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Name & age: Hannah, 28
Kids: Esmae (6), Eira (5) and Elfie (2)
What does being a woke mama mean to you?
Being a woke mama to me means questioning everything, not just going along with the crowd because that’s what’s expected.
It means acknowledging that I don’t have to get my ‘old self’ back, and that being a mother is part of me, and a way that I can change the world for the better. It means allowing my kids to grow without arbitrary rules and with all the respect and kindness that I would give an adult whose friendship I valued.
What made you choose gentle parenting? And what is your favourite aspect of it?
My parenting style was instinctive — I had Esmae when I was 21 and none of my friends had babies, so we spent a lot of time just her and I, and there was no-one to give me parenting advice, for which I’m now eternally grateful!
Attachment parenting followed its natural progression to home education, and the way we parent meant it didn’t make sense to me to suddenly impose things upon the kids — they had flourished so far and would continue to do so with love and support.
My favourite bit of our parenting style is the fact that our kids are confident in saying ‘No’, in holding firm to their opinions and not following the crowd. They refuse to accept poor treatment for anyone because they are treated with total respect, which I think sets them up for good relationships and self-worth in later life.
Most awesome moment so far?
It’s hard to pick one! Seeing our six year old read a menu when she’s never had lessons is definitely up there, but I also get a great feeling when — and this might sound strange — our kids argue with us. They’re not afraid of us, they know how to use logic and are confident in their worth as equal to adults. It makes things more effort for us, but I love it.
Biggest struggle so far? How do you cope with stressful moments?
Ooh, it’s probably the same as the best moments! Giving kids autonomy and communicating that they are equal to adults means that they aren’t afraid to disagree and argue their corner.
Usually I remind myself that this is what I want for them, and honestly arguing as equals with a six year old or being defeated with logic by a five year old often makes me laugh, which is a great tension diffuser.
I also make sure I model to them that I love doing things by myself sometimes, whether that’s going to see friends or helping out with a community group. It gives me head space, gives the girls 1-1 time with Patrick and I hope the message is getting to them that when they are mothers they are still able to do other things, have other responsibilities if they choose to, and to practise self care and have fun!
How do you juggle work with gentle parenting?
I work from home, which allows us to travel full time. It’s much easier now Patrick and my mum are travelling with us; at home I just had to work when they were playing, or after they had gone to sleep. For me getting clearer boundaries with work has helped; it means I get better work done and then I’m refreshed and focused to be with my kids.
Any advice you would give to new mums?
Don’t try and mould your child into anything; they have the potential to be a dynamic, beautiful human and it’s easy to squash it with arbitrary rules or compulsory activities.
Listen to them — I mean really listen to them — and respond to them as you would an honoured guest from a foreign land, or an elderly person of whom you were taking care.
Those reminders have helped me remember that children need the respect, kindness and dignity that we would afford to any human.
What’s on your soundtrack to your first year of being a Woke Mama?
Ooh, tough one! Back in the UK I was listening to a remix of Jessie J’s “who you are” and Colbie Callait’s “Try”. They’re both sending out a message of peace with yourself and contentedly accepting life as imperfect.
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