Most of you know about my neurotic feelings of inadequacy (it's one of the recurring themes of this blog, which I've been keeping since 2003). In nearly eight years, I've never received any kind of blog award, been named on any list of popular mom bloggers, or been included in any mom blogger anthology.
I tell people I don't care about popularity contests -- which is true. Most of the time.
But there's a part of me that still feels like the shy new kid in middle school, who sat in the back of the room with her nose in a book and never screwed up the courage to say hello to anyone until the end of the school year.
So you'll have to forgive me for boasting a little bit about my appearance in this new book by Joanne Bamberger, known online as Pundit Mom. Just don't let my inclusion here deter you from reading it. I finished it yesterday, and it's really, really good.
"You've become more radical lately," my husband complains.
No. If anything, I think age has mellowed me to a point where I'm more conservative than I was in my youth.
But blogging has given me a platform -- and the courage -- to talk about my views, a lot more than I ever did in the past.
And that's the point of Joanne Bamberger's new book, Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media Are Revolutionizing Politics in America.
You see, once you become a Mother, our society tends to think of you as someone with little interest in anything outside your own nuclear family. Tell someone you are a stay-at-home mom, and the conversation ends. Joanne has felt this too -- despite the fact that she's been an attorney, a deputy director of the SEC and a newscaster.
In other words: She's an intelligent, charming, woman of substance. And yet:
"The same types of people who had been happy enough to chat with me about politics, current events or any of a million other topics were no longer interested in what I had to say... the 'M' word had caused me to become irrelevant."
And that's just nuts, because as Joanne points out, for many of us, giving birth to the next generation of citizens results in a political awakening; an urge to ensure that the world we leave our children is better than it was when we got here.
This is borne out by the collection of essays in this book, which represents viewpoints from the entire political spectrum. Yes, the MOMocrats are well represented -- but Joanne has gathered thought-provoking commentaries from women who are Republican, Independent and Tea Party as well, on a wide range of issues and themes, with Joanne's voice at the top of the chapters, providing context.
And I'd like my husband to know that some of my favorite essays in this book were written by Republicans and Independents: Julie Marsh's generous account of meeting feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Dana Tuszke's honest confession that in 2008, she was a struggling "Republican on the Fence," Jessica Gottlieb's irritation with the progressives' "cult of Obama," Shannon Lowe's explanation of how she made the transition from being "pro-choice" to being "pro-life," and Kim Jossfolk's protest against a congressional Tea Party caucus (surprising, as she appears to be of that political persuasion).
I even found myself agreeing with Tracee Sioux's admiring description of Sarah Palin as a "bad-ass mom."
On my own side of the aisle: I loved Devra Renner's recollection of being a teenage rebel at a White House Conference on Aging (you just have to read it), MOMocrat Jaelithe Judy's heartbreaking "Hunger is a Motivator," and Cecily Kellogg's poignant "Speaking to the Candidates About Choice."
The Mothers of Intention are all smart, funny and caring, and the book is an entertaining read. Out of all the essays in this anthology, I couldn't find a dud in the bunch.
Not even mine.
DISCLOSURE: My husband was disappointed to learn that I was not compensated for my contribution to this book, nor for writing this post. I feel it is an honor to be included with so many great women writers who just happen to also be mothers.