Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Evolution of Mojo Mom

BlogHer contributing writer Mary Tsao has a thoughtful commentary that I recommend to you, When Bad is Hip: Thoughts from The Motherlode Conference

Mary mentions many aspects of the conference and discussions that have arisen since. I wanted to highlight Andi Buchanan's talk called "The Escalation of Cool," which Andi posted in its entirety on her blog The Mother Shock. It is definitely worth reading her essay and the extended comment conversation that resulted. I resonate strongly with Andi's point that there's nothing wrong with authentic cool, but it's co-opted, MARKETED cool that creates just another box to put Moms in.

I had been vaguely aware of this trend before hearing Andi speak, and since then, I see it popping up everywhere. If you lump the Cool Mom and the Hot Mom phenomena together, Gabrielle on Desperate Housewives tried to turn her "frumpy Mom" modeling assignment into a "Hot Mom" role last week. In more highbrow media coverage, The New York Times recently reported on Cosmopolitan Moms (in the Fashion & Style section, of course) as though they had discovered something new.

In my own work, I have never been Hip or Cool nor have I tried to be. I really have strived to encourage authenticity as defined by each woman. It's been a challenge to find a promotional hook and publicity strategy that I can stand by with my integrity intact. Media soundbites are not conducive to thoughtful exploration!

I'll tell you where I've arrived in my personal development. Surprisingly, I feel that I have almost arrived at a post-Mom identity. First I was Me, then I was Mom, now I am a New Me. I've been through the fire and come throught the other side to a new synthesis that contans Mom as one part of my identity, but I am now happy to be "Amy-who-is-a-Mom" rather than "Mom (is Amy still in there anywhere)?"

I'm not giving up Mojo Mom--my own creation--but I think you'll see the evolution when I tell you about my next new initivative. I am establishing the Mojo Center for Women's Leadership, and I hope to work with all women, whether or not they have children. You can see in the Center's mission and vision statements that I encompass mothers' interests without separating us from the larger fabric of society:

The mission of the Mojo Center for Women's Leadership is to promote the utilization of the full range of each woman’s talents across her entire lifespan.

We envision a society where women’s wisdom and leadership are truly valued, and families are supported through fair and sane public policies that recognize the “invisible” caregiving work that forms the fabric of community.

The first initiative of the Center is a Mojo Women's Advisory Circle. This group is made up of 10 dynamic women who happen to have kids, but when we meet, we are there as businesswomen and entrepreneurs. We had our first offical gathering last month and you could feel electricity running through the group. If this idea intrigues you I encourage you to start your own circle. Jean Shinoda Bolen has written an inspirational guide to help you get started, The Millionth Circle.

I am starting small with this Center and I am eager to see where it will grow. Possible activities include hosting a small follow-up conference for those of us who met at The Motherlode, and a push to get mothers' interests represented in the 2008 election cycle. I know I will be involved in 2008 but it is an interesting question to decide how to focus my energies. What is the unique contribution that I can make, given my place in my community in combination with my work on motherhood?

That's what I am thinking about during my in-between time. You can see why I have granted myself time for these plans to percolate!


Blogger MojoMom said...

I just noticed in the "Cosmopolitan Mom" article that in the main photo, there are 3 kids in the foreground in focus and two Moms in the background, out of focus! No wonder we drink. We can't even be center stage in a story about US.

10:16 AM  

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