Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Which hat?

These hats are in a museum in Pennsylvania, in a reproduction milliner's shop.

Recently Just Add Light had a quote and link to something by Pam Sorooshian about whether one should be a child's friend, or parent. Pam knows one should be both, and explained that elegantly.

I was with a group of home ed families in France, some unschoolers, others in the various stages of consideration of unschooling, and someone asked to to tell how I am as a woman. Bea Mantovani was the translator, and said the question didn't really translate. The questioner tried to clarify. She said I had spoken of my husband, and of being a mother, but how was I as a woman, separate from that?

I remember my confusion better than my response. One thing I said was that I AM a mother.

I suspected, and it was later confirmed, that it was a socio-political question, a feminist concept about identity above and beyond motherhood. But the question sets motherhood in a low position, if only the brightest and the best exist apart from and outside of that, and if to have no answer made me unaware or less whole.

For one thing, though, I was in France speaking to people because I had been invited to do so. I've written thousands of thousands of words about parenting and how children can exist in a peaceful world of easy growth in all directions.

I'm a changing-the-world woman. But even that didn't answer the question, because it still was an extension of mothering, which I had explained had involved sharing and modeling since I nursed babies at La Leche League meetings.

I would most like to be known as a woman of integrity, and for that to be true, I can't deny or reject any aspect of my being. I can't divide myself into parts and still be one integral whole. Any hat I might put on is still on my own head.

Affection and Esteem (from this blog, June 6, 2012)
photo by Sandra Dodd


  1. I've been asked that too. I really like "I'm a changing-the-world woman". You truly are.

    When I've let little voices into my psyche that have questioned my life as a mom, I've told myself, "wait a minute, these kids that you've been with are amazing and you've made the world a better place by finding unschooling and living this life".
    I think our kids will change the world, and I believe it will be for the better.

  2. As a francophone mom, I really appreciate this post, Sandra. People often ask me the same question and I definitely don't know what to answer as they want to separate me in multiple things. I am a mom, a woman, a spouse, a girl, a daughter, a friend and more but none of the previous has never inspired me so much desire and willingness to put effort and time to make this world a better place for my children, than being a mother.

    Thank you, Sandra for your insight and your great love shining through in everything you do. I also thank all those experimented unschooler moms offering support and information on discussion lists, day after day.


Please comment!