I’m not a big fan of the term “Midwest” so I rarely use it, mostly because it always seems to be used pejoratively in print—which is fine if we’re talking about Ohio or Iowa but not Michigan. So I settled on the word “northeastern” as I was driving from church to downtown Plymouth on Saturday.
Our northeastern town looks best in the autumn.
The colors are still gorgeous on all the tree-lined streets, and Plymouth is one of those vaguely uppity towns where everyone is just verging into paranoia about the state of their lawns. Makes for pleasant driving, though.
We went to the library after we dropped Carl off. I choose books the way many people read the Bible—mostly at random with the expectation that the right book (if not chapter and verse) will most likely appear when I need it. I have to say it almost always works. Saturday morning I picked up a book of essays by Katie Roiphe, stuffed it in the diaper bag, and we strolled out of the library, rolling by the tail end of the farmer’s market and into the square, where the splash of the fountain was the exact shade of wet pebbles.
There’s a Panera on one corner of the square, and we got a cup of tea and split a cookie. I only had time to scan the table of contents then, but later, when Iris’s hands were not quite so busy or so chocolatey, I read an essay on motherhood and Facebook that made me think. You can find the same essay here, and if you’re interested in motherhood or Facebook or pop culture, you’d probably find it chewable too.
It made me think about my online presence, the stream of consciousness that is my Facebook and blog feeds. And Roiphe is exactly right in her observations about mothers: my feeds are full of Iris. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I think we can all agree that a certain amount of adorableness is worth celebrating (to say nothing of a life in general), and my life is in fact very Iris-oriented these days. Again, it would be more of a problem if that wasn’t true.
But what did make me uncomfortable was the awareness that at some rather subterranean level, posting about Iris is easier than posting about myself. And at whatever point posting about your child becomes an easy exit, well… that’s not the kind of life I meant to be living. Not because it isn’t feministy, but because in lacks in some basic integrity I would like to have.
Although it’s interesting how addicting it can be to post about Iris. I think it’s comforting to tap into the cuteness. Especially when it’s hard for me to find time to shower. And political analysis and makeup are distant competitors for an imaginary third slot on the priority list.
So I snapped a picture of myself on Saturday afternoon and spent the weekend mulling it all over. I will always think about and talk about and take a lot of pictures of Iris. But it’s good to be intentional about creating one’s own life too.
Mostly, I wrote a lot of lists over the weekend.