A big Yay! for Feminism and Slacker Mums

So I was ‘attending’ the inaugural Down Under Feminists Carnival being hosted by Hoyden about Town (a worthy monthly event – note to self must get butt into gear and submit something one of these days) and while I haven’t yet made my way through all of the attractions of the Carnival I particularly enjoyed this piece by blue milk. Blue milk hosts a discussion about the American ‘Slacker Mom’ movement, which is a conscious response to the ‘over – parenting’ trend, an accelerating tendency that has been in place for at least the last twenty years (if the tales of university students getting mother on the mobile to sort out their problems are to be believed). Reading the confessions of self identified ‘Slacker Mums’ sure made me feel a lot better about some of the parenting that goes on around here. That being said, most of the comments were more about the all too human moments that inevitably occur when looking after children. (Around here we had the case where a toddler drinking cup went through the kitchen window *smashing noise heard in background* instead of into the kitchen sink when thrown in anger by a tired mother). This type of confession (while cathartic and useful) is slightly different to admitting that one is a ‘Slacker Mum’ as a opposed to just having moments of being a slack human mum.

To me identifying as a ‘Slacker Mum’ is an admission that one is consciously trying not to be everything for one’s kids and one is letting them be kids, without having to micromanage every aspect of their childhood. To participate in this movement is to reject the ‘competimummying’ that is going on. (if you want to know what ‘competimummying is check out Best Parent Ever).  It is an admission that its ok to let the kids get dirty, and is ok for them to risk limbs at the playground and its fine if they’re not a bilingual, ballet dancing, sports freak by the age of seven. So you can heave a sigh of relief and have a sip of chardonnay because there are other average mothers out there.

One of the problems that I have with the type of intense parenting that seems to have become the norm is the fact that this focus on perfect parenting comes at the detriment of both parent and child. This article discusses the dangers for the child of this type of parenting, but I wonder about the effects on the parent. If caught up in the competitive aspects of parenthood do you have time to enjoy the whimsical aspects of parenthood? Do you have time and energy to devote to other things that you may be interested in? Like, for instance, Feminism. Which apparently is still kicking having permeated the mainstream according to this article.

So lets have a round of applause for slacker mums and leave your children unsupervised in the sandpit while you jump on the internet and check out the Down Under Feminists Carnival!

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4 comments on “A big Yay! for Feminism and Slacker Mums

  1. LuLi says:

    I’m pretty scared to become a mother almost purely because of the high degree of slackness I’m sure I would possess. My kids are going to be those scruffy ones who are obnoxious and rude.. I couldn’t handle raising a chicken for a science experiment, how a kid will survive is beyond me.

  2. rayedish says:

    Well I think that a certain amount of slackness is actually not a bad thing. I firmly believe that one’s parental type responsibilities should not subsume all other aspects of one’s life, interests and time. It’s the overwhelming expectations about how well one must parent, and how much time and energy, and ultimately sense of self can be lost in this process that I am concerned about. Yes, there is a certain amount of sense of self that is to be found in becoming a parent (having small children totally dependent on you sure makes you realise what you are made of). But in the competimummy type parenting I am rallying against I feel that some mothers can lose their sense of themselves as they can invest all of themselves in their kids. I say be a bit slack and may sure you keep doing something for yourself.
    Luli, If your (theoretical)kids turn out to be scruffy and rude chances are they will also be independent and resilient!

  3. bluemilk says:

    Thanks for the shout out! Loved discovering your blog.

  4. oldtimer says:

    Sure beats ‘hovercraft parenting’.

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