Published on May 21st, 2015 | by Haley Jude0
Real MUTHAS! Video Series: LAURIAN RHODES
As a voracious reader and wanna-be-mutha, I was delighted when Michelle Tea launched MUTHA Magazine. I devoured each and every piece the moment it was posted. I thought these are my people. These creative, passionate, struggling women, talking about all the facets of motherhood in both its gleaming and its brokenness. I craved these narratives of others who also live on the margins, who are creating their families of blood and sweat and glitter and words.
I’m on the verge of motherhood myself now, expecting my first baby to make an appearance by early September. I hear those early days can be ecstatic and lonely and confusing and so many things at once. I also know, from my own experience of getting pregnant and this time actually staying pregnant, how much expectations can diverge from reality on this journey to parenthood. How much control we must relinquish.
So I need these stories. I need this space. Not to see mothers doing some weird form of “having it all” – being artists and worker bees and radicals and oh, look, moms too, projecting an artificial flawlessness. Instead here we get to see moms letting it all hang out, holding on tightly to the last threads of sanity (or losing it completely), and just being fucking real about their most intimate experiences. There is more bravery on these pages of the internet than perhaps anywhere I’ve ever seen.
To MUTHA’s essays, poetry, book reviews, and comics, I wanted to add what I do: videos. I’m a femme-inist filmmaker obsessed with moms and mothering. My partner Simone has been making documentaries for over twenty years, and together we run a video production company that creates heartfelt, short-form documentary content. (We joke that our unofficial tagline should be “Moving Portraits: Making people cry, one video at a time.”)
On a sunny Sunday in the East Bay, we visited MUTHA contributors in their homes. These women welcomed us into the warm chaos of their lives as we turned our cameras on. Their children ran in and out of frame as they told us birth stories and showed us pee sticks, cracked us up and welled up themselves, and got real damn vulnerable. It is the greatest honor for a documentary filmmaker to be allowed in like that, so a big thank you to all the families for letting us film that day, and to Michelle Tea for making it happen with us.
For now, first up is Laurian Rhodes, one seriously badass mutha raising two dynamite-stick boys with her rockstar husband in Oakland. I could tell you so much more about her and what a kinship I felt with her, but you should really just watch the video. She and her family will steal your heart. Enjoy!