What is Radical Motherhood?
A philosophy, a vision, a revolution
My kids asked recently what “radical” means; they’ve heard it a lot in political advertisements. I suggested that it’s holding beliefs or taking actions that are outside the norm and that often, though not always, come from a place of concern for others. I also told them that the word can be used to invalidate, through insistence that it equates with “extreme.”
It made me think though, what if we reclaimed “radical” from those who wield it as a weapon and embraced it for its positive qualities? Then paired it with “motherhood,” an experience that’s stereotyped as the pinnacle of love and caretaking? What would happen then?
An emotionally charged word next to an emotionally warm word.
What might that be?
Radical motherhood is a philosophy.
It acknowledges that mothers are suffering en masse from exhaustion and overwhelm, resentment and regret, rage and self-abuse, that motherhood has been mauled by patriarchy and capitalism, and that we as individual mother-women have likewise been sabotaged by these systems, internalizing them alongside other damage done to us and becoming convinced that our struggles are ours alone. It recognizes that while we may not have created these problems and there is much we can’t control, we can take responsibility for ourselves as sovereign beings. It understands that the more privilege we have the more likely we are to be unknowingly supporting the frames of thought, choices, and institutions that hurt children, mothers, and all women, plus the planet.
Radical motherhood is a vision.
It sees us razing much of what we know and have built to raise that which is yet to be imagined, that which brings us to “a more perfect union” of body, mind, and spirit, of the internal and external, of parent and child, of one another.
Radical motherhood is action.
It begins within the mother herself, investigating her internal environment, the programming installed in her that dictates how she experiences herself, others, and the world around her. It continues by examining our role as mother-women in upholding ideas and cultural norms that violate others. It recalibrates “extreme” so that other and mother are centered, allowing us to stand out of the way as our children become who they are and as we become who we are.
Radical motherhood is revolution.
It’s a movement that begins on the inside and arrives on the outside, resting on our evolution and eradicating values that promote exploitation and domination while instilling those of equity and justice, then seeing them made manifest in the individual, family, and society.
Radical motherhood is love.
For oneself, first. Then radiating outward to all others and the planet.
Radical motherhood is extreme plus love.