I am so excited to share this amazing lady with you today.
I've known Kristin for over 20 years. In another lifetime, she was a young teenager living in my dorm, when I was a new-to-boarding-school dorm parent. Kristin was among the first group of girls to walk the halls of The Hill School in the late 90's, when the school first went coed.
Flash forward a couple of decades, and Kristin now lives in the same county where I grew up, living on Long Island with her husband and their three adorable kids.
It might seem a bit odd that I'm here featuring Kristin this week. She doesn't work specifically with teens, nor does she run a business designed for girls or women. She's simply a woman looking to empower other women- starting with her own young daughters.
I watch what this woman is doing for others, simply by speaking out, by using her voice, and I am so inspired. It seems that the teacher (or should I say the dorm parent) has become the student. I have so much to learn from Kristin. I believe you might, too.
So let me introduce you to my dear friend, Kristin Robinson.
1. Share your story with us. How did you arrive at motherhood, activism, empowerment?
As cliche as it sounds, having children changed my world or at least changed the way I viewed the world. I no longer had the privilege of apathy and if I hoped for a better world, I had to be the change. I could be upset about something happening but it didn't make a difference unless I used my voice. After seeing some not so kind behavior in my community, I created a local moms’ group on Facebook. Local moms can feel safe asking for advice or feedback, or they can vent after a long day without shame or judgment. It takes a village, and because I was new to the area, didn't have family or friends close by, I had to create my own supportive village. I've made an amazing group of diverse friends and I try to encourage women in the group to meet in person and connect outside of social media.
I couldn't just tell my kids to be kind, inclusive and speak out against injustice if I wasn't holding myself accountable and practicing what I preach. I started attending my local town council meetings, marches, protests, BOE meetings and now PTA meetings so I can be an active member of my community. I volunteer, canvass for political candidates, and show up to everything humanly possible. I also actively reach out to other women and try to get them engaged in our community. Sometimes just being a friend and giving a little encouragement is all it takes to bring someone from a passive citizen to an active, engaged citizen. We are stronger together and can change the trajectory of history with our collective voice.
I try to teach through example. I want my children to be active, engaged members of society. We talk about inequality, the environment, government, current events and history. We also have dance parties in the kitchen, play monsters and aliens (a Robinson specialty) and do more art projects than the Met could hold. Balance is important, and laughter, creativity and fun makes life worth living.
2. Would would you say is your mission in mothering? In life? In activism?
My mission has always been human connection, kindness and inclusiveness. Our humanity is directly dependent on the collective experiences with one another. My firstborn Hazel started preschool at 2. A little girl in her class had just moved from Poland and spoke very little English. She would cry every single day. I encouraged Hazel to befriend Natalia and look for ways to help her buddy. Fast forward to three years of being in the same class, they are the best of friends and have such a special connection forged through adversity and compassion.
I know the right path isn't always the easy or glamorous path but I have to live with the person staring back at me in the mirror. I need to know my children will be proud of my choices.
3. What do you think might be one important key to empowering our daughters, maybