A mother’s place is…

I’m a feminist.

I don’t consider this to be a controversial statement – in my view the world can be divided into two tribes: feminists and people I’d like to beat around the head.

I’m a feminist parent, too. I’ve always tried to teach Flea that only idiots believe girls and boys ‘should’ act differently. People are different, whether they’re girls or boys. It’s not just women who do cooking and cleaning, you know.

Sitting on the sofa today, I asked Flea what she thinks she might be when she grows up. Usually she says “pirate or burglar” but today she added a third option: “deep sea diver”.

Wow, I thought. I am such a top-notch parent that she’s totally unaware of gender stereotypes and jobs.

“I could go on a boat all day and be a pirate at night, then,” Flea added. She paused.

“What do you think you’d like to be when you grow up?” she asked.

Well, I’m sort of a writer already. But sometimes I think I’d like to make documentary films, too,” I tell her.

Silence. I look up and Flea’s bottom lip is trembling. “But you have to come on the boat, too, Mummy” she says, in a quivering voice.

Bless her. She loves me SO much she can’t bear the idea of us being apart.

Yeah, right.

She says: “If you don’t come, who will be the cook and make my meals?” 

Emmeline Pankhurst is turning in her grave.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 10th January 2010 / 8:25 pm

    I like the idea of her usually wanting to be a burglar! Reminds me of William Brown insisting that the best job was ‘a savage’ so one didn’t have to wash behind one’s ears. Lovely photo too.

  2. Wendy Mallins
    10th January 2010 / 8:29 pm

    Nice post, love littlies who know their own mind whatever that may be! Currently I have a budding artist (girly) and a hairdresser (boy)… and i’m happy however they turn out!

  3. Liz (LivingwithKids)
    10th January 2010 / 8:29 pm

    Genius that child. No 1 Son thinks I’m part of the staff. He wants to be a film director when he grows up.

  4. 10th January 2010 / 8:38 pm

    Love it, gender roles are difficult at the best of times. Children learn by watching, I am thankful that MadDad is actually better at most things than me!!

  5. becky
    10th January 2010 / 8:42 pm

    My son age 5 knows all about the sufragettes (life long feminist who CHOSE to be a full time SAHM) and thinks its terrible that women weren’y allowed to vote because ladies are very important they take you to football in their car!!!!!

  6. 10th January 2010 / 8:52 pm

    I’m sure she’d let you get a boy to do the cleaning…

  7. 10th January 2010 / 9:05 pm

    Aw bless – that’s not anti-feminism, that’s the fact you’re a fab mum

  8. 11th January 2010 / 11:13 am

    Cat burglar always seemed like such a good career choice when I was growing up. Based on TV shows and movies in the 70s, if you stole for a living you were kinda cool, wore a groovy black mask or evening dress and had bags of charm.
    Teaching feminism is so hard. My daughter regularly tells me that some things are “for boys” and when I disagree she gets very angry.
    In our house daddy does most of the cooking so I guess that would leave me free to drink rum and swashbuckle on a pirate ship…

  9. 11th January 2010 / 11:47 am

    Hee hee. No matter how hard you try – they always show you up. Bless Flea. I love her little one-liners. And yes, she does love you SO much – she only said the bit about the cooking so you didn’t become too smug.

  10. 11th January 2010 / 12:16 pm

    I’m sure she just picked her favourite thing of the moment. If you ask again she might need you for your, crikey, what is it men do?!!
    I think you’re safe

  11. Peggy
    11th January 2010 / 1:16 pm

    Ha Ha I love this! Clever bunny!
    I am sure deep inside she really can’t bear to be on the boat without you… she’s so sweet, you are lucky to have this little girl 🙂

  12. 11th January 2010 / 3:36 pm

    My eldest daughter wants to be a pirate and she’s nearly 18 !
    My son when he was around 3 thought that being a king would be a good job.
    My youngest daughter wants to be in charge, of everyone.

  13. 11th January 2010 / 3:41 pm

    Just start playing her Bikini Kill and Joan Jett at an early age. It’ll be fine!

  14. 11th January 2010 / 5:30 pm

    Your Flea sounds like she looks up to you a lot. I’m sure in time her love will extend beyond you and your cooking to your pro-feminist stance too. My mom used to always make me brownies when I was younger because she thought they were one of my favourites….then one day I told her to stop making them because I was tired of them – the cheek! Better that your culinary talents are recognized rather than not appreciated…

  15. 11th January 2010 / 9:11 pm

    Ha! I was once in public, in a childrens museum full of mums, when I very loudly responded to my daughter saying that she wanted her job to be being a mummy with “Being a mummy isn’t actually a job, you’ll need to do something else too”. I probably offended some of the people around me, but I do feel so strongly that girls should have the ambition to be anything they want (though of course if they wish to quit when they have kids it is up to them!)

  16. 13th January 2010 / 8:16 pm

    that’s brilliant – i like her aspirations! Daisy wanted to be a builder today. And POppy, a man. MM. not sure how to handle that one!

  17. 14th January 2010 / 9:38 am

    I’m a feminist, too, but being at home with the children I get this situation all the time. I was mildly reassured when my son wanted to hoover the living room carpet and decided to wait until his daddy was home from work so he could help.