Regeneration

My girlfriend says she wants
to get a truck
and line them up
and run them over

Ok..
I think,
... that could be good...

...but what of the seeds they’ve dropped?
the seeds just like the ones from which they grew
already sprouting,
spouting entitlement
and ownership
and so much unpaid rent.
What of this invasive weed?


The weed that leads Prime Ministers
to describe women as “finding ourselves in vulnerable situations”

The weed that means that when women demand - request - suggest safety,
Men get angry.

Not all men.

It’s true.
There are men like native plants, unobtrusive, growing well, supporting an ecology of healthy growth in the recovering, adapting rainforest of the truth of human nature.

Quick!

Create a nursery!
Support these plants to propagate and flourish!
Let the birds spread their seed, shitting indiscriminately over
Formal Gardens
Infested Riverbanks
And Backyards the world over.

Let the feminist men multiply.
Let the weeds be made redundant
by the fabulous and unapologetic spread of sweet grevillia!

The age of the dominance of
Morning Glory
is ending.

It was never ok to rub that on your cousin as she slept.

Copyright 2021

Maths is hard for girls

This is a forum post I wrote for uni after collecting data on gender bias in the classroom. Mr Andrews is a fictitious teacher, but his unconscious bias demonstrated for learning purposes in the video stirred me up.

Based on data collected using the duration recording technique, I measured that overall Mr Andrews spent more than twice as much time talking to boys than girls during the maths lesson.

He also interacted with boys twice as many times as he did with girls.

He only ever addressed the class as a whole as ‘guys’, called the boys by their names often but called girls ‘darling’, gave twice as much positive feedback, to boys, with multiple repetitions of ‘excellent, well done, good boy’ for correct answers, and even a whole-class round of applause for one boy; where girls giving correct answers were often responded to with a neutral ‘ok’. Mr Andrews offered boys extra vocab and very close help, including holding the protractor for them, giving physical examples of angles, pointing to the page, giving them the answer then praising them for getting it right, even writing the answer in for one boy. When it was time to move on to text book work, he walked the boy over to the books and gave a detailed explanation, and for a girl he just gave a short verbal instruction. At least three times, girls with their hands up were ignored, and even when a boy gave a wrong answer but had the first letter right, Mr Andrews said ‘it starts with R, that’s exactly right’. He allowed boys to talk over girls, and when didn’t give girls anywhere near the same level of scaffolded prompting he gave to boys. He also made much closer physical contact with the boys.

Overall, he seemed to convey that he believed it was important for the boys to get it, and that they at least needed to believe in their right to believe in their own abilities.  Sadly for the girls in the class, their understanding doesn’t seem to be as highly valued.  This is likely to set them up to believe that it doesn’t matter if they don’t get it, that they’re not expected to get it as well as the boys, and that they don’t deserve the same airspace as they boys in class.  Obviously this narrows their options in terms of career paths and course choices in university if they have been taught reduced self efficacy in STEM subjects.  Being patronised for wanting to engage in their learning, whilst boys are being given so much extra support increases the disparity.  This is so unhealthy for the classroom ecology, not just for the girls, but for the boys as well.  Male privilege is unearned and harmful to society, so having it normalised within an educational setting during childhood makes it a bigger job for these children to undo as their agency increases in life.  Grooming young males to believe in their own entitlement as being a higher priority than that of females underpins domestic and sexual violence, as well as disparity in workplaces and governments.  So I believe it is imperative that teachers are working to redress this consciously and fairly in our approach to the students in our classrooms. 

More Toast?

“More toast please Mum”, I reply.

Aah. Breakfast in bed. My once a week special treat. Babydaddy does a sleepover and I get to have a leisurely morning while he gets to see what it is that I do on all the other days. In theory. But if that’s how it’s gonna fly, there’s a whole lot of ground work to lay. And who’s gotta lay it? Mother hen, that’s who.

Congratulations and hooray for all the women out there who have intuitive partners who really truly share the load. I understand that there’s a possibility of not being the only one to carry the responsibility of doing all the thinking, and I promise that there are times when I really truly have a go at letting go of the reigns; but the reality is, that when I make myself a tray of tea and toast and quietly bring it back to bed, I am still the mum.

And if I want to enjoy peaceful, quiet time, I have to earn it.

I have to explain to the other adult that on all the other mornings I am up with the toddler and on the go, responding to her needs, keeping us on track, and getting us out the door on time.

This includes, and is rarely limited to – having the kitchen cleaned before bedtime just in case I fall asleep with Baby (best case scenario for my ongoing mental health, given the early starts and broken sleep, not to mention mega sleep debt), making sure I’m showered, have taken my magnesium & brushed my teeth, have tidied the living area ready for a fresh day, have set up an ‘invitation to play’ for the next morning, have prepared her lunchbox if it’s a daycare day, and have applied my moisturiser whilst saying to the mirror “I love you, I see you, you are great”. So that’s the night before.

In the mornings, I have to be organised with keeping Baby happily busy if I don’t want to be followed to the toilet, or I just have to accept that having things brought to me in that tiny room is a part of this stage of parenting. The luxury of closed door toileting, long showers, a leisurely coffee… these are things I have forfeited for a child who feels connected and secure. For now, because she is still very small.

So, on my ‘morning off’, my idea is that I get a chance to replenish so that I can keep going on all the other days. I’m lucky as a single mum to have this weekly chance.

But if Babydaddy wants to go to the toilet and shut the door, Baby knows where to find Mum. If Babydaddy wants to have a shower, same. If Babydaddy didn’t get organised with lunchbox the night before, Baby needs to be entertained while he does this at his once a week leisurely pace. And if there was no ‘invitation to play’ set up the night before, then keeping Baby entertained takes more.

As Mother Hen, is all of this intrinsic? Hell no. How I manage sustainably comes down to acquired skills, thought out systems, and practised rhythms. Yes, there is an organic natural flow, yes, there is a lot of intuitive loving awareness, yes, I’m a bloody great improviser and a fast thinker and can operate in the kitchen like one with many more arms than I have.

But at the end of the day, and at the start of the next day, and in the seemingly endless, relentless cycle of keeping on going in a home that is ordered enough to support a developing sense of security, it is my presence and preparedness that keeps me going.

Because this job needs me to keep going.

And that’s why, when, on my ‘morning off’, Baby has come wandering and found me, and nobody is protecting my solitude from outside my bedroom, and she sees me with my tray of tea and toast, and asks for a bit, and then a bit more, I respond with loving gentle parenting. Because that’s easier than getting up to knock on the toilet door to explain all of the above.