my week in objects (mostly).

September 14, 2018

five little things that made my week:

1. this chair cushion.
{and one day, hopefully soon, when we can leave our highchair days behind us.}

2. this new dust pan.
{found at this new neighborhood gem.}

3. these rug pads.
{thicker, cozier, and a lot more sound absorbent.}

4. these plums.
{for being just what school pick-up called for (also cookies).} 

5. these sweet stars.
{and the two little guys who could barely stay awake through dinner this week.}

other things:

life in a (not at all) tiny apartment.


plants heal.

just like that, fall.

soccer mom hate.

never met a pocket i didn’t like.

kids don’t damage women’s careers.

an imaginary utopian homeland.

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  • Reply Margaret September 14, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks for great links as always. While I appreciate the premise of the article on motherhood and careers I was kind of shocked by the paragraph about clipping tiny toenails and changing diapers. Sure, it’s not glamorous, but I can’t be the only person who finds doing those little things for my babies does give me joy and a sense of fulfillment. For me a lot of having little kids is doing those intimate care-taking tasks, and I think fathers should help out with them not because they’re a meaningless slog but because they too should want to be a part of the daily, relationship-building work of parenting.

  • Reply Katie September 14, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    I shared the Medium article on working moms with my mamas group on Facebook, and it started a lot of good and meaningful conversation (versus man/dad bashing which I didn’t want to happen). One woman even reached out privately to say that the article really hit home to her as she was feeling the mammoth stress of finding childcare, making prenatal appointments, making a baby registry, and prepping for life with a baby. She said that she was going to share with her husband, and I already shared the article with my husband. My thanks <3

  • Reply M September 14, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    I cannot see picture number three 🙁

  • Reply Sam September 14, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Oh man I loved that soccer mom and Jessica Valenti article. The things you link related to parenting have been my most meaningful and validating and thought provoking reading since becoming a mother. (I sound like a creeper but I bookmarked that Monstrous Births article from way back when and probably read it once every month or so. So excellent.)

    I bristled at the diapers and tiny toenails line as well (because…I love those tiny toes!) But then I recalled a 2 year old memory of yelling “FINE I will just do everything that’s hard! when he didn’t want to cut the 4 month old’s nails 2) the wave of shame when her daycare provider asked if I’d please cut her nails last month 3) the fact that I am the one who figured out the only way to trim nails is while she’s asleep and 4) I’ve given up asking my husband to hold the flashlight while I do this because he seemed annoyed by the request. So. Valenti’s point was driven home. Eesh. (I work full time, my husband does much more than 8 hours of child care/week but my career definitely has derailed because I needed a job with the flexibility that his did not provide.)

  • Reply Sasha L September 14, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    On tiny nails: as a home preschool teacher, I cut them regularly for my little students. I can see how stressed, stretched and hurried my parents often are, and it’s just one more thing on a very long, never ending to do list, mostly for moms. The children are always still as little mice, happy to have this extra *hugging* time and we talk about short nails keeping the germs away.
    Long ago, as a mom, I learned the importance of care tasks in building attachment with children so I view it (and hair brushing and tooth brushing and washing of faces) as an important opportunity for us to build an attached relationship, as well as learn healthy self care practices. I know it wasn’t the point AT ALL of that excellent article, it just provoked digression

    Thank you for the excellent list, as always, thoughtful reading. I hope the soccer mom hate and career articles get shared and read widely, especially with our men.

  • Reply mado September 14, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    I also enjoyed the soccer mom and working mom articles, and definitely find them related. As long as moms and motherhood are denigrated in this public, widespread, misogynistic way(s), I think it will be an uphill battle for men to “care” as much as women about all of those little emotional and physical labors that are necessary in the every day of family life with small children. That being said, from various things I have read online it seems that women are so very angry about emotional labor, and I wonder if some of that pressure we are putting on ourselves. I’m not saying I haven’t been there (weekly), furious that again I’m the one who has to remember/take care of some household task, while my husband is absent (working, already asleep, or even doing some other aspect of child/pet care delegated to him). But really, why do I need to know my child’s shoe size by memory? I can check when I get home, right? I know that is just an example, but I really think some of the “gap” might be made up by us letting go of some of the things we “should” know/do.

    The other aspect that I think is left out is capitalism. Let’s demand more balance and better benefits for all workers, instead of allowing men to claim their job isn’t flexible (and employers to claim they don’t have to be flexible). Instead of worrying about it when my mother-in-law texts me in the middle of the day to ask for my child’s shoe size because she just can’t resist buying him one more pair of shoes she saw at the mall, don’t answer, or even tell her that he has plenty of good shoes and doesn’t need any more, thus negating the need for me to spend my weekend organizing/weeding his shoes yet again. I think some sort of real “family first” movement needs to come about (embracing all kinds of families and putting to shame the right’s lip-service to families). I think there can definitely be joy in family chores, if we aren’t constantly stressed, exhausted, and resenting each other.

    • Reply Jen September 15, 2018 at 9:46 am

      Totally agree, Mado. While I certainly don’t think the emotional labor is all of our own making, I do think some of it is. And I spend a lot of time thinking about what I can do to lessen the stress and expectations I set on myself.

  • Reply Bri February 21, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    There’s so much to discuss here, and I am grateful to you for always giving me things to ponder.

    I feel a bit sheepish in even asking this question, considering there are more important things to discuss, but I am in the same child/ dining chair predicament and am wondering if the cushion you had made has ties to the chair back or not?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE February 24, 2020 at 10:26 am

      they have the option of ties, but we tend not to use them!

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