Feminist Mothers....

I was reading Blue Milk and she had an older post on feminist mothers, so I though hey lets give this a try....

I got an email back today from her saying she would put my post up as a guest post, but I thought I would post it here to be read too... so here it is my responses to what does a feminist mother look like?

1. How would you describe your feminism in one sentence? When did you become a feminist? Was it before or after you became a mother?
My feminism is probably based very simply on the premise of equality. I have probably always been a feminist, its become stronger now that I am a mother as I don't want my girls to be treated worse because they aren't boys.

2. What has surprised you most about motherhood? that perfect strangers think they can comment on how you are parenting, on how your children look on the the number of children you have and whether you are finished having babies, the biggest comment that annoys me is that after 2 daughters we had a son, so i get "oh you must be so happy to have a son". I didn't get pregnant to have a son... we wanted a third child gender was not part of the equation. Now that we have three children we also get the " are you finished now thing" It is my husband and my choice how many children we have, we have just lost our first pregnancy and that has made us even more determined that we want a fourth child.

3. How has your feminism changed over time? What is the impact of motherhood on your feminism? My feminism has evolved with me as an adult. it was originally more the girls can do anything approach, now its more that women and girls should have as many opportunities available to them as possible and that gender discrimination is not on.the impact of my feminism on my mothering has been that I will encourage all of my children to be the best they can be at what they choose to do, that they are all equal and that a penis does not give my son preferential treatment over my daughters.

4. What makes your mothering feminist? How does your approach differ from a non-feminist mother’s? How does feminism impact upon your parenting? I think the fact that I firmly believe that women are equal makes my mothering feminist. I have observed with having three children that they are all different and that there are patterns of behaviour that are more specific to one gender, but that does not excuse bad behaviour. Girls do girly things, boys do boy things, but they also play with each others stuff and they all treat each other with respect regardless of whether they are boys or girls. We shouldn't encourage them to play solely with the same gender, this makes life harder and leads to this whole boys/girls are better.... its stupid. I think this is how feminism impacts on my parenting that i am unwilling to accept gender as an excuse for anything

5. Do you ever feel compromised as a feminist mother? Do you ever feel you’ve failed as a feminist mother? I feel compromised with the whole work/home balance... I am currently a SAHM, I have no intention of returning to teaching anytime in the near future, but as the wife of a scientist I feel that there is an expectation from educated middle classes that mums should work at home and in the paid workforce. I have not noticed this pressure being so high amongst my friends who aren't university educated. It feels like i am being accused of failing yet to me I am doing the best job I can, and that is bringing up my children, I am lucky that I can choose to do this, and that I have this choice, other women are not so lucky. Failure is easy to feel.... I gave up a career to stay at home with children, we put my husbands career ahead of mine because he can earn more etc... this feels like failure.

6. Has identifying as a feminist mother ever been difficult? Why? No... maybe because I don't voice it, I just do it.

7. Motherhood involves sacrifice, how do you reconcile that with being a feminist? that's probably the hardest bit of being a feminist, and a mother is that I am constantly sacrificing my needs ahead of those of my husband and family. I put my children's needs a head of my own on a daily basis. I do try though to balance this by having some me time to do what i want, which means some days i sew instead of doing my housework, because i need to feel creative or just be Me instead of being everyone else's property.

8. If you have a partner, how does your partner feel about your feminist motherhood? What is the impact of your feminism on your partner? I don't think he has huge thoughts on it, most of the time we agree on how we are bringing up our children, the biggest impact on him is that I still expect him to help around the house even when he works....

9. If you’re an attachment parenting mother, what challenges if any does this pose for your feminism and how have you resolved them?

10. Do you feel feminism has failed mothers and if so how? Personally, what do you think feminism has given mothers? Feminism hasn't failed us its just got twisted up at times, we should be happy with our choices but this is sometimes not possible due to societal pressures on us as women to be supermums. The one failure I can see though is that men still do not do more than 20% of the house chores... this still suxes and its the running a house and working thing that leads to the biggest amount of guilt that we cant be everything we want....


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