Mama, I Have An Ache
Written by
suzi banks baum
December 2013
Written by
suzi banks baum
December 2013

Laundry Meme by Suzi Banks Baum

What is true today?

The sun is shining.

I am nervous about the reading at the Museum of Motherhood tomorrow.

I was just walking in the sunlight, talking to two friends about it all and exactly as I was talking about how my work and the work of all the women I have gathered around Out of the Mouths of Babes and An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice, how it gives voice to the lives of women who are mothers, who have mothers or who see their mothering as a generative act,

women who are called to create-

right at that moment, this laundry line appeared. Not from thin air, but it came in to my view.

It symbolizes for me the long line of women, who since the beginning of time have stepped outside to hang the wash, to air out the furs or rugs or pillows or panties of their families. This legacy includes pretty much all women, even those who haul the wash to the Laundromat and dry it in giant tumblers or who have someone come in to do their wash. Laundry. It is an archaic but persistent metaphor for me of what connects women to the daily act of caring for others.
The Anthology and Out feature writing by women who are caught in the act of creating and their stories of mothering are filled with yearning and sweetness, with perspective and insight to which everyone can relate.
These stories stand on the legacy, the ancient line of women who have stopped in the act of wiping a kids’ nose and seen the moisture on an eyelash capture a reflection, what, of a tree top or of her own face? And that woman has to stop and look at her red cheeked, sloppy offspring, dripping and panting, and see with wonder, that this life she has created from the stuff of her own body mixed with the stuff of the body of a man is part of her work, but not all.
This wonder makes her see that being a mother puts her on the inside of awe. Awe and an eternal ache to get back to the thoughts she was having right before that miraculous chemistry happened within her body. She is sure there was something she was going to say.
But now, she finds-however this child has come in to her life, that she has more to say, something new to say.
And that desire is burning her up.
But she continues with this being who pushes and pulls, tugs and breaks her heart over and over again, she is sure she must continue, or at least most mothers will continue to wipe and caress and stop and stare in humble glances of joy and maybe even pride.
It is a double whammy, raising kids while being called to create.
I think all women have creative yearnings whatever their job description.

I am interested in the stories told, in the art made, from inside that awe.
I am interested in the stories told from inside the ache.
I am interested in women who create.

It is not easy to set your life on fire like this, to mother and be changed by the burning.
It is not easy to nurture the yearning to make things, to express that awe and frustration while caught in the immediacy of caring for others, to feel the compression of desire that happens while wiping or cooking or folding or chasing or guiding.
But we do it.
We are many-armed goddesses.
We are multi-tasking wizardesses.
We are simple, ancient and new, all at once.

Mama Mash-Up #mailart @FeMailArtNews #FeMailArtNews xoS

So, tomorrow, I am bringing an armload of stories in to the Museum of Motherhood in Manhattan. Lori Landau will read about her daily creative journey, Joanne Tombrakos will read about the work she births daily, and Cheryl Paley will read about the combustion that has brought new passion to her days as a mother. I will be reading about my love affair. With chickens.

Send us love between 5-7 EST tomorrow. We will be making FeMail Mama Mash-Up mail art with Pippa and Penny Best of The Story of Mum, from Cornwall, England. Yes, international bloggers meet tomorrow to make art, read from the Anthology and maybe meet you.

I know you readers all don't live within the reach of my laundry line.

So, for me, enjoy some simple act of your daily life today.
Maybe it isn’t the laundry for you.
Maybe it is the glittery stuff in the asphalt as you drive home from the office.
Whatever it is, find that awe and let it move you.

Xo S

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