Mommyblogging is a way for moms to share the good, bad and ugly

If you want the cutesy, sanitized version of motherhood, filled with nutritious lunches and adorable handmade Halloween costumes, go to the parenting magazines, wrote Canwest News Service Oct. 22 in a story about blogs written by mothers. But if you need to know you’re not the only one who’s bored, worried you’re doing it wrong and smeared with someone else’s vomit, look to the online blogs mothers are writing, says a new Canadian-published book.

“Everything is simple,” says May Friedman, co-editor [with Shana Calixte of Laurentian University] of Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the MommyBlog and a doctoral candidate in women’s studies at York University, of the mainstream picture of motherhood.

“You have celebrities who look like they carry their kids in shopping bags with profiles of how they lost their baby weight 15 seconds after having their children. You have parenting magazines that say ‘10 easy lunches’ and don’t really acknowledge that maybe your kid doesn’t feel like eating soy burgers. The subtext – which is not very subtle – is that if you’re struggling at all, it’s because you’re doing it wrong, you’re not trying hard, or you’re just somehow really bad at this.”

Mommyblogging, on the other hand, gives mothers a way to narrate their own stories and be honest about the exhaustion, tedium and anxiety that come with the joy and love, she says. And better than a memoir or journal, mommyblogging provides real-time interaction when women are at their most isolated, Friedman says, adding that one of the book’s chapters is written by a deaf and blind mother of twins who could build relationships online that she couldn’t at the park.

“The best mommyblogs are really irreverent about motherhood,” Friedman says. “If you were lucky, you had good friends who would say, `Oh yeah, I think my kid is an a–hole, too.’ But if you didn’t have that, this was the first place you could see that, of course we love them, but this is also really hard.”

Friedman is speaking Friday at the Association for Research on Mothering conference at York University.

Schulich ranks No. 1 globally in new survey

It may surprise you to find that the number-one business school in CSR (corporate social responsibility) is the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, wrote Reuters News Service Oct. 22 in a story about the competitive advantage for US MBA students of acquiring expertise in CSR practices.

Marsden helps mark 80th anniversary of Persons Case

Beaches-East York MP Maria Minna, a well-known advocate for women’s rights, couldn’t let the 80th anniversary of the “Persons Case” go unnoticed, wrote the Beach-Riverdale Mirror Oct. 22.

The efforts of five forward-thinking women called the “Famous Five” – Nellie McClung, Emily Murphy, Henrietta Edwards, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby – were celebrated Oct. 14 during a special event hosted by Minna at the Balmy Beach Club. The evening’s speakers included former York University president Lorna Marsden.

York professor composes music for anniversary production

York University will present The Aeneid: A Compendium of Scenes from Virgil, Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 7:30pm, wrote the North York Mirror Oct. 22.

The performance, part of the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations, will be held at the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele St. at Steeles Avenue.

Music Professor Michael Coghlan of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, conceived the project, composed the music and scripted the English and Latin texts, devising a distinctive musical setting for each of the 12 scenes.

Bringing Virgil’s myth-history to life are professional musicians, performers, academics and students in York’s Department of Music in the Faculty of Fine Arts, joined by leading guest artists.

Guest artists include the award-winning Mississauga Children’s Choir, internationally renowned trumpeter Guido Basso, bass/baritones Daniel Lichti and Peter Wall, and York alumna soprano Leigh Anne Martin (BFA Spec. Hons. ‘09).

Universities converge on Orangeville to speak to highschool students

Ontario’s 21 universities will have representatives in Orangeville next week to answer questions and chat with local high school students and their parents, wrote The Orangeville Banner Oct. 22. The University Information Program is stopping by Westside Secondary School Tuesday (Oct. 27) afternoon.

“We invite the surrounding schools to come – Erin District High School, Orangeville District Secondary School and Centre Dufferin District High School,” says Kim Stright, manager of Canadian recruitment at York and the University’s representative on the Standing Committee on Secondary School Liaison. “Most schools will send their Grade 12 students.”

Infrastructure is key to business success

One of the big concerns I hear from business owners is about the need for more transportation infrastructure to reduce traffic gridlock in Brampton, wrote columnist Gary Collins in the Brampton Guardian Oct. 22.

The final piece of good news is Züm, Brampton’s bus rapid transit system, which will begin a year from now along Queen Street from downtown Brampton to York University’s Keele campus. Züm is intended to significantly improve the reliability, frequency and quality of transit service and provide better connectivity within Brampton and throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

York U to host basketball game in Markham

York University wants to expose its Lions women’s basketball team and the calibre of ball played at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) level to Markham residents when they face the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks in a non-conference game Friday at Bill Crothers Secondary School at 7pm, wrote Oct. 22.

Not only will spectators watch what is expected to be a highly competitive calibre of ball, those attending will also assist a worthy cause, as money generated from a $5 admission fee will go to the Markham Stouffville Hospital Cancer Clinic.

Veteran Lions’ head coach Bill Pangos said the idea to stage a home game at a high-school gymnasium isn’t new. “Our CIS women’s basketball coaches association decided a few years ago to get involved with a cause and the CIS schools selected to raise funds for breast cancer research,” Pangos said. “Some schools wanted and had the option to raise funds for a local cause. Because I had remembered that McMaster-Guelph game, it gave me an idea to go out to the schools and community instead of doing it at York University.

Bungalow’s last stand

Two blocks east of Yonge is Leona Drive, where a bungalow painted green stands out like a real-life Monopoly house, part of The Leona Drive Project, a temporary large-scale art installation taking over six 1950s bungalows that will soon be demolished to make way for newer, shinier housing, wrote EYE Weekly Oct. 21. The vacant houses, interpreted and transformed by over a dozen artists, explore the deep territory of this suburban landscape, the one we’re led to believe (at least by popular mythology) has no worthwhile stories and isn’t interesting.

Janine Marchessault, one of the project curators and a film professor in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, says the municipal strike over the summer actually made this project possible, as it delayed the destruction of the homes. Cobbling together various small arts grants (to a total of around $50,000) and many in-kind donations, Marchessault and her colleagues’ greatest work of art may have been getting a developer to agree to the project. “The risk for him was if this project caused people to take too much of an interest in these houses,” explains Marchessault. It’s also a massive coordinating effort as the houses aren’t traditional art spaces.

Authors share stories at event

To advance public awareness and appreciation of Canadian authors, Barrie North Collegiate’s Ideology Program and the University Partnership Centre (Georgian College) organized a special literary event, wrote the Bradford West Gwillimbury Topic Oct. 22.

York grad Joseph Boyden (BA Hons. ’91), winner of the 2008 Scotiabank Giller prize, and novelists Stephen Finucan and Damian Tarnopolsky appeared before a sizable crowd at Georgian’s Alumni Hall Sept. 30.