Like many sane people, I am trying (with help from their father) to raise two feminists. And I mean feminist in the true sense of the word; raising children to believe that we are all equal, that we should all be treated equally. Nothing made me happier this Mother’s Day than to watch my six-year-old daughter prancing around the garden singing Beyonce’s “Who rules the world?”, whilst my four-year-old son trit-trotted behind her shouting “Girls and boys should rule the world! They should share it!”
There are many people who have influenced my stance as a feminist. Caitlin Moran, OBVIOUSLY. Good friends, literary heroes, teachers. But most of all, my beliefs and attitudes have been honed by the two mothers in my life.
Yes, I have two of them and yes, I love them equally.
This, despite many of my childhood friends thinking it the best thing since, well, ever, has not always been easy. It can be difficult to manage the relationships, to divide your time and affection, to manage your guilt. My first mother is my biological mother, though this makes our relationship sound far more clinical than it is. She gave birth to me, looked after me during my infancy and has continued to be a strong presence in my life going forward. My second mother is my stepmother, who I lived with from the age of about seven onwards and gave me possibly the best role model I could have asked for during the later stages of my childhood and those vital, miserable, formative teenage years.
Both women are fiercely independent, both are very determined and both helped me become the woman, and the writer, I am today. My first mother has shown me how to live life with dignity, whatever may be thrown your way. To manage relationships and navigate difficult situations. My second mother has taught me integrity, drive and courage. She has shown me how to carve my own path in the world without a map to fall back on, how to believe in and trust myself.
Without their strength, tenacity and example I would be a poor, half-formed creature. As it is I am strong.
And I have those two women to thank for it.
Happy Mothers’ Day Mums.