During pregnancy with my 2nd child, who was conceived sometime VERY early during my husband and I’s couch-hopping, inebriated honeymoon, I became worried that I was losing my identity.
My husband and I had agreed that since he’s a full-time student, I’d spend a few years as a homemaker/stay @ home mom.
I found myself, through my pregnancy, spending more and more time researching and writing about, not, as per usual, my green anarcho-political ideals, but pregnancy, childbirth, my family and child development. I discovered within myself an interest in cooking and sewing (beyond just putting on patches and chop-shopping my shirts), and also I discovered an increasingly sinking feeling that this was the infamous “growing up” that everyone had warned me would happen to even me, eventually.
Was I becoming a mindless maternal drone of a parent, driven only by the needs of my children?
Would I lose all my ideals and beliefs and get sucked into the dark world of PTA, endless housework and… (shudder) soccer camp?!
The terror set in.
So, I did what any self-respecting anarchist would.
I stuffed all my feelings of fear and discomfort, growing increasingly more bitter and brusque to everyone around me, got in a few explosive arguments, and then called my therapist and set up an emergency session.
She suggested that even an idealist can find a happy medium, and challenged me to write down and examine my beliefs about both motherhood and individuality.
In the process, I realized that a lot of my fear was related to growing up in a religiously oppressive and sexist home. In my mind, being a wife and mother was synonymous with a loss of self, since in the culture I was raised, that was really all women were for.
My fear was not, as I thought, of being a wife and mother, but of the position that role had in the programming of my subconscious.
So, how to bridge the gap? How to be a stay at home mom, without falling into the ‘trap’ that I so feared as a child? How to find the balance?
Anarchist and… housewife seem like such vastly different sides of the spectrum.
However, as I began to examine my beliefs, I started writing again, and talking to The Husband, and I realized that most of my beliefs about parenting are not programmed training, but actually EXTENSIONS of my personal values and beliefs. While writing about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, I in fact, WAS writing about my anarcho-political ideals. From home-birth to educational freedom, these are anarchistic ideals, and it’s hard to imagine child-rearing without anarchism and autonomy arising. And though I have survived (!) my years of being a housewife, I still think about how to live in a family and as part of an establishment while supporting myself as an anarchistic individual.
I believe humans are natural anarchists and free-thinkers, and these are tendencies we need to support in our children. But instead, children are trained to conform, obey blindly, and accept the word of anyone in a position of power over them as law.
Homes are run with parents as dictators, and children as ‘trainees’ which must be shaped and guided into functioning cogs in the family unit, and then, functioning cogs in the school system, and then, functioning cogs in society and civilization.
Here is an alternative option.