Two stories about mothering in the headlines this week. One on breastfeeding, or rather bottle feeding, based on the news that updated advice from the Royal College of Midwives stresses that new mothers should be given appropriate support if they make an informed decision to bottle feed. The other on ‘working mothers’ and how they’re total slackers in the workplace.
I lie in bed at night, drifting off and hear the feet approaching, steadily pacing along the landing. Shortly after, a small, hot body climbs over me and takes her place between myself and her father. She wedges herself against me, claiming the pillow as entirely hers. It’s funny how a four year old can take up seventy percent of a super-king sized bed.
By talking about the need to raise boys with an awareness of boundaries, consent and respect for women we are, implicitly or explicitly, blaming mothers for the actions of men who commit sexual assaults.
This January I made a conscious decision to hibernate. Pretend like January wasn’t happening. Like I wasn’t back into the routine of lunch prepping, commuting and other tedious facts of life. Every evening, after the kids had been put to bed, (the eldest of which was always not necessarily actually asleep, using this as a time to be at his most charming, talkative and inquisitive. Nice try, pal, go to bed.) I would get under my own duvet with a book.
I’m a reader. I’ve always been a reader. On school holidays we’d go to France for a few weeks in the summer ( the benefits of having teachers as parents, who had holidays the same time as you , and not just 20 days annual leave) and I would devour piles of books.
I’ve sometimes wondered if I could write one of those powerful emotional posts I see other bloggers write about their children. Where the love seeps through the page, and the words claw at your heart. Making you remember all the reasons you love being a parent; making you want to eat the chubby thighs of your newborn once again.
Sometime ago I , rather loftily , began referring to these ramblings as a ‘ feminist parenting’ blog. Why ? And what does it even mean ? Other than rolling my eyes whenever people call my daughter a princess ?
I read an article earlier this week about women who regret having children. I’ve also just read an article by a woman who is childfree. The thing that struck me as the common theme in the two pieces was ambivalence. You can be a mother and be unsure of the rightness of your choice, just as you can choose to be child-free and sometimes be uncertain. There are no absolutes on either side – apart from the child itself presented as either a burdensome presence or an ever present absence.
This morning I have read articles about Paw Patrol pyjamas designed for boys, with the girl character removed. I have also read about girls’ school shoes called ‘Dolly Babes’ and shoes for infants with wedge heels.