What do women do when they hit emotional bottom and start questioning the core and direction of their lives?
That’s right, have a baby!
But, congratulations to me, it’s not a flesh of my flesh, keep me up at night kind of baby. It’s a zine baby. Reconnecting me to a former part of my life where I used to persue such creative endeavors with abandon.
What is a zine, you ask? Why, back in the old days, before every punk had a laptop, an iPad and a blog, we used to sit around with pens and papers, scissors and glue sticks and make these playfully intimate little snippets of life called zines. Part journal, part magazine, part art project. All awesome.
My old zine, from before children, was called Subsist/Resist. I would detail my gardening and hunting adventures, make collages with political import and rip Mary Oliver poems shamelessly. My first ever issue explained, among other things, how to make an oil lamp out of a tin can– almost 10 years before Knutzen and Coyne made such projects mainstream.
For better of for worse, Subsist/Resist and the bad-ass lifestyle it depicted have slid away from me in recent years. But not the zining! At least, not completely! It may have taken me almost a full year to finish this slim little edition (more than the gestational time for a human fetus in fact) but I did finish it friends! And that’s what counts.
Apron Stringz Zine, Issue #1: Getting Shit Done (With Kids)
Some of us came to this crazy, earthy, DIY lifestyle early– driven in like myself with the self-righteous rebellion of youth and just never left. Some of you came to it later, perhaps wiser, certainly more humble. We’re all of us feeling around in the dark. When you walk the path less travelled you make your map as you go.
At the start of any personal revolution it’s easy, even blissful. The honeymoon phase. Sticking around for the long haul, that’s the trick. As we get older, we’re inevitably pulled toward what we grew up with, what everyone around us does. We are pack animals, social creatures by habit and mainstream culture is a force to be reckoned with. Living at the fray is some hard stuff.
Having kids is perhaps the truest test. That magnetic pull of our mother culture gets crazy, sometimes ruinous. Maybe it’s just because we’re so exhausted, and the convenience of modern America beckons so seductively. Maybe it’s because we can’t help but want to raise our kids the way we were raised. Maybe it’s because we feel that much harsher the judgment of every eye at the playground.
Whatever the reason, having kids can often normalize people.
How do we keep our radical ideals a realized part of our lives? How do we integrate these budding souls into our daily routines without getting pulled too far off course? How do we keep up with all the motherfucking cleaning that kids imply and still manage to grow a garden, cook from scratch, and generally stick it to The Man?
Don’t look at me, I asked you first.
In some respects this incredibly complex subject is all I ever write about. My own personal Holy Grail. There are many, many psychological hurdles to be crossed, but in these 28 pages I explore the more tangible side– the balancing act of involving kids in our DIY activities; having the faith required to leave them to their own devices for awhile; and the inevitable massive clean-up that follows either tactic. Don’t expect answers, consider this instead a long afternoon of bullshitting with friends over coffee. Remember when that used to be possible? Nowadays you’ll read it in the bathroom in stolen paragraphs over the course of a month, but– it’s the thought that counts.
Also included is your very own copy of my most popular post ever, A Love Letter to New Mamas, handwritten by yours truly and in an envelope like a real old fashioned letter!!! Keep for your very own or send to a mama in need.
Apron Stringz Issue #1: Getting Shit Done (With Kids) — $5 including shipping, $6 overseas. If you would like to order just the Love Letter it’s $2 domestic, $2.50 overseas. (Although a sign-in box will pop up, you actually don’t need to have a Paypal account to checkout. Look around on the bottom left hand side for the credit card logos.)
I loved the zine. It actually inspired me to be a better parent! Seriously. “Involving them”- that’s the one I gotta work on. The babe is still a bit too young to help (not even walking yet), but I still wear him a lot when I have stuff to do and he (mostly) seems to enjoy it.
I love that you stay true to your punk roots with the zine format. I never had one, but I remember all the cool kids in junior high were into making them and it is somewhat of a lost art now that we’re in the age of the screen. I actually never read blogs before I stumbled upon yours, so I thought maybe I had been missing out on this whole world of punk-urban-homesteading mommas. But since then, no other blogger I’ve found really covers it like you. I think that most of the others that are similar are really missing the “stick-it-to the-man” edge that yours has. Not for everyone, I’m sure–but you had me at dumpster diving Barbie :)
You rock! ~Daniela
I LOVE the zine, it came today. Thank you.
Thanks particularly for the Do Dogma, Don’t Dogma piece. You have basically summed up where the Attachment Parenting as a standalone method falls short and it’s been bugging the hell out of me how to articulate the missing piece– the de-attaching bit. Your writing is both inspired and inspriring.
Thank you for doing what you do. –Motherfunker
Got yo zine mama. Love love love love love times infinity and fucken beyond.
Sloppiest of kisses to ya. MWAH! –Shadymama