Friday, October 10, 2008

Raising a Feminist

Below is a comment I made on API Speaks, the Attachment Parenting blog:
I'm the mother of a spectacular 15-month-old baby girl who is, of course, the center of my life. But I regularly interact with moms who take a frighteningly hands-off approach to parenting their babies. I've heard the word "spoiled" and "demanding" applied to my daughter because she wants my attention she has it.

I do believe that at the heart of this parenting phenomenon is anti-feminism. Motherhood is routinely lauded by the Right, but the type of motherhood they mean is traditional, conventional motherhood that doesn't respect the child or the mother. It's not about ensuring that children are engaged and loved, or that women have power to make choices, and the right to care for their children in intuitive ways. It's about mommy-is-at-home/daddy-is-at-work.

As a feminist, I think of active, engaged, loving mothering of my daughter as something that enriches us both, that is powerful for both of us, that makes the choices I've made to eschew the social norms of cribs and formula and crying-it-out and authoritarian parenting, valuable.

Parenting - mothering, really - is something I think about a lot from my feminist perspective. I am constantly wondering what my choices mean for both my daughter and me. How do I behave and react in ways that not only help my daughter figure out how to handle the world around her and treat the people in it, but also affirm her own choices, agency (I know, I went to college in the 90s), power? Being a feminist is hard. Raising a feminist is harder.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Awesome! I think you should write a book about raising a feminist so I can be prepared and hit the ground running when I have a baby. Also, could you maybe write a brochure on how to be successful at Attachment Parenting for people are ridiculously heavy sleepers. Seriously, I mean coma-like heavy.