MOM Takes Manhattan: The First Museum of Motherhood Opens
And so I came to study and write about the experience of motherhood for the next thirty three years. I published With Child. A Diary of Motherhood, (1979); Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody (1986), and Sacred Bond: The Legacy of Baby M (1988); I have just published an updated twenty fifth anniversary edition of Mothers on Trial with eight new chapters. This work documents motherhood under siege, what “good enough” mothers must endure when their custodial right to mother is unjustly challenged, often by violent fathers, sometimes by “good enough” fathers.
I did not expect to see a museum such as this in my lifetime.
But, then came Joy with her infectious optimism, passion, and deeply spiritual nature, an essence coupled with a very American “take charge, can do” attitude. Joy is tall and blonde and beautiful but she is also incredibly maternal, protective towards other women. She wears a lot of “magic” jewelry (amulets, etc.) and sometimes frosts her hair bright pink.
Joy describes MOM as a “pop-up exhibit,” one which will last for four precious months in a 2,500 square feet space.
The Museum of Motherhood smells good. The air is perfumed. The ambience is a cross between Gymboree (from whom she is renting the space), and a fantasy country fair. It has many different “areas” including a “Greif-fitti” wall, where “stories of grief and loss can create a path to healing.” MOM has visual displays, historical photos of and information about suffragists, information about ancient and medieval birth practices, films, rotating photography and art exhibits, and an arresting list of the tasks which every mother performs and what purchasing those tasks would cost on the open market. Joy Rose and her team (of both men and women) also co-ordinate writing and art workshops, poetry “slams,” musical performances, all-day conferences, and events for children.