You’re NOT a Feminist

Sometimes feminism gets a bad press. It’s confused with misandry – that’s a word I recently learned and it basically means ‘man-hating’ – the female version of misogyny. The fight for feminism is a fight for equality. Real feminism values men and not only understands male issues, but campaigns for them too. That’s important to me as a woman who is the mother of a boy.

Because what is the point in raising sons who are told they are not trustworthy? That men are predatory? To raise them thinking that when a sick woman makes a claim of abuse against them they should be instantly chastised and hounded for their awful behaviour purely because they have penis?

Raising my son to be a feminist

Instead, I raise my son knowing that he is an equal to the girls in his class. I teach him to respect all people, no matter who they are, where they come from, how they look or what they believe. I raise him knowing that he can talk about emotions, cry, wear whatever colour clothes he wants to and play with any toy he likes. I’m raising a son knowing that he makes the decision about his future career and that if he wants to be a Daddy raising his babies then that’s perfect too. Because women deserve a voice in the board room just as men deserve a voice in the home. Traditionally female roles shouldn’t be seen as weak, or lesser, they should be seen as strong and equal.

That’s what feminism means to me. But that’s just me. So I asked other parents what it means to them. What with us raising the next generation.

 

Feminism is…

“about recognising that women are equal to men. Not above and not below! Everyone has a place in society” – The Smallest of Things

“creating a world where women are free to lead their own lives in the way they want, whether that’s by taking on the world in a professional capacity or deciding to be a homemaker.” – Little Pickle’s Mom

“seeking equality. feminism is not making slanderous generic and unprovoked remarks about all men because you are clearly bitter about something”- Chocolate and Wine and I’ll be Fine

You’re not a feminist if…

“your feminism requires women to be ‘better’ than men. Equal. All equal.” – Life With Boys

“you act completely unreasonably and then try and use fighting for feminism as an excuse. Feminism is about equality not expecting more and does not excuse you acting like a spoiled brat.” – Real Mum Reviews

“your main agenda seems to be men hating. Sweeping, generalised statements about daddy bloggers are a case in point.” – Baby Foote

Feminism is…

“about striving for true equality for men and women in every aspect of life, including (but not limited to) our rights, our ability to parent and our professional worth.” – Surviving Life’s Hurdles

“about choice. Women should fully have the same choices as men. My mum is a feminist and so is my Dad. I get criticised a lot for leaving my career to focus on the kids – but I am a feminist and I’m pleased I made that choice. But with my first the roles were reversed. I’m no more or less of a feminist as I was then.” – Mama Mei

“about bringing everyone together. Feminism is about empowering everyone to speak up and speak out. Feminism is about me raising my son to be an epic human. Feminism is my son seeing no difference in anyone in the world around him, and for him to feel safe (and empowered) to challenge those that behave otherwise” Cheeki Mummy

 You’re not a feminist if you…

” don’t believe in equality for everyone no matter what their gender, colour, race, sexuality, age, ability or wealth etc. Feminism is based on respecting everyone.” – My Boys Club

“think women should get more than men” – LesBeMums

” use the word as an excuse to be hateful to ANYONE” – Muffin Top Mummy

“tell me your son can’t have the pram he asked for for his birthday (this was from a woman who is always spouting out about how much of a feminist she is and is raising her daughter to be a feminist but doesn’t think it applies to her son)” – Better Together Home

“are not raising your sons to be feminists too” – Thrifty Mum

 

Feminism is…

 

“about creating true equality between men and women. That includes life at home, such as little things like housework and cooking, as well as bigger things like looking after the kids equally, both having the option to do the career they want and reach the levels of that career that they want to. It is about being 100% equal in all things – neither men or women should be “above” or “below” one another.”

