When I was a new mama, I kept a journal that I named the “Bad Mama Chronicles” (BMC). I wrote entries when I was exhausted and somehow felt that I had failed my daughter that day. I am sure that I could have continued the BMC and the entries would have changed during the course of my daughter getting older and then the arrival of her little sister. Parents know how hard it is to parent, to mother, in my case.
Being a feminist mother has meant different things to me at different times in my girls’ development. So, for time and space, I will refer to what I think today. Being a feminist mother means that I encourage my girls and discourage the influences of pop culture and advertisements in their lives, so that they do not think that they are not smart enough, perfect, thin enough, need the next toy, food, or gimmick to fulfill them. This is a full-time job! I also need to bite my tongue and listen. It was easy in the beginning to be in charge of buying their clothes and dressing them, when they were little girls. Now, both of them have their own distinct tastes and thankfully both of them are sporty, although the youngest like the occasional frilly item.
However, now they both have wider social circles and there are more people influencing their lives. Funny anecdote: a teacher was reviewing the eldest daughters quiz answer and one of her answers to why we should respect a particular woman scientist. She explained that this scientists refused to stay with her philandering husband. The teacher had marked this answer as wrong! Yet, this personal trait also spoke to this scientist’s personal strength of character. I smiled and listened to the teacher and just listened to him. I don’t want to make waves for my daughter and could understand part of his argument; however, I think that her answer was correct–just not what he was expecting.
The best thing that I can do as a parent is set a positive example for the girls. The adage is that actions speak louder than words and it is so true. Some days I think about how I have had a really great day with the girls and other days–not so much. Parenting is a marathon.
This Summer was a great one. My eldest had that epiphany when she realized in a deeper way what it means to be Latina. We were surrounded by my family and when we were alone–we had some conversations about race and I could see her mind working. Later we took a trip to Olvera St. (first puebla in Southern California) and this trip was different from the previous ones. She took in the history. All those years of Spanish CDs and a trip to a Latino historical site made all the difference. Again, actions can speak louder than words.
There are more posts to come about being a feminist mother. This is just the beginning.