Raising feminist children

My new site idea is taking a lot longer to implement than I want, because of a lot of other junk going on, so I’m just gonna hop back in here and make a new post. Melaina over at Transatlantic Blonde has been nagging me to join her Feminist Friday. And I say nagging in the most loving way possible, because I know she knows that I actually do want to participate and actually do need some prodding to get around to doing it. 😉

Forgive me, as I’m using an app on my iPad to blog this, and I have never used it before, so I might not figure out how to add links and pretty stuff just yet, but here we go.

This week’s topic is on raising feminist children. I want to address something I’ve read many times that really bugs me. I’m talking about comments that go something like this, “I don’t want to stay home with my children because I don’t want them to think that women NEED to stay home.”

If you don’t want to or can’t stay home with your children, then fair enough. But if this is really your only reason for not doing it, I kinda have to WTF for a minute here. If you are a doctor, will your kids think women NEED to be doctors? Or that women NEED to work outside the home? OF COURSE NOT. Surely you do not honestly believe that your career choice (or non-career choice) is the deciding factor in what your children will believe is possible for women. Whether you stay home or not, there are many other things you’ll be doing to show your kids what is possible.

At the present time, I’m a SAHM. I don’t know how long that will last, due to many reasons, but anyway, it’s true now. But my girls see their aunts who have jobs, their grandmothers who are retired from jobs, their friends’ mothers, some of whom have jobs, had jobs, are looking for jobs…. We go out to museums, amusement parks, restaurants, doctors’ offices, supermarkets, and shops where women are visibly employed. I have to say, I do not stress at all that my girls will think they have no choice but to stay home with their children in the years to come.

Actually, I am more worried that if they WANT to stay home, it won’t be an option. But perhaps that’s a topic for another day.

(There is something I do find myself having to work at, though, and that’s keeping other bias out of my parenting. I mean little things like, when we were at a zoo, and my gut reaction was to say “ew!” at an ugly insect. But I realized I don’t want my daughter saying “ew!” just because I think it’s nasty. She might like insects, and that’s ok. So I try to remember to say “look at this!” instead. She can decide if it’s nasty for herself.)

8 thoughts on “Raising feminist children

  1. I think it’s good to let our children know there are many options out there for them in life and they can be and do whatever they want! Thanks for taking part :)

  2. The more options/ways of being my sons see, the better.

    I will never forget my mother crying when she found my bug collection AND my tadpole bucket. I felt guilty initially then ANGRY that she could act as though I’d tried to kill her by being interested in ‘male’ things.

  3. I struggle with this sometimes. I remind myself that it’s the values that I demonstrate and not the career path I chose that will make all the difference. And then I make sure that I’m working hard to show my daughter how to be a strong, capable, intelligent, confident woman. I don’t always succeed, but I’m always trying.

  4. I had not thought of this in the way you speak of, but I completely agree. Feminism, at its heart, is about understanding that women (and men) have choices. That we are not bound by unnecessary and stereotypical constraints. Yeah for you!!!

  5. What’s interesting–and I am not being critical–is the SAHM acronym. I’d like to see a day when “Stay at Home MOM” are just “Stay at Home Parents.” That would definitely reassociate the job with an economic decision instead of with a gendered one.

  6. Great post and well said. It’s too easy to blame mothers who choose to stay at home (as I did) for perpetuating stereotypes. It’s about the little things we say and do as you so rightly say. There are a million of them every day and as you say it is so hard to stay on top of them!

  7. I think it is important for coupled parents to gauge who would be the best person to stay home with the children. Take into consideration all factors and not just who makes more money. Maybe dad would be a better teacher to infant and toddlers, maybe mom works better hours to spend time as a family. It’s important if you take money out of the equation, to see whom is best to stay home. I understand not everyone can just quit their jobs but this is something to think about before having children, instead of just assuming the mom will quit her job to stay home. That is equality in a partnership, if you asked me.

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