Why Mamas Gotta Do Their Thang

The last few weeks have been quite a haul. I really, really bit off more than I ought to have chewed. The post-apocolyptic Chinese junk came together with only a few moderately debilitating hitches, being in the parade was the experience of a lifetime and Mardi Gras day was a fantastic adventure. But throughout the week leading up to it I got profoundly stressed out about balancing all the work and complication of it with being a mama, there were several times that I adamantly wished I could just back out without losing all the time and money I’d already put into it.

Fortunately my sister had already made such a kick-ass sail that I just had to deliver with the boat. And, amazingly, the closer the day came, the more confident and calm I felt. Things came together. Each seemingly unsolvable problem (how to transport a 14 foot “boat” made out pvc, tar paper, and two bike trailers 6 miles to the parade route for example) dissolved into it’s solution.

And then there we were, Fat Tuesday, 8:30 am, unloading pieces of the boat by the side of the parade route and re-assembling them into one beauty of a piece of junk.

That’s me in the middle, with the spyglass. My sister/sailmaker on the left, and a good friend from my last life (okay, ex actually) on the right. Can you believe that, made from principally salvaged materials, this rig nevertheless cost me $150? Hardware is expensive man.

We joined up with the eternally funky and handmade St. Anne’s parade around 9:30. In the morning. There were droves of people already decked out in costumes they’d been working on all month long. Fat Tuesday in New Orleans is a dream for early-to-rise, early-to-bed mamas like myself, who can barely hold our eyes open past 10pm. You can get up at the crack of dawn, party hard for 8 hours and still get home in time for a wholesome dinner and restorative bedtime. My people!

I was the navigator. I had been assembling my costume in my head for months, and then when my (much more in the know) sis arrived, she explained that what I was going for had a name– the newly stylized ‘Steam Punk.’ Apparently started at burning man and now so hot that it was all over Mardi Gras.

Here’s a few other great photos of the day, click to see full sized:

yes, that's a kid in a cage manning a keg. that's why i love new orleans, so not prude.


this is a mobile percussion piece, the guy who built it made some unbelievable music in there.

note the bubbles coming out at the back of this kid's hovercraft! awesome.
take a look at my sister's piece de resistance-- a sailor's coat made out of trash bags, duct tape and bottle caps

And now, the million dollar question– What does all this costumery and trash art float building have to do with this self-proclaimed punk housewife blog? Why was this worth so much work and stress, so much time paid not into my chosen career of mothering and eco housewifery? What’s all the fuss about?

I’ll tell you. It’s important. Surrendering to the job at hand is good, yes, but us sassy punk mamas gotta keep our sassy punk thang. Whatever that may be. It is our responsibility to figure out what makes us tick, and keep ticking, and goddamned do it. Lest we turn ourselves into bitchy martyr housewives, no good to anyone. It’s a hard line to draw– what to give up and what to fight for. Only you can draw it for yourself, and rest assured there will be some trial by error.

If you are like me, the fighting will occur mostly inside your own skin. My Man stands by, ready to do whatever it is I gather the gumption to ask for. The kids can get over my brief absences of body and spirit. The only thing to fight is me and my feelings of failure at mothering if I don’t give 100%.

You can’t give 100% if you’re running on empty. Go charge yourself up, with whatever kind of current you run on.



11 thoughts on “Why Mamas Gotta Do Their Thang

  1. Thank God. A sad angry mother is the worst curse you can bestow upon your babies. A mother who is doing something that makes her heart sing is saying to her babies: This is worth choosing. You can choose this too.

  2. Brilliant!

    Guess what? I’m getting chickens. Today, apparently! Have a feeling that’s gunna make my punk housewifery points go through the roof! (after OCD husbeast gets over the fact that we have chickens!)

  3. That is f-ing fantastic! I participated in the May Day parade in Minneapolis and have marched in the Dia de los Muertos parade in Austin a fe times, but this is incredible! And yeah, you have to keep yourself going with whatever excites you. Mama has to have fun too ;-)

  4. That is a fantastic boat! Your costumes were all genius! I love seeing Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday pictures. Every year I say I’ll go next year but I still haven’t made it. Lucky you, getting to be in it all!

  5. Hey Joanna,
    I think CJ will be in Cordova next year? But she needs to start an annual Mardi Gras parade (indoors somewhere since it is Alaska) or a party so we can see what she comes up with.

  6. Love parades. Love your steam punk look. Hurray for community celebrations. Hurray fr creative rainbow mamas, it’s for mamas ike you, and me, that I’m writing my next book.

    Love the kid in a cage with a keg! Madness!

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