Monday, November 09, 2009

Feminism and motherhood.

I read with great interest these two articles 2002  2008.
I grew up wanting to be a mother. A career never interested me. Not sure why. I would say I wanted to be a teacher, a childcare worker, a youth worker or anything to do with children. Really I just wanted to be a Mum but you can't say that. You have to make something up! I was never told I could be whatever want (something I tell my children) but rather told that I couldn't do certain things for totally irrational reasons. I wanted to be a youth worker. You can't, you aren't confident enough. I wanted to be a writer. You can't, you don't have what it takes. Maybe I am weak for listening to them but I am glad I did. It would have not been what I really wanted to do. I didn't want to marry just anyone or just have children at any cost. But at 21 I did fall in love and marry. I had my first child at 22 and though my Mum cautioned against getting pregnant straight away, our marriage survived and its stronger now.
  1. How would you describe your feminism in one sentence? I am not a part of a movement, I am my own person. I don't belong to any group or label. But I feel strongly that as an individual I can make an impact and I have rights. Its all about human rights for me.  When did you become a feminist? Was it before or after you became a mother? I have no clue- I am only starting to realise that I am and I believe it impossible for me not be interested in my rights! I have always been interested in human rights so its the same to me.
  2. What has surprised you most about motherhood? I didn't expect to learn so much.
  3. How has your feminism changed over time? More aware of the need for it, still trying to understand it. What is the impact of motherhood on your feminism? The balancing act - we all have value, nobody's needs are more important than anyone else's needs. So though I attend to my children I have to look after myself too.
  4. What makes your mothering feminist? My children are equal with me in their value as is my husband, we work together as a family, I am not their slave, I am their mother, my husband's wife. How does your approach differ from a non-feminist mother’s? Honestly have no idea. What is a non-feminist? A misognist? How does feminism impact upon your parenting? I aim for equality and fairness. I question anything and everything whenever I can.
  5. Do you ever feel compromised as a feminist mother? It is a balancing act. Do you ever feel you’ve failed as a feminist mother? Yes, no one is perfect.
  6. Has identifying as a feminist mother ever been difficult? Yes. Its not something I talk about much. Its still something I am trying to work out. Why? The general consensus is that feminism is no longer necessary and we should be just be happy we have the vote. That is why we need feminism, we are far from equal with that attitude. We are given the impression all is well with us and we don't need to fight and we are should get on with our lives. The powers that be don't want us to indentify as feminists as it ruins their status quo.
  7. Motherhood involves sacrifice, how do you reconcile that with being a feminist? Yes that is the balancing I realise. I need sleep, my child needs my care. I have learnt to meet in the middle ground and its something I have to think about in the big picture.The way I parent facilitates as much as possible the needs of our family as a whole.
  8. If you have a partner, how does your partner feel about your feminist motherhood? He has only started to realise I am a feminist but is not that surprised. He has commented about those crazy feminist hippies. He married one and its changing the way he thinks and we are working more as a team than ever before. What is the impact of your feminism on your partner? We have more respect for each other. He sees my needs are just as important as his, that women are human and the issues that women face affect us all.
  9. If you’re an attachment parenting mother, what challenges if any does this pose for your feminism and how have you resolved them? I think it makes it easier in some ways. Helps keep a better balance. If I feel connected to my children then I can address their needs and wants, in turn they feel more confident and independant and I feel more whole too. I still feel as though at times I don't have personal space or me time but it comes around and it is important to me. My children's well being is of utmost importance so its just a matter of prioritising, which is the challenge. Its not meant to be easy.
  10. Do you feel feminism has failed mothers and if so how? In some ways yes, because the belief that feminists can't be mothers or don't want to be is wrong. We need the free thinkers and the questioners to be procreating. We need stronger families and it starts with mothers. Its sad to me that the biggest feminist issue is largely being ignored ie. Birth.  Its the beginning, it is everything, it is so important and it involves women solely. Personally, what do you think feminism has given mothers? Perspective....

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