mother wasn’t even allowed to touch me for weeks. Now that I am a mother myself it rips my heart to hear her tale of how she stood in front of the window, looking at me every day for four weeks until she was allowed to take me home.

When I posted about this project the first time, thinking that it wasn’t really making a difference if I knit six pairs of socks or not, Sofia wrote a comment saying that her own daughter had been a preemie and how it warmed her heart to see that someone, a total stranger had taken the time to knit something for her daughter. And I thought back to the time my son was born, and though he wasn’t premature, I also wondered who had knit the horribly striped booties that he wore in the hospital. And while they were indeed very ugly I also knew that they were made out of love. Not for a child or grandchild but for some baby that person had never seen.

And that sentiment, love for human beings that we have never seen, is what brought forth the just posts and now the baby shower.

So, without further ado here is this month’s list. I’m really humbled by all the people who have committed to do volunteer work, and if you have too and your post is not on this list, please leave it in the comments.

Laura at Twenty Five Days to Make a Difference
Lawyer Mama with Christmas in Omaha
Magpie with 13 Ways to Help
Painted Maypole with God loves Fags
Reluctant Memsahib with it’s the corruption that’s the problem
Victoria with Give
The Chick with AIDS facts you should know
Jeff with Bless the invisible children
Mir on blogher with Dutch Diplomats, a Korean Adoptee, and the Unthinkable
Suzanne Reisman on Blogher with Dec. 17 is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers and When Will We See Some Female Geeks?
Chatoyance with Books will fly through the air for children
Jenn with full circle
Sin with 28
Frieda with What I would pray for, if I prayed
Hearts in SanFran with Only the good die young
HearthTalks with Putting it in perspective
Liz with AIDS: No longer your friendly neighborhood appetite suppressant
Chani with Sanuk is not a four letter word
Veronica with Give
Jen with it’s coming on christmas, two little girls, two little girls, pt 2
Lost White Kenyan Chick with Electioneering and corruption
Laloca with Joseph Heller couldn’t’ve come up with this
City Girl with thinking out loud
Ida with Gay and Homeless: The numbers to back it up
Quaker Dave with There are no words
Denguy with Everyone should eat
Jangari with Intervening into the intervention
Emily with Lazy mother’s guide to saving the planet
The Individual Voice with Christmas in Iraq and Afganistan
Babylune with it’s series of posts culminating with the generous december group writing project
MauiGirl with No more death penalty in New Jersey
Reya with What’s important
The Psycho Therapist with If you can’t find money to kill people

Baby Shower Gifts
Jenn with Let’s change the world, shall we?
Omaha Mama with Giving more and Teaching to Give Back
Andrea with Enough, again.
CCE with A words: Altruism and Asceticism
De with Oh baby,I can help
Sage with Birthing in chains
Karen with Baby shower treats
Alejna with Gifts and thanks
Jennifer with New Year’s resolving
Reality Testing with Project Snuggle in conjunction with Flutter’s original idea in 2006 there once was a girl
Aliki with Newton’s third law
Painted Maypole with Unto us a child is born
Sin with Win-win
The Psycho Therapist with On giving to organizations

Those who listened
TIV: The Individual Voice
Painted Maypole
Mayberry Mom
Pundit Mom

And as always you should also check out what Jen, Mad, and Hel are writing this month.

Dec 102007

Welcome to this month’s just post roundtable where we all share links of posts about social justice. Each month I contribute my feeble six or so links and think, “This month the list will be really short.”, and each month you all take part and the list is long and rich and wonderful.


For an introduction this month I’d like to point you to a post by Frau Kaltmamsell titled something like, “Being a woman is bad for income and career“. Though written in German it might be interesting for those of you who can’t read that, too, because she points us to a study in Harvard Business Review about “Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership” (and a book of the same name). It says in short that the metaphor of women hitting the glass ceiling has outlived its usefulness because gender bias hinders women’s careers from beginning to end. Still. I find this very sad and not at all surprising. The difference in wages between women and men in Germany, by the way, is bigger than in most other industrial cultures. Because we have these spectacular benefits when having children, for example we can leave work for up to two years or so with a guarantee to have our old job back afterwards. (I#m really not up to date on this because they change it on a yearly basis.)

So, to all the women out there who think that we don’t need feminism anymore because we are all so totally equal I say, “Stop kidding yourselves.” And with this not so very uplifting news get yourselves a nice beverage, sit down and visit all the beautiful posts our fellow bloggers have written the past month.

aimee with Where does your Candidate stand on Healthcare
azahar with Thought for the day
Beck with Welcome to The Macho World
BipolarLawyerCook with Your own best advocate
bon with Other Pictures
Chani with Blog Blast for Peace: If not now, when? Passing through the Gates, Horse Manure, and Gays in the Military
The Cool Mom Picks’ Safe Toy Guide
Denguy with Bad Plastic, Bad Bad and ‘Tis the Season
Devra at DC Metro Moms with What About the other 9 months?
Erin with It’s That Time Again
I am the master evil genius with What does need look like?
Jangari with Toilet culture, Exodus, and Four Corners on the Intervention
JCK at Motherscribe with We are all connected, we cannot be ourselves without community
jen with Power to the people who need it most, Tradition, Choosing and doing and going
jen at MOMocrats with Power to the People (who need it most)
jessi with Donorschooseorg–helping teachers across the country
Julie at Using My Words with Blog blast for Peace, Does the abstinence message for drug use work?, Let’s Get it On: Abstinence only sex education is risky and ineffective, Does putting the arts at risk put kids at risk too? and Inconvenient Truth: A Transcript of my testimony to the EPA at the NESHAP Public Hearing
Kayleigh at Another Working Mom with I’m Dreaming of a… and Holidaze
Kevin at Life has Taught Us with Your signature does make a difference
Kyla with Healthcare is a bitch
Laura with A more important PSA
lori with Thoughts for the day
Mad with SOS? You can’t be serious
Mad Organica with Tell Your Girls to Call for the Ball
Madame M. with Plan: Freezing butts, Stargazing and Retail (couples) therapy
Mary G with Charity begins at home
Mel from Actual Unretouched Photo with The Homeless
Pundit Mom with Do Republican Candidates Care About Women Voters?, You Know This Would All Be Different if Men Could Breastfeed and A Promise to American Women
Roy with Intersection of racisim, sexism and commerce
Sin with Seasonal Angst Disorder, Part 1
Suzanne Reisman on blogher with For a Good Time, Call a Feminist (Not that You’d Know This From the Media), No Smart Woman Left Behind and What’s Bugging Women?
Thordora with Murders are Not Monsters; they’re men
TIV with Post-traumatic stress disorder and ripples of trauma
Wayfarer Scientista with The Spilling of Oil

Thanks to all who provided the links:

Lawyer Mama
Pundit Mom
And please go over to Mad (who did most of the work this month), Jen (who is back from traveling), and Hel (who has been a bit busy these past weeks). Each of them writes their own introduction to this list, and they are well worth reading too. I hope you enjoy the links and come back to participate next time when the just post roundtable will turn one year old.

Nov 092007

Welcome again to the October Just Post roundtables. Every month Mad, Jen, Hel, and I present a bunch of links pointing towards blog posts about social justice.


I don’t know if you have heard about it but Chani from Thailand Gal started a blog carnival accentuating the positive. I like that very much and so I want to write about something positive as an introduction to all the fabulous posts that come together in this space.

I remember, a little more than twenty years ago, when people started to be concerned about the environment for maybe the first time ever, I had heated arguments with my father about recycling and such, and he said, people would never do this. Lia wrote a post last month and reminded me how much has changed over the years here in Germany. Especially in that regard. I read somewhere that Germans are recycling champions. I can tell you why: the government decided that it was a priority (but really it was the people because the green party kept growing and growing), and then they made it easy to recycle and hard to throw things in the trash.

Germans don’t recycle this much because they are morally superior but because they want to pay less for garbage removal. But really, Lia says it so much better than I, go over and read her post please. Anyways, even my father who thinks that collecting trash for recycling is stupid puts everything in his yellow recycling bag and has several separate trash bins to collect compost, and paper, and glass, and plastic, and all the rest.

So, change does seem possible. And ever individual counts.

And aren’t you glad that for once I managed to write something short in this month of NaNoWriMo, and NaBloPoMo? But please don’t let that stop you from enjoying the wonderful posts on our Just Post list this month:

The Just Writers
Aliki with Affordable Guilt and on unreasonable expectations
Blog Antagonist with Not a drop to drink
bon with Dear Margaret Trudeau
Chani with Restorative Justice … and when community comes together
Crazymumma with Untitled and i just left my yoga class
Get in the car with Philanthropy Thursday
Glennia with why poverty matters
Her Bad Mother with No Shame
Jen with Respect Your Mother, 13 million reasons, little boy lost and
my first mothering
Jennifer with potatoes for dinner
KC with A physician’s perspective on universal health care
Mary Alice with Philanthropy Thursday
Mother Woman with On
the library strike

Painted Maypole with My Pink Ribbon and gratitude and giving
Slouching Mom with Smog
Sober Briquette with This pacifist gets all patriotic
and Sunday dinner left-overs
Susan Wagner with Wrinkle in Time, or Thoughts on Turning 40
Susanne with Art and creativity are pivotal
Suzanne Reisman on BlogHer with More Contraceptive Use, Fewer Abortions and with Combating The Stereotypes and Injustice Surrounding Male Rape
Thordora with Mentally ill lighter sentences
Maggie with Respect and Old Age and environment
League of Maternal Justice with Mission #3
It’s Not A Lecture with something good in facebook for a change
Mom’s Speak Up with American People = Bush’s ATM
been there with BlogDay for Mothers ACT
From the front lines with Philanthropy Thursday
Cecilieaux with what makes pedophiles look good
A Commonplace Book with nooses: why now?
Snoskred with please help do what you can to stop internet scammers NOW
Jenn with do you know me
Julia with what’s in a number
Thordora with It’s not so easy being hard
Julie with Imagine, tie a red ribbon round my daughter’s wrist and take me to toxic town
Biodtl with no child insured, either and why I can never vote Republican
Mimi with brave new boobs post
Jangari with another pseudo apology and more white exceptions to grog bans
Roy with let’s have a wake! chivalry is dead
Mrs. Chili with shouting it from the rooftops
Mary G. with ouch that hurt and letter to danier leather
Alejna with hungry
Ancors and Masts with how would you deal with it?
Beansprouts with I believe
Fortune and Glory with Oneness and Bomb, bomb Iran
Riversands Feeding and Gardening project with Mothers who volunteer
Princess Mouse with The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
Permaculture in Brittany with Houston, we’ve had a problem
Small Meadow Farm with Reduce Reuse Recycle
The coffee house with Positive Thinking/
The chickens have escaped! with No eggs, just rats
Beyond the fields we know with Mama says Om – Divided
Trailer Park Girl with what if

Some of the many Just Readers
Mother Woman

Oct 102007

Welcome again to the just post roundtables. The list just keeps growing and growing thanks to you who are submitting links to posts about social justice every month. This month you might want to have a whole pot of tea (or maybe a bottle of water) next to you before you start reading, there are so many interesting posts.

For my introduction I planned to write something positive because I was so impressed by Hel’s introduction to the August Just Posts. Well, the post I wanted to write didn’t work out so I’ll just hop on the waggon of the “League of Maternal Justice” who has been posting a montage of pictures of nursing mothers (and their babies) to protest against the notion that breastfeeding in public is obscene.

