Jen and Amanda met in the late 1990s, when we were both undergrads at a small State university in the upper Midwest and working at a non-profit crisis response agency for survivors of family violence.
Although separated by geography, we’ve maintained our friendship for over a decade, and have recently gone down the rabbit hole of fledgling parenthood together — just in different area codes.
Amanda is the mother of one son, born in December of 2006, and one daughter, born in September of 2008. She has done battle with the conflicting emotions associated with leaving her kids in the hands of a caregiver (and she has enlisted nearly every permutation of provider: from her own partner as stay-at-home-dad, to a corporate childcare center) to work outside the home.
Jen is the mother of one daughter, born in April of 2009. With the birth of her first child, Jen, who has a background in secondary education and school counseling, threw herself, headfirst, into the new reality of being a stay-at-home mom while trying to retain a foothold in the more multi-faceted world of grown-ups.
Our decision to start Pax (Ro)mama was fueled by the shared opinion that the “Mommy Wars” is a damaging social construct that encourages mothers to occupy — and form their identity around — strict binary categories: notably “working mothers” versus “stay-at-home mothers.” We feel that women often adopt defensive, protective postures because our choices (much less our “outside the realm of reasonable control” circumstances) aren’t respected or treated with the gravity that they deserve. So, instead of dismantling the structures that feed and perpetuate these messages, many of us adopt a critical-of-the-Other stance and become even more hyper-devoted to our scripts.
Can you say “vicious cycle”?
Through Pax (Ro)mama, we hope to demonstrate that mamas of all stripes can step outside of their prescribed roles as adversaries and critically examine the social forces that contribute to our challenges as parents.
We aren’t above a cute kid story every now and then, either.
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org