Episode Five: Raising Kids Radically
Hashtag Mom life. This episode questions how much our society pays attention to and supports those doing the work of mothering. How do concepts like “work-life balance” and the nuclear family limit us from building a more joy-filled and equitable society?
Am I a good enough mom?
Entering the tribe of American motherhood brings with it a whole lot of cultural baggage. As Angela Garbes describes, messages about the “right” and “wrong” ways to do things start long before the kid even comes into the world and are baked into everything, from pregnancy books to medical advice. What beliefs do you hold about what it means to be a ‘good’ mom?
Garbes says: “If you don’t have a full understanding of your body … it’s easy to have rights, choices and freedoms taken away from you.” What do you think about this statement? How rooted are your beliefs about motherhood in data and morally-neutral information?
Is it time to rethink the nuclear family?
Katherine Goldstein says the idea that the ideal family structure is the nuclear family structure is rooted in capitalism and dominant, white ideas about success. She argues that orienting around the ideal of a nuclear family limits the health and resilience of both mothers and children, and building real community support networks is the key to surviving and thriving.
Dani McClain agrees, and says that while Black mothers have been cultivating creative structures of support for generations, our assumptions and stereotypes about Black families overlook the strength and value of these extended family kinship networks. What do you make of Goldstein's assertion that “community is one of the few things that capitalism can’t buy?” If you think about mothering as a verb that can invite in folks beyond your nuclear family, what opportunities does that open up for reimagining what family life could look like — whether or not you have or want kids?
Is that my bias talking?
Whether you are a physician, educator, social worker or journalist, the way you think about and relate to pregnant people and mothers has real-life consequences. This episode outlines how those consequences are especially dire for Black mothers.What did you learn from Dani McClain’s descriptions of her pregnancy and birth process? How does racial bias show up in the way mothers in your own professional universe are treated? Does this episode alert you to any of your own internalized bias against Black mothers? Against all mothers?
Angela Garbes is a writer and the author of “Like A Mother: A Feminist Journey Through The Science and Culture of Pregnancy.”
Dani McClain is a journalist and author of “We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood.”
Want to dig in further?
- As A Black Mother, Parenting Is Always Political >>
- Why The Revolution Begins At Home >>
- Understanding ‘The Mental Load’ of Motherhood >>