When I heard about the whole broohaha with facebook and the banning of pictures I thought, “This is so typically American”. On I went to look for the topic in the German blogosphere. And what did I find? Nervous mothers asking whether it’s okay to nurse in public, a story about a breastfeeding mother being asked to leave a cafe, tips of putting a blanket over yourself and the baby, and such. Still, a mother sitting in a restaurant feeding her baby without incident isn’t much of a story. Judging by my own experience I’d say that it’s very rare to encounter weird reactions when you breastfeed your child in Germany. I have nursed my son about everywhere, on trains, in restaurants and cafes, in the woods, wherever he happened to be hungry and I could find a place to sit down. Nobody ever gave me the feeling that I wasn’t welcome.

I very much hope that the notion that breastfeeding is somehow obscene will soon become totally obsolete and so I virtually join ranks with those mothers who still do nurse:

And now to all the other subjects big and small that have prompted bloggers to write about this month:

Alejna with Squandered and A Post for Burma
Ally at Zone Family with Rainsong
Andrea at A Garden of Nna Mnoy with The Green Family: All right, Ms. Smartypants, what am I supposed to do then? and Frances Friday: Faith
be present be here with love and truth
biodtl at I am the Master Evil Genius with No Childs Left Behind and Hungry
Blithely Babbling with The Value of the Victim
Blog Antagonist with Solicitation and A Gift To Yourself
BlogHers Acts Canada
A Commonplace Book with Why Republicans Could Win the White House in 2008
Casdok with Have a Rant on Me
Cecileaux at Shavings off My Mind with What is to be done
Chris Jordan with The modern mother
Christine at Running on Empty with I’m all worked up!!
crazymumma with Untitled, Marina and Mussolini and snowbirds/airshow
DC Metro Moms Blog with An Open Letter to the Presidential Candidates–from a Mom
Feministing with Fired pregnant woman was told to suck in her belly
Fortune and glory after a cup of coffee with “Paranoia strikes deep ….”
Her Grace with He may move slow but that don’t mean he’s going nowhere
Ijeomaublogcreativity with Sneak preview…. and More Food for Thought
Ismail Farouk with GreYeo: Community Based Internet Communication in Yeoville and Apartheid, The South African Mirror: Instuments of Racial Classification
It’s Not a Lecture with Facebook’s Worst Nightmare, part II
Jangari of Matjjin-nehen for Woolies and Welfare, Indigenous language education and indigenous rights, and UN votes on indigenous rights
Jenandtonic with Naked, naked, naked LOVE!
Jen M at Get in the Car with her Philanthropy Thursday series

Jen at One Plus Two with Brother Can you Spare a Dime, This is how it starts (jumping off), Jump, Shelter-(ed), Door to Door, Chasing Tails
Jen at Under the ponderosas with I’m an environmentalist/I’m not an environmentalist
Jenni of Girls for Glaciers with War is not healthy for children or other living things
KC at Where’s My Cape with The Good Influence and Moral Spin, Mortal Sin
Karen at Needs New Batteries with Places I Love
Kellee Terrell at Pop Gumbo with Justice with a snap and Jena 6 protests: the media finally gives it airtime
Kelly at A Child is Born with Fuck off Facebook and Bill Maher
Kevin at Life Has Taught Us with Hip Hop Justice, or Yet Another Story You Haven’t Heard About
Kevin Chanas with The Deadliest Item at Your Grocery Store
Latoya Peterson at Racialicious with The Gentrification Shuffle
Lawyer Mama with On Becaming a Lawyer and Facebook Sucks
Liv with something wonderful happened today
Marcella Chester with Sexual Violence in the Congo
Maria Niles on blogher with Learning the lessons of Ugly Betty: real women have curves
Mir on blogher with Everything I never wanted to know about breasts I learned from Facebook and on WCS with Our job is to teach them to suck it up
Mouse with Global Warming Wednesday Haiku for bak to school
Mrs Chili of Blue Door with Ten Things Tuesday (or Ten reasons why I’m an outspoken GBLT advocate/ally)
Painted Maypole with family values, Easy Philanthropy Thursday and Activist Philanthropy
PeterAtLarge / The Buddha Diaries with Acts of Courage: Burma and War
Pundit Mom with Iraq War Solution by Pundit Girl
Rachel’s Random Ramblings with Protests in Burma
Radical Mama with Watch Me Point Out the Obvious
Roy at No Cookies for Me with Can I be a feminist?
Sagefemme with Will this be on the exam?
Shelly of Girls for Glaciers with The Elephant in the Room
Stumbling and Mumbling with Unions and Inequality
Susanne at Creative Mother Thinking with Mommy guilt is not personal and Wiping with cloth
Thailand gal with Are ideas dangerous
The Assimilated Negro with Clowns run Klan out of Knoxville
The League of Maternal Justice
Third Story with September
Thordora with Out of suffering have emerged… and When I Cry
Under the Mad Hat with Little Green
Wayfarer Scientista with October 2007 Scientiae Carnival
Where ever ewe go there ewe are with Sunday Front Page

