Guest post: Feminist mom in a house full of boys

While I’m on vacation until Aug. 9 (and quite possibly for the day or two after I get back), I’m featuring several guest bloggers. This guest post is from Summer of Wired For Noise.

Hello everyone. My name is Summer and I’m a Crunchy Domestic Goddess addict.

There, now that we have that out of the way. I am super thrilled to be one of the cool kids chosen to do a guest post why Amy is away enjoying her vacation. Yes, all of her readers are cool kids too. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a reader. No really, I mean it.

When Amy emailed me to let me know about writing here she suggested I could write about what it’s like to be a feminist mom raising sons. Uhhhh, I don’t know that I could condense that into a single post. I might need to write a book to cover all the ups and downs that come along with that. It’s certainly an odd place to be. On the one hand I’m a stay at home mom by choice, living fairly crunchy with my cloth diapers and breastfeeding a toddler, happily building houses with blocks on the floor. On the other hand I’m a pretty vocal feminist, almost a little too staunch in some of my beliefs if you were to ask some people. It’s hard to juggle adoring my sons for everything they are and knowing that they have a mountain of male privilege holding them up.

There are pluses and minuses that I face every day. Some of the more hardened feminists occasionally make comments questioning my support based on my lifestyle. And to be completely honest there are plenty of moments when I’m questioning myself. How can I speak up about people want to reduce or take back women’s rights while I’m in the kitchen cooking and cleaning and my partner is the breadwinner of our house? Self-doubt is a reoccurring issue.

Yet I also find myself in the amazing position to help teach two little boys what life can be like as equals. It’s not easy at all. They pick up too much negative influence from media, family, strangers. It’s an almost daily battle, thick with “I don’t care what your cousin said, girls can too play basketball and they’re just as good as the boys.” Clearly there are plenty of head-exploding moments. But in helping them learn to be equals they also get to live a little more free. The culture of macho-male, do this or you’re a “sissy,” real men don’t A,B, and C is silenced a little more in my house. They aren’t required to fit into a certain stereotype of what boys should and should not be. They can play monster trucks and baby dolls at the same time without teasing or insults.

In the end it’s really no different than any kind of parenting. There are upsides and downsides, moments when you want to cry for joy and moments when you want to rip your hair out, with plenty of gentle reminders in between. And sometimes an after-bedtime glass of wine to de-stress. How else do you think I get up to do it again in the morning?

Summer is an opinionated, AP lovin’, stay at home mom of two very stereotypical boys. She dishes on life, parenting, and staying sane at her blog Wired For Noise.

14 thoughts on “Guest post: Feminist mom in a house full of boys”

  1. Hi Summer! Nice post! It must be tough to remain a feminist with 2 boys. I have 3 daughters, so I’ve tried to raise them to speak their own minds and never take NO for an answer.

  2. Hi! Feminist mom of one boy (and counting) here, as well. Your post really jives with a post I made over at Attachment Living today about masculinity and parenting.

    AP is so interesting in terms of gender. It asks a lot of my feminist self; I feel like I had to give up so many ideals and embrace “traditional” female roles to do it right, while my husband was the one whose gender identity was challenged. I feel in conflict about it every day!

    This is not how I thought I’d be living my life these days, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  3. This is something I think about everyday, as I’m the mother of two boys (one of whom is also a nursing toddler!)

    It’s great that you stay at home by choice, you’re raising the next generation of feminists who happen to be men. There’s a difference in women being relegated to a role out of no choice and women choosing a role because it’s what works for them.

    I can’t think of a more meaningful impact on our future world than we feminists raising children.

  4. Hi Greene Onion, it can be hard at time. But I think just being a parent period and remaining a feminist is difficult.

    Hi To-Fu, thanks. I’m going to have to go read your post now. 🙂

    Hi Azucar, I certainly hope they will grow up to be feminists. There are so many negative images out there I have to fight against, but I hope being home with them means I get to influence them more. 🙂

  5. I find it really interesting that the description of you at the bottom of the post says your parent “two very stereotypical boys.”

    To me, being an AP means NOT raising our kids to be stereotypes of anything, be it the shy, unsocialized homeschooler or the loud, boisterous boy. Before I make any decisions about what that means in light of your feminism, did you write that or was it written by someone else trying to describe you?

    What I really want to know though, is can I respectfully disagree with your feminist views and still be one of the cool kids? 🙂

  6. good for you. it all starts with the messages at home — that’s where they begin to learn that women can be strong and men can be gentle….just like judy chicago said.

  7. I have 3 boys myself and had an interesting conversation with a mom who has some girls who are very independent. She asked, “Do you see any problems with girls getting more and more independent?” I said, “No, I just see it as my job to raise boys who can respect and appreciate that independence.”

    Really, that is part of my job isn’t it? To raise and love these little boys, while I am a SAHM too, they see me learning and growing and being independent. I just want them to respect and honor the human race. I also hope they will grow to be men who want to marry strong women.

    I have taught them since they were young that a women’s worth is SO much more than her looks. If you ask them, “What kind of girl should you marry?” They will reply something along the lines of, “One who is smart, kind, good with money.” My middle one once asked, “Is it ok if she is pretty?”

  8. I enjoyed your post. I think it is great in this day and age that we get so many mroe options than the women in past generations.

    I don’t think it is right to tell someone she isn’t a feminist because she stays at home- for me, it is about having choices, and as long as you are happy and were able to make a choice, I think that is what is important.

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