Ending the Cold War With My Father


When my father was honored for his 32-year career in the CIA–a career that spanned the Cuban Missile Crisis to the fall of the Berlin Wall–he invited me to the ceremony. At 23, I didn’t know what to say. Not because his being in the CIA was new information–it wasn’t–but because we were so different. […]

Mother Loses Custody Battle For Having Breast Cancer


Judge Nancy Gordon of North Carolina ruled last month that Sofia, 11, and Bud, 5, should be raised by their father, Kane Snyder, rather than their mother, Alaina Giordano. The main reason? Giordano has stage four breast cancer that, though currently stable, has metastasized in her bones. Giordiano’s breast cancer was not the only concern–Giordano […]

Hip Mama: For Uncommon Parents


Crack open issue number 47 of Hip Mama—The Body Issue—and here’s what you get: a photograph of a pregnant woman in the desert, posed like a warrior, belly full and exposed; a piece about the physical changes birthing can bring, complete with a photograph of the author’s sagging bum and loose tummy skin; “99 reasons to […]

Honoring All Mamas on Mother’s Day


On Mother’s Day, it’s easy to get caught up in the Hallmark image of Mom. Even in the 21st century, the idealized mother often appears as straight, married and, if not stately or stodgy, at least mature in years. But how many mothers actually fit that stereotype? The Strong Families Initiative (led by Asian Communities for […]

Motherhood and Feminism, Part 2


In Part 1, I figured out how to be both a good mother and a good professor. Even though being out of the mom closet seems to be more acceptable in academia these days, there are nevertheless those higher up–deans, provosts, presidents–who one hesitates to tell. While society seems to believe a male can do […]

Motherhood and Feminism, Part 1

Mother's Kiss

I did not expect that being a mother would make me more of a feminist. In fact, I feared quite the opposite, worrying that my feminist convictions would wane under the weight of overfilled diaper bags and the expansive responsibilities of caring for an infant. When I had my first child, a son, just after […]

Anti-Gay Politics Hit Home on Mother’s Day


A “Yes on Prop 8” sticker on a neighbor’s house led Jaime Jenett, a non-biological lesbian mother who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, to write this letter: Hello, You don’t know me but I walk past your house three to four days a week on my break from work. Every time, […]

365 Take-Our-Daughters-and-Sons-to-Work Days


A few months ago I was scrolling through audio files of interviews on my computer when I was startled to hear the recorded cooing of my daughter when she was a baby. I had been hiking through dry arroyos in the desert west of Albuquerque with a biologist who was studying the decline of burrowing […]

Click! Everything I Needed To Know I Learned in Kindergarten


I was 5 years old when I first had that sensation that comes from your gut when you know something isn’t right. Not a feeling of danger, but of righteous anger at injustice. It comes from deep inside, where instinct resides. There I was, in my mud-stained jeans and forever-disheveled hair, playing in the kindergarten […]

Gay Marriage Helps Families


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bans same-sex marriage. It would also give married gay couples the same federal benefits as straight couples. We’ll likely hear the usual response from the DOMA crowd: Gay marriage hurts families. Actually, gay marriage helps them. Without […]