Givin’ the nod


Thank you very much to those who participated and as always please hop over to Mad, Jen and Hel to see what they are saying about social justice this month.

Sep 302007

I know I have written about “mommy guilt” before but I want to try to put it together this time. For years I had thought that I wasn’t suffering from it. After the first few months of being a mother where I was feeling guilty for going to work and not participating in any mother-and-baby-groups, or baby swimming or not massaging my son every day, I decided I had enough of that, that he just had to live with his life as it was and that he at least wasn’t growing up being totally dependent on me. And so I proudly announced that there was no mommy guilt for me.

Only I did still feel guilty from time to time. Because I’m not the mother I want to be, because other mothers do different things with their children, and because – to be frank often I try to sneak away and do something on my own. Like computer things. And when you’re a mother that’s Wrong.

I read about mothers feeling guilty all the time on blogs even if the mothers I meet in real life rarely talk about it. But even if they don’t talk about it you can feel it. Every time when two or more mothers meet you can sense it. And it isn’t triggered by competimoms only, every single, innocent remark can, and probably will, trigger someone’s guilt. “Look, we made cupcakes and decorated the room.” someone says, and the likes of me think about how they never bake anything, and that their method of decoration is to give their children paper and scissors and afterwards saying, “That’s really nice, of course you can tape it to the fence.” On the other hand I then say, “Oh, my son isn’t going to music class, but he likes to bang on the drums and piano, and walk around with the guitar pretending he is a rock star.” and immediately all the other mothers feel guilty for not creating such a stimulating creative environment for their children, while I feel guilty that my son who is the son of two musicians grows up without any musical training. The list can go on and on. Someone says, “Oh, we go to the playground every day.” and I feel rotten because I never go to the playground and my poor son has no peers to play with, and then I say, “Oh, we just open the door and let him out in the garden.” and the other mother feels rotten because her son has to grow up in a tiny apartment without his own sandbox and swing.

In the end we all feel rotten, those of us who bake cupcakes, those of us who grow their own food, those of us who let their children watch TV, those of us who don’t, those of us who work, those of us who stay at home, every single one. Every mother who cares about her children (and I’d say there are only very few who don’t and they probably don’t blog about it) feel guilty and like she isn’t doing enough or doing things wrong.

I recently read a post by Chris Jordan on this: “The Modern Mother“. She quotes her mother-in-law who said being a mother was easier fifty years ago. It might have been but I recall the stories my mother and my mother-in-law tell and they always had the feeling that they were not good enough as a mother somehow, plus they were feeling rotten because they wanted to work outside the home, and they couldn’t.

So, I don’t think that going back fifty years is the solution (and neither does Chris Jordan, by the way). I just think that when every single mother in the Western Hemisphere (or maybe only most of them) feel guilty about the way they are treating their children, this is not a personal phenomenon, this is social. And it is always a good thing to remember that societies are made by human beings and that the rules therefore can be changed by human beings too.

