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Parenting is the oldest and most important job in the world and there are no schools to prepare you for it. You’re left to your own wiles, hearsay and parenting books. Everyone expects that women naturally possess a maternal instinct, a capacity for unconditional love and inherent insight for raising happy, responsible and healthy human beings. But do they really? Is good parenting really an innate quality? How do we learn to raise our children in the right way?

From the Unites States, meet Polly Pagenhart, a parent who identifies as a LesbianDad and questions the mainstream concepts of motherhood and gender. Then step into the world of Francesca and Sonia, two women who proudly exclaim that they are both genetic mothers to their son and daughter.

In Turkey, afflicted by poverty, unemployment and a bad marriage, Hayriye Ipin struggles to raise her children. She attends a school that educates mothers on how to be better parents, and through her experience, learns how to be a loving mother and see her children as a blessing, not a curse.

In South Africa, the renowned radio personality Sam Cowen writes a tongue-in-cheek account of raising her son Christopher and learning to be satisfied as a career mom by believing in God, relaxing and, when in doubt, reminding herself: “If Americans can do it, ANYONE can.”
Read stories from women around the world and join the conversation.
Stories & Conversation
21 stories
Conversation (24 comments)
United States
Latest Comment
Thank you Betty Kehrle for the very kind words. I went to therapy the whole last year to learn new ways on how to deal with my mother. But, I'm taking baby steps with her, but I know things will change once I leave California. Like you...
"Raising a Child in Iran's Cultural Divide" by Azadeh Moaveni
"The Stork" by Nina Paley
United States
"The Pink and Blue Project" by Jeong Mee Yoon
South Korea
"Can Two Women Make a Baby?" by Franceska Donor
United States
"Minneapolis Poem" by Shá Cage
United States
"Mother Nature" by Sunila Bajracharya
""Eight years old"" by Paula Toller
"Mother + Modern = Mothern " by Juliana Sampaio
"Excerpt from Waiting for Christopher" by Sam Cowen
South Africa
"Four Cycles of Single Motherhood: a diary" by Jennifer Edwards
United States
"How I Became a Loving Mother" by Hayriye İpin
"Maternity" by Hillary Harvey
United States
"A Doula Story" by Tevakevia "Kyky" White
United States
"Teenage pregnancy in Brazil" by Marizilda Cruppe – EVE Photographers
"Growing Up Fast" by Joanna Lipper
United States
"Tilt!" by Polly Pagenhart
United States
"Drain" by Cristina Teresa O'Keeffe
United States
"La Carga " by Maria Adela Diaz
United States
"The Stamp of Motherhood" by Itzel Martínez Del Canizo
"Fearless Motherhood " by Jen Lemen
United States
"Momma Love" by Ali Smith
United States
©2008 International Museum of Women / Privacy Policy and Disclaimer / Translated by 101translations / Change Language