Feminist mothering advice

I have a bunch of amazing friends getting pregnant and giving birth these days (Jess!). I’ve never been a mother, so I feel at a bit of a loss of how to support my friends as they embark on this new stage, so I decided to ask a group of my favorite feminist moms the following question: What is the one thing no one ever told you about mothering that you wish they had?

Here are just a few of the awesome answers I received:

That you have an excuse to reprise the daily dance contests you had as a child (Beat It!) and get to watch Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Goonies again.

I wish I had done this: In advance of the baby coming work out with your partner that you will weekly have time to talk about the kid(s) re what is going on and what is needed. GET AGREEMENT IN ADVANCE!

Not long after I had my daughter, a friend with grown children of her own said my job as a mom was to raise a well-adjusted adult.  Her comment was so grounding, especially amid all the media frenzies over the smallest dangers or rights and wrongs of mothering, that I just loved it.

What an unfamiliar experience to feel unconditional love for someone you don’t even know. This is very different than love which comes as you get to know each other more.

That it’s all about listening: listening  & responding to your child’s needs;  listening to your child’s desires & responding either with joy as you help them to fulfill those desires or wisdom explaining why that doesn’t work for you or is not in their best interests; and lastly listening to your own needs and heart so you never get lost in the process, because being true and honoring who you are teaches your children to do the same for themselves.

Don’t expect it all to be good.  In fact, expect to have some moments, many moments, when you want to throw your child out the window. Motherhood offers you moments of pure love and joy, and the opposite.  Embrace them both for the person they help you become.

This is for after the adorable baby and fun elementary school age phases pass, so just tuck it away for when it’s needed: I wish they would have told me that you have to stay present with children even when you think they are paying no attention to anything you say, even when they go through the most rebellious of times, even when they break your heart. They’ll come through it and so will you.

I wish someone would have told me that our job as mothers is not to take emotional pain away from our children but to hold them through it.

That it just gets better and better!

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