I have been reading the sentence, “I better start saving for my child’s therapy bill because I …” (yelled at her, lost my temper, have let my child down in any way) so often. And every single time I’d like to write a comment and say, “Cool down. If that’s the worst that ever happens to your child it is very fortunate indeed.” All this implicates that mothers should be somehow superhuman. Patience personified. Never making mistakes. Never treating their children unfair. We all have this image in our heads of the loving mother surrounded by her children, nurturing always. At the end of the day she sits in the midst of her children who all are smiling with perfectly brushed teeth wearing their hand-sewn pajamas, and reads them stories before tucking them in their beds. Do you realize that this is propaganda that is more than a hundred years old? Propaganda that got resurrected in the 1950s and that’s still sitting in our heads? Only now we have to be hot, sexy, intelligent, self-reliable and making money too.

In 2005 I read “The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women” by Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels and it opened my eyes. We all have this image of the ideal mother in our heads, and it is blasted at us from all media too. Imagine a celebrity saying that she is overwhelmed by new motherhood! Somewhere inside of us we secretly still think that becoming a mother is the most fulfilling and joyful thing we can ever achieve. And in a way it might be but then we don’t always feel fulfilled and joyful all day long. Blogs are giving us the opportunity to see real mothers in real life who also talk about the less joyful aspects of it all. Still we think that nothing we can ever do will be enough. Still we think that we are the key to our children’s happiness. That we alone hold their fates in our hands.

Well, it’s time to stop this. Our children are their own persons. They determine their own fates as much as the people around them. We should always be grateful that we live in places where we have the energy and time to worry about whether it’s good for our children to have swimming lessons or too much cake. All the children of the people who read this have enough to eat, a roof over their heads, clothes to keep them warm and mothers and/or fathers who love them and care for them. Mommy guilt is a luxury problem that harms us and our children.

I have a little task for you: every time you catch yourself thinking, “I’m a bad mother.” or “My child will need therapy because of me.” or something similar, replace it with, “I love my child and trust him (or her) to turn out okay” or “Being myself is all I have to do.”.

Okay, I don’t seem to be good at making new slogans against mommy guilt. I’m afraid you have to help me out here. What will you be replacing your old mommy guilt phrases with?

Sep 192007

Yet another challenge thing. You might have wondered what that new banner in my sidebar is about. (Or you are like me, read all blogs through a feed reader if possible and never notice when somebody is changing something on the sidebar.) Never mind, here it is:

Don't forget to wipe!

Crunchy Chicken who has a fabulous blog about environment friendly living is forever challenging us. First there was the “Diva Cup Challenge” that gave me the nudge needed to purchase a mooncup (and I’m still very happy with it), and now the cloth wipe challenge. I’m going the easy way though. I’m only using it for #1. You know, I was really happy when cloth diaper times were over and I could get rid of the stinky bucket, so I’ll just reduce toilet paper by a certain amount, not completely.

Of course, being me, I started the first day of the challenge swearing because I hadn’t any cloth wipes yet. Though I had set aside two old baby blankets (“Moltontücher“, don’t know how to say that in English) for that purpose. Those blankets are more than thirty years old. My aunt used them when her son was a baby and gave them to me when I was pregnant. I have used them a lot when my son was young. (I also tried to swaddle him with them. Very funny. I only tried once…)

So on Sunday I got my new roto-cutter and cutting board out and cut the two blankets into wipes. I then swore some more because I don’t have the stinky bucket any more. Where to put the soiled wipes then? I now use an old wet wipe-container in one bathroom and a mesh bag on the paper holder for the second one. I won’t be putting cloth wipes in the students’ bathroom though.

I’m very glad that both my husband and son are with me on this. There are only two things to remember when using cloth wipes: a) don’t forget that you’re using cloth and let the wipe fall into your toilet, and b) every time you do a load of laundry put dirty wipes in.

So far I’m loving the cloth wipes. I can’t say if it were better to hem them because we’ve only been washing some of them once.

I always thought that in order to live green I would have to do everything right all the time but now I think that I’ll do it one step at a time. Do what’s possible, leave the rest, use the car less but still use it sometimes, bring my own grocery bag most of the time but not beat myself up if I forgot.

Next step for me will be to find handkerchiefs that are soft enough for my sensitive nose…