Speak up you’re a mama now

Or Papa or caregiver…

But what I'm getting at is those little moments. You may or may not know the ones depending on your personality but I'm talking about when someone makes a derogatory comment and you just sit there quietly seething but not wanting to speak up. Some people are born with the ability to shout their views from the roof top and be outspoken when it comes to disagreeing with someone or expressing their opinion. Others such as myself can't do this. I often realise this when I'm with my sister-in-law who is incredibly vocal sometimes too much so (she told me I wouldn't be able to cut it as a teacher…she is currently studying to be a highschool English teacher) and I feel like a shrinking violet not willing to speak up.

Last night at dinner my family made some horrible comments that families do when they feel safe in their surroundings. Australia definitely has an undercurrent of racism and anyone who argues otherwise is bullshitting. So how, if you're a wallflower can you express your opinion? This was the question I posed to myself after the dinner – after all, I'm a Mama now and I don't want Logan to grow up thinking negative/derogatory/racist comments are ever ok no matter where you are.

I'm going to start by expressing myself more with my family. After all they aren't going to disown me if I tell them off for saying something offensive. I am also going to ask that those comments not be said around Logan, just as they won't swear around him they shouldn't be saying offensive things either. I'm hoping this will make me stronger when I'm outside my comfort zone. I will be honest and say that I won't take on anyone who looks like they would hit me if we're out in public and I more than likely won't argue with strangers. But in those moments I will do my best to educate Logan as to why what was said or done was wrong.

It's all about us doing our own bit to make sure the world our children inherit is full of love and positivity not violence and hatred. I'm starting small but aiming high. After all, I'm a mama now, I'm in charge of leading a child through life until he is old enough to make his own decisions. Hopefully, with my help the majority of them will be the right ones.


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8 thoughts on “Speak up you’re a mama now

  1. Lila says:

    This is a beautiful piece. I’ve had a lot of trouble speaking up about this sort of thing with people I like but have started to because what my children learn is so much more important than teaching them the bad habit of standing silently.
    Really well written Jess.

  2. sassandspice says:

    I quite the opposite to you as I tend to be very outspoken especially with my family. I disagree with them so often that they don’t get offended anymore. Racist comments should be taken seriously and I know people that have made comments and I have said I don’t think it’s appropriate in front of my daughter and that I don’t agree.

  3. Julie says:

    I think there are two types of racist/negative/derogatory comments. I break them into two categories, soft and hard. Soft comments come from ignorance, hard come from hate. Both are hard to change. For me I find it harder to speak up to my family than a stranger.

    • aussiemor says:

      I didn’t even think of this aspect but that’s very true. I think false/inappropriate humour is also behind a lot of it. But it’s definitely something I want to change. I wish I had more guts to be less of a wallflower!

  4. EmmieGemmie says:

    I tend to be quite confrontational with my own family, but have this exact same problem with my inLaws. They are generally very lovely but tend to have polar opposite views to me on many issues including the environment, indiginous rights, social issues, asylum seekers, division of labour, politics.. The list goes on and on but I feel there is an ingrained undercurrent of racism and sexism and homophobia there- none of which I want my daughter or son growing up to think of as acceptable.
    I also find it awkward, as want to say argue with them but also want to keep the peace.

    There is a line from Desiderata that I think of when these sorts of conversations come up:
    “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story”

    So Rather than getting angry about the latest racist/sexist/homophobic comment (which usually results in everyone getting defensive and agro and nobody listening to anyone anyway) I try to just calmly state the facts/reasons/observations that form the basis my point of view.. And try leave it at that!
    When I was younger I’d fight and argue trying to change people’s minds, but I now realise that is usually fruitless, sometimes just peacefully putting an alternative opinion out into the universe there can be much more powerful than picking a fight. Sticking to facts is also a good way to shut people up!!

    But the truth is everyone IS entitled to their own opinions.. And they also have a right to voice these opinions, offensive as they may be. I think the important thing is to teach our children to QUESTION all the different views they are likely to hear over the course of their lives. And for the times when we don’t feel brave enough or it isnt appropriate to question someone to their face, I think it is ok to discuss with our children afterwards about the comments that were made and that they only represent one narrow point of view.

    It’s a really tricky one and I totally feel your pain!

    • aussiemor says:

      I love that quote! Definitely lots to think about on this subject. But you raised a valid point that everyone is entitled to their opinion no matter where it comes from or what it is!

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