Jane Chelliah’s list of the “characteristics of patriarchal motherhood” is provocative. What she’s talking about are the expectations that our patriarchal culture holds mothers to. Those who don’t adhere to these requirements, she says, are outlaw mothers:
- Children can be properly cared for only by the biological mother,
- this mothering must be provided 24/7,
- the mother must always put her children’s needs before her own,
- mothers must turn to the experts for instruction,
- the mother must be fully satisfied, fulfilled, completed and composed in motherhood,
- mothers must lavish excessive amounts of time, energy and money in the rearing of their children, and
- the mother has full responsibility but no power from which to mother.
Jane’s idea for a UK movement of outlaw mothering went down well at Occupy London – and she’s written up some of her ideas for us at The F-Word too; click here to read about her journey to empowered mothering, what that might involve in practice.