That Marketing Punk

 

You’re not a feminist if you…

“don’t believe in equality of the sexes. It really is that simple!” – Our Fairytale Adventure

“use your gender (whatever gender that might be) as an excuse to be a bully” – Plutonium Sox

” think you are better than anyone who is not exactly like you” – Fit For Parenting

“use feminism as a badge/ free pass that allows you to belittle others. Share your views, advance the agenda of equality yes but don’t become part of the problem by putting up more walls.” – Hi Baby

“make sweeping statements about someone based on their gender alone. Just become some men, or women, do something or believe something does not mean it applies to all men or all women. Feminism for me is about equality, empowerment and treating everyone as individuals who deserve the same rights as everyone else, but are also free to make their own choices when it comes to pursuing opportunities” – Little Hearts Big Love

Feminism is…

“the fight for equality between men and women. Feminism is recognising that historically and globally, women have been/and are treated as lesser. Feminism is not about diluting the bigger picture with petty arguments about slights to men.” – Mama Cat and Baby Bee

“a celebration of womanhood; in all forms and races, a fellow being with a privileged place on this earth alongside men, children and all other living animals on this planet.” – Mum2Sons

 

You’re not a feminist if you…

“don’t believe that anyone who identifies as female suffers the same discrimination whether or not they have a vagina.” – Mama Eden & Me

“tell women OR men what they should or shouldn’t do.” – Tattooed Tea Lady

“become the one thing that feminism was created to fight against in the first place.
If you become the oppressor, the liar, the bully and the abuser in the name of feminism, you are not a feminist, you’re an idiot.” – Me Becoming Mum

“think all men are bad or that women are better. I believe that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men.” – Teddy Bears and Cardigans

“believe that you are superior to men. You’re not a feminist if you use feminism to diminish what men do, mock men or continue the divisive society that we currently have, just with a slant towards females over males. Feminism is purely about equality. It’s about standing up and saying I am as good as any man, I deserve that to be acknowledged. I’m raising my sons to be feminists and I don’t want to feel that they are being belittled by those that claim to stand side by side with them on the picket lines.”

“are a stay at home mum. Actually you are. You can be whatever you bloody want to be. That’s feminism.” – The Incidental Parent

Feminism is…

“seeing all people as equal humans, regardless of gender” – Friendly First Foods

“about everyone having the same rights. I prefer to say that I’m a supporter of equality rather than feminism purely because of the man haters who make a mockery of it all!” – Digital Motherhood

“about seeking equality. It is not man-hate nor is it idolisation of women. But equally, pointing a finger to and acknowledging the patriarchal attitudes and societal structures should be encouraged rather than shot down as man-hate. Unfortunately the latter happens a lot nowadays too.” – Wave to Mummy

 

Feminism is… Confusing…

I have to be honest and say I’m confused about what a feminist actually is? I have strong opinions so does that make me a feminist?” – Squats, Sass and Saggy Skin

“The term “feminist” has such bad connotations these days. When I first got with my boyfriend, I told him I considered myself a feminist and he said “oh great…” and then I explained my views on feminism to him and what it meant to me and now he agrees and backs me up and considers himself a feminist…Men can be feminists. Men have female friends. Family members. Wives, girlfriends. Children! Men care about women’s rights just as much as women, so if your main agenda is to slander and demonise men, you’re not a feminist. ” – Lukeosaurus and Me

I actually really dislike the word ‘feminism’ because really, feminism should be about men and women being completely equal, not one better than the other, but I think using a female sounding word gives too many people the wrong impression that feminism puts women in a higher place” – ArthurWears

I’m a feminist. I believe in equality for women and men but I’m very aware that women have experienced sexism, inequality and oppression since we’ve been recording time. That’s why I’m a feminist, not an equalitist because we need to challenge the systems and norms to be better for women before we can get true equality. For me this also includes removing stereotypes and oppression that affects boys and men too (like the whole man up/ boys don’t cry claims) because it’s all part of the same system of oppression of women and girls” – Ellamental Mama

…yet simple

“To me, feminism is simply equality.” – That British Betty

“You don’t have to be female to be a feminist, you just have to believe in equality for men and women” – My Mummy’s Pennies

“I’m a feminist. I want equal rights for my daughters, no gender pay gap and parenting responsibilities and working seen as equal.” – Corporate Dad

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing : Ziva and Tali

I would like to introduce you to the newest members of the UEM family – Ziva and Tali!

Kittens Ziva the tortoiseshell and Tali the black and white hiding in a hole in the wall

When the kittens arrived they were very shy. We got them from somebody who had saved them from being kept in a tiny box in a shed. They hadn’t had a great deal of socialisation so were quite anxious, but they are settling in well.

ziva and tali sitting in a box

True to UEM form Ziva and Tali were quite an unexpected arrival. We knew we wanted to get a cat and had been casually looking around. When I saw these two the night before Oliver’s school trip I fell a little bit in love. One was described as being more affectionate and the other more playful, but the sisters needed a home together because they couldn’t bear to be apart.  I knew we could give them the home and love they needed together as a pair.

While we were at the farm on the trip the owner replied saying that we could see them that afternoon. When we left the farm we went home to collect R then straight out to meet them.

We completely weren’t expecting to walk away with two cats that day, but we did! With a quick pit stop at the Sainsbury’s petrol station to pick up some litter, we were on our way home with two kittens and all of their belongings.

Settling in

That was three weeks ago, since then we have bought them some extra toys and introduced our ‘crazy cat lady’ neighbour to them. Unfortunately one of her cats passed away last week after a long illness, so seeing our energetic kittens has really cheered her up. She has been really helpful and has even lent us some of her cat toys and enrichment devices to see how Ziva and Tali take to them.

ziva and tali playing and prowling in cat tunnel with fishing rod toy orange feather and jingly ball

Since arriving home they’ve gone from hiding in a hole in the wall to now coming and sitting with us on the sofa. We’ve played, given them space and stroked them to give them the chance to trust us. I’m so happy that we have given Oliver the chance to be a pet owner and seeing him with them is just amazing; it makes me feel proud that we have raised such a gentle boy.

Ziva, the tortoiseshell kitten has been hard to win over; I have a feeling she is going to be feisty, but she seems to adore Oliver and will roll over on to her back to let him stroke her tummy. Tali, the black and white kitten is much more eager to have affection and will be the first to come and sit with you. She even tries to get attention if you’re giving it to Ziva!

Ziva rolling on to her back for Oliver to stroke her with a sock on his hand

 

And the names? Well, some of you might be familiar with NCIS. We are huge fans, we even had Jethro on our list of boys names when Oliver was born. If you’re not familiar with NCIS, you should definitely watch it – you’ll love it and understand why Ziva’s name fits her personality so well!  If you watch it and haven’t seen the season 13 finale yet, watch it – but keep the tissues handy.

 

For more cat photos feel free to follow me on instagram as I go from cat lover to crazy cat lady!

 

When your cat looks like she’s smiling in her sleep

A photo posted by Natalie Streets (@diaryofuem) on

Solo Parenting without being a Single Parent

It’s that time of year again.  County show and outdoor event season.  The only reason I wince when I see the sun starting to shine and the temperature get warmer.  When R gets his shorts out I know it’s only a matter of time before he’s off for weeks at a time working away.  Of course, I can only be happy that he is working hard and providing enough money for me to stay at home and look after Oliver, but I won’t lie, I do dread the solo parenting bit.

It’s at this time of year my respect for single parents goes through the roof.  It’s really bloody hard when this small person relies only on you.  Last year was especially hard.  Oliver was a bit of a late talker so his understanding was not really there when I explained that Daddy would be home on whichever day.  We tried a few things last year to help us cope while Daddy was away.

 

What I’m Planning to Do This Year

This time will be a little different though; Oliver is older, I can actually drive and he understands so much more as well as being able to express himself better than he has ever been able to.  He can tell me he’s sad, or angry or upset or if he just needs a cuddle.  That in itself will make a huge difference.

Helping Oliver Cope

One of the things I will be implementing again is using the calendar.  I think Oliver really enjoyed crossing off the days.   I’m hoping we might have a few days out too, being able to drive means I can technically take Oliver out by myself, but it’s one of the things that I really struggle with, mentally.  I’m hoping that he might also see a little bit more of Nana, Grandad and Aunty M.

Me Time

Another thing that’s different, at least until the summer holidays, is that Oliver will be at preschool.  It gives me a chance for a bit of me time and to collect myself and my thoughts.  On Thursdays I go to yoga and then for a coffee (actually a decaf tea) with the other ladies from class.  I intend to start doing more yoga at home on other days too.  It really helps me be calm and refocus my thoughts.  I also bought a mindfulness book recently which I’d love to get in to

Housework

Now that Oliver is at preschool I have more of a routine with my cleaning schedule.  I am much happier with how the house looks now than I was this time last year.  We also got a dishwasher in the last year, which helps rather a lot!  The other thing will be to be kind to myself and let myself have the occasional off day where we have pasta sauce from a jar instead of everything needing to be cooked from scratch.

Oliver Time

I have to remember that above all, Oliver needs quality time and extra cuddles, extra play and extra silliness.  Sometimes he just needs a bit of time to wrestle with me or time to cuddle me, or be silly on snapchat with me.  He just needs me sometimes.

snapchat-solo-parenting-silly-

 

Do you have any tips on solo parenting when your partner is away?  If you have any magical secrets I’d love to hear them!

surviving solo parenting

 

Appreciating Your Mother-in-law on Mother’s Day

Mother-in-laws often get a lot of bad press, but they’re not all that bad, in fact they can be pretty amazing too.  This Mother’s Day is the last one before mine officially becomes my mother-in-law because next year’s Mother’s Day is the week after R & I get married.  So I’m here to celebrate how amazing she is and how happy I will be to officially call her my mother-in-law next year.

I am appreciating my Mother-in-law on Mother’s Day

appreciating mother in law on mothers day quote diary of an unexpectant mother

She is the one that raised the love of my life while his Dad worked away.

She is the one who came to hospital when I was rushed in to A&E when R was in London.

She is the one that told me I was right to let Oliver self wean from breastfeeding when most other people thought it was weird.

She is the one that understands how hard it is when R is away.

She is the one Oliver calls “Nana” with a huge smile on his face.

She is the one that taught me how to sew a name tape in to Oliver’s first preschool jumper.

She is the one that always double checks if I’m OK with normal tea or if I’d like decaf.

She is the one who didn’t offer unsolicited parenting advice.

She is the one who I ask for advice.

She is the one that will rib me, but not judge me for pretty much never ironing anything.

She is the one that I want to be there when I’m putting on my wedding dress.

She is the one I will be proud to call my mother-in-law.

 

Luckily for me, The Cooperative sent me a lovely box of goodies so even though we have been swamped with DIY we actually have something to offer up.

 

….Except the Prosecco of course, that’s definitely for me!

Do you appreciate your mother-in-law?  Are you lucky, like me, to have an amazing and supportive mother-in-law?

Appreciating Your Mother-in-Law on Mother's Day

I miss my Preschooler

It’s strange.  I miss Oliver but neither of us have gone anywhere really.   I suppose I almost miss my preschooler being a baby.  I suppose it’s not that I miss Oliver, but I miss one on one time with him.

It feels like it’s been forever since I really had that.

I’ve been busy trying to sort out my blog and busy planning #CBM16 then away last weekend for the event itself.

Oliver’s been at preschool every Monday to Friday morning since he started nursery in January and he’s started napping again in the afternoon.  He’s even started sleeping better at night.

But I miss him.

I’m really proud of how he’s settled in and happy that he’s obviously getting the chance to burn off the energy that he needs to while at nursery to be sleeping so well again.

But I miss him.

I miss lounging around in our pyjamas in the morning and watching Bing Bunny, 1,295,678 times a day with him when he’s not feeling great because Daddy is at work.  I miss him insisting that he needs to stay in the bathroom while I have a shower.  I miss him stroking my hair.  I miss him asking me how things work.  I miss him asking if we can go upstairs and just wrestle on my bed, ending up just laying there cuddling and talking about silly things or singing songs.  I miss him coming in to my bed in the middle of the night.

I miss him relying on me 24/7.

I miss knowing that I taught him everything he knows.

I miss the sense of relief I used to feel when R walked through the door from work, instead of knowing that I’m never going to get that long cuddle now.

I miss the feeling of freedom as I leave him with his Nana and Grandad for a weekend.

So yes, I miss him.

I miss my preschooler.

I miss Oliver.

oliver and mummy

 

Linking Up to:

A Bit Of Everything

Mummascribbles

Memories from Childhood

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a post full of terrible photos from the 80’s and 90’s of a small me.  Besides, there aren’t many photos of me without my brothers, and I don’t know how they’d feel about their photos being on this blog – or finding out that this blog exists!  A lot of the stuff that I write on here is about bad memories from childhood, the things that I realise now had a negative impact on my life or my mental health.  But those things are such a tiny part of my childhood, for the most part it was amazing.

Memories from Childhood

I grew up on a street where the only reason you left was because you died – yes, it was full of old people, but that didn’t bother me, well, maybe sometimes when school friends played with loads of kids on their street and I didn’t.  For the most part though, being one of very few children surrounded by a bunch of oldies was great!  They absolutely loved talking to you and always told you how lovely you were.  The people on that street saw my parents move in with a baby and a toddler, my mum pregnant with me and two young boys to look after, me as a newborn, a child, a tween, a teen and an adult.  They saw my family break down.  They saw me go through troubled times and probably heard me roll in at 4am a few times, they saw me pull myself together and go off to uni, they saw me come back with a first class degree and they saw me move down South to be with the man I love.  What’s more, some of them have even met Oliver and R – they saw me become a mother.

 

Childhood Street in the snow

 

That’s why when I saw this photo I felt a sudden wave of emotion.  I suddenly felt like I wanted to be there, that I miss being there and that I wish I could go back just one last time, but I can’t.  My parents sold the house last summer – it marked the end of a very troubled period for my family, yet it holds such amazing memories.  30 years of memories for my family.  I wish that Oliver could go there and remember it, so that he could see that a family unit so dysfunctional was once so happy and so normal, so oblivious to the realities of life, realities of what the future would bring for us.

 

But for now, it’s my turn to make Oliver’s memories as happy as mine were, or even happier.  I hope that a picture of our lovely little house in 25 years time can evoke such emotion in him, where he remembers all of the crazy things he did, the trouble he got in to and the neighbours doting on him.  I want his memories from childhood be something to look back on and smile about.

oliver and mummy

Now is our time.

 

Linking up to

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Is Marriage Still Important After Having a Child Together?

Marriage after kids edited

Before Oliver, R and I talked about which order we wanted to ‘do things in’; marriage was always my number one and I was adamant we would have no babies until I was Mrs. R. Then I fell pregnant.

I always felt like marriage was the foundation of a family

Which is odd, because my parents are divorced whereas my BFF’s parents only married after 20 something years together and they have an amazing relationship which I’ve always admired.  R on the other hand wasn’t keen on marriage despite his parents still being very happily married after 30 odd years and 4 children.

So is it still important now that we have a child and a business together?

Some might say that giving me a 50% share in his business and being the father of my child means that R is 100% committed and we don’t need marriage to prove that.  I know that marriage doesn’t prove that.  But I do still need marriage.  I don’t even know why, it’s just something deep within me, something that would make me feel complete.

Once upon a time I dreamt of a huge wedding with no expense spared and the biggest, sparkliest diamond you could dream of, but now my dream is different.

I dream of being a wife.

Having the same surname as my child and his father.

Having a beautiful low key day shared with our nearest and dearest.

And it doesn’t even matter if there’s a sparkly ring at all.

I just dream of being a Mrs.

It’s even getting to the point where I hate seeing other people getting engaged and just feel this pang of envy in the pit of my stomach – I don’t want to feel this way and I wish I could turn it off, but I can’t.

I know that marriage doesn’t have to be the foundation of a family, but I need it to be a part of mine.