One of my New Year's intentions is to share thoughts and opinions from a diverse group of women on this blog. Of course, to be cohesive with the subject matter, I will invite women who identify themselves either as feminists, spiritual entities, or mothers. Ideally, all three. Hehe.
My musings can be repetitive. I'm opening the conversation to include musings from other women.
In January, I showcased my friend, Janelle. For February, I showcased another inspirational mama, Ashton. Today, I'm honored to share musings from my friend, Andrea.
We went to high school together, but have become much closer since sharing the bond of motherhood. We think very similarly, and lucky for us, get to have regular playdates. She's doing an amazing job raising her darling son, and I knew she'd be fantastic for this feature. I was a little hesitant in asking, because she is more reserved, and doesn't put it all out there online as much as I do. Hehe. However, lucky for us, she decided to share her thoughts, and I think we will all be better off as a result! Happy reading!!
What's your definition of a "feminist"?
I define a feminist as someone who cares about and fights for women’s rights and equal treatment, whether the “fighting” is on the big stage or within his/her own home. I don’t think that a feminist has to be a woman, in fact, I don’t think it should be limited to women. In that same vein, a feminist is not someone who demeans men, but rather is optimistic about all people receiving fair and equal treatment.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
I do consider myself a feminist, but have mostly chosen (thus far) to represent it in the way I raise my children. For me, being a feminist in the home is teaching my children how to respect other people and their ability to do things, whether they be stereotypically male or female activities. In my own life I take it one step further and try to show my children that all people deserve fair and equal treatment, whether they are man, woman, homosexual, disabled, economically disadvantaged, etc.
A few weeks ago, Dillon’s train batteries died and he was upset. I asked him if he wanted me to change them, and he said, “No, Daddy.” At first, I was a little taken aback. This is the kind of small moment when I want to show Dillon that I can use tools like Daddy. Short story short, I changed them in front of him and all was good. He will ask me to change batteries alongside Kyle now.
I am also very conscious of word choice when Dillon is playing with other children, especially girls. I try not to use words that are unnecessarily defining like, “that’s a boy toy” or “girly things.” Motherhood is like this giant stage (in my mind) on which I can represent to my son what a confident, brave, strong, self-sufficient woman is, in the hopes that he will one day love a woman like that and treat her well (No I don’t want my son to fall in love with a woman who is just like me, gross you guys). Kyle is actually a huge player in this effort. He is the most understanding husband and always supports me and encourages me to take risks. I am so grateful that I married a man who will be a great role model to our son of how all people should be treated. We are also always conscious of images that toys, videos and T.V. may present to him that may portray sexist views.
|Dillon loves to cook.|
Do you feel closer to whatever you call the Higher Power since a having a "feminist awakening"? Further from? Ambivalent? Do you think feminism and spirituality are related, or have nothing to do with one another?
“Tell me all your thoughts on God, cause I’m on way to meet Her….” 90’s alternative anyone? ;-)
I’m not sure I would consider my revamped thoughts (since becoming a mother) on feminism and the application in my life a “feminist awakening” but I would say that the conscious change in thought and action have brought me closer to God and nature. Being a mother has helped me understand God more, and has changed my view of Him. Now that I understand unconditional love, He feels like an ever present force of love.
I do think that feminism and spirituality can be related, but I think it is different for each person. Are they related to me? Maybe in that I value them and they are swimming around in my head together.
What do you do and what encouraged you to get into your line of work?
I am currently a “stay at home mom” or “homemaker” or “domestic engineer” or whatever else people call it. I love that Lindsay calls it “working in the home,” although I don’t currently “work out of the home” (unless you consider gardening working out of the home?). I never thought that I would be a stay at home mom, and I get the itch to work out of the home sometimes, but I have the best job and I love cherishing every moment.
|A form at the doctor’s office.|
What spiritual practices//habits//routines do you incorporate into your life? How do you bring spirituality to your family life?
I do a lot of reading that helps to better me spiritually. I also pray and do prayer journaling. I find that I am often worshipping God best outside. I see God as a creator and all loving being who provides for us. Much of my worshipping is in the form of gratitude, whether it be in prayer, journaling, or doing good for others.
We are not habitual about going to church right now, and have not yet started to teach Dillon about God. Kyle and I have been discussing it lately, because he is very receptive right now and may be able to pick up on a few things. I am constantly struggling with this because God and prayer and worship are not concrete enough things for a 2 year old to grasp. However, I feel that we should be demonstrating these things to him more often. But then I fear that he will only participate in them out of routine and not out of understanding. Right now, we work on teaching Dillon how to give to others and how to help people simply out of love. I guess I would say that we are consciously working on trying to instill the love gospel in our son.
Do you want your children to have the same religious experience that you did as a child?
Yes and no. Yes because I hope that one day they can be comfortable and secure in their spiritual lives. Yes because my mom always taught me to love other people because God first loved us and I hope that I can pass that along to my children with joy. No because there are things that I learned in church as a child that I don’t agree with now. For instance, (this is almost comical in our household) I remember being taught that dinosaurs may or may not have been real because they were not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. Did anyone else experience this? Kyle and I were dating and I was scoffing at him for mentioning dinosaur fossils, I mean really.
What is the difference between religion and spirituality?
I believe that religion is the man made aspect and spirituality is a relationship between you and what you believe to be a Higher Power (for me that is God). Religion often has a negative connotation for me, because I immediately think of rules for how people should behave and ways for a religious body to manipulate people. But that is not always the case. Some people need religion to lead moral lives, and more power to ya if that’s what works.
What do you think happens when we die?
I have been raised believing in Heaven, but I’m not sure if the things I was taught are exactly true. I just am not sure how anyone can know. If it is all based on faith, then the image is probably different for each person, and should be based on their relationship with God. Since I believe in God’s supremely loving nature, I think it will be something very pleasant. Alternately, do I believe in Hell? Gee, I don’t know anymore. I was raised believing in it, but I have a hard time grasping the idea now as an adult. And honestly, I can’t imagine trying to explain that horrible place to my children.
How do you talk to your kids about the big questions?
Well, since my son is 2 ½ we haven’t had many questions much bigger than, “Mama where’s baseball?” But when that quickly approaching time comes, Kyle and I plan to be open and honest about it. If we don’t know, we will learn about it as a family. Kyle and I want to share our (somewhat) experienced views, but ultimately let our children choose. I mean, how do you force beliefs? I have to make getting dressed feel like Dillon’s idea every day or he wears his pajamas!