We at Najell believe in encouraging every parent to maintain their identity, continue their own life, and parent in their own way. In this series of interviews, we will highlight and discuss all aspects of parenting with our selected power people. People who we believe are strong as both parents and individuals. And who above all else, empower others.
First up is Mariette – artist, songwriter, and most recently featured in Mello (aka. Melodifestivalen). In the interview below, we talk about combining work and parenting, gender equality, and mom-shaming.
Mariette and Isabel had their first child together, Dante, on the 8th of November last year. A few months after giving birth, Mariette was back in one of her favorite places: the stage. Something that unfortunately sparked concern, criticism, and mom-shaming.
– You say on your Instagram that “it feels like women are criticizing women – we need to stop doing that”. What do you think it will take for us to stop mother-shaming?
“I think it has to start with each individual. I get the feeling that those who mother-shame are usually having a hard time themselves. But instead of pushing down, maybe they should reach out a hand and ask for advice. To dare to talk about their challenges in parenting. Being human is tough enough and being a parent is even tougher. We need to support each other in order to be the best versions of ourselves. For the sake of our children.”
– In Sweden, we have good systems of support for new parents, such as long parental leave – and the possibility to stay at home for prolonged periods. But our experience is also that society demands that we (mothers first and foremost) are the ones expected to stay at home and for longer. When you boil it down, it’s all about finding that golden balance between being a parent and living your life. What do you think is the secret recipe for being a parent and doing everything you want to do?
“Both my wife and I believe in inclusive parenting and for us, it works very well to combine work and life. For example, being able to take the whole family with me when I have gigs means we get to spend so much more time together and get to share shared memories for life. I’m a parent even when I’m on stage. Isabelle is a parent even when she’s sitting in her office. What’s to say our kids can’t be involved and see their parents in those roles too? I feel like “work” is such a negatively charged word. I think it’s important to show the younger ones that work can also be something you really love and let them be a part of it.”
– Do you think you’ve received more criticism because you’re same-sex parents?
“No, I don’t think so. Not on these issues. Unfortunately, we get a lot of criticism for being two mothers. It’s frightening how many people think that a child needs a father to have a good upbringing. But I think mother-shaming is based on other people’s insecurities and feelings.”
– You also raised the question “why are new fathers who have careers celebrated but us women are criticized?” How would you yourself answer that question?
“I think society is built on norms that are still prevalent. We have come a long way on many issues, but we have a long way to go. We have to continue to be role models and fight for change because it won’t happen overnight.”
– On your Instagram, you discuss the negative comments and opinions you get. However, you also make it clear that you receive a lot of love. What kind words do you get from all those who support you?
“Oh, there is so much love! Haha! I hardly know where to start. But I think it’s especially nice when people open up to me and tell me their experiences, good and bad. It’s vulnerable and so nice. It makes me feel like we’re working with each other instead of against each other.”
– What would you like to say to all the mothers (and fathers) who have to endure parent-shaming? And do you have any awesome responses in return?
“Take no notice. You know your child/children best and you know their needs. Reach out and be proud of all you accomplish and have accomplished.”