Sandra Danby emailed me and asked if I would like to review The Milk of Female Kindness: An Anthology of Honest Motherhood by Kasia James (Contributing Editor).
“I’ve just had two of my short stories published in an anthology and wondered if you would review the book on your blog? It’s called ‘The Milk of Female Kindness’ and includes short fiction, poetry, art, memoir and medical writing on the theme of honest motherhood. Some of the writers have recently given birth, others are grandmothers. Some, like me, are childless; my writing is inspired by memories of my own mother. Some of the pieces will make you smile, others are heartbreaking.”
I responded “… be happy to… given the theme which is close to my heart also”. Of course. I have been around mothers my whole life. Many of my family, friends and colleagues are mothers.
But my reactive assumption of familiarity with the subject was way off. It amounted to: I’m a woman; a Sagittarian, ergo I value honesty above all else; and my mother gave birth to me.
Reading the The Milk of Female Kindness contributions was eye-opening. It was like reading science fiction – women but another life-form, inhabiting a planet unfamiliar to me.
A colleague years ago shared the details of her entire pregnancy with our little office clan but that’s far different to what comes later. She resigned to take on a new role of full-time mum. She may as well have left the country as far as those of us who remained were concerned. Read the rest of this entry »
Back in the sixties as a pre-schooler my Saturday mornings were spent in the company of my mother doing her domestic duties. Dad worked five and half days a week. We lived in a country town. As was usual, Mum was a housewife. She and I had seven days a week but those Saturday mornings had a particular ambiance, and soundtrack: AM radio – sixties music and wedding calls. That period is a tactile memory. Many Saturdays I call it up. My partners have generally been six day week workers. I’ve always worked five days so my Saturday mornings are gold, awakening to a desk free day. In the past I channelled what is now termed my “Domestic Goddess”, whipped through housework, followed by a grocery shop and cooking. Now and then I still do. However, a move to a smaller apartment where housework is covered off day-to-day, a thankful lessening of my housekeeping standards, and online shopping unfettered my schedule. I now listen to FM or digital radio from my inner-city kitchen via internet streaming. Even free to choose my activities, old habits die hard. I usually put on a load of washing: the thrum of the machine resonates back to days when it was a reassuring backdrop. I burn incense, drink coffee, eat toast in bed, write, read a book or whatever is on the ‘net, take recreational excursions to shops or markets. On Saturday mornings it doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do or where I am: somewhere I’m still four years old in our little house on Scott St, sliding on Handy Andy mopped floors, smelling Mr Sheen polished furniture and chocolate cake baking. Perhaps the clearest memory I have of my mother. Thanks Mum for the gift of Saturday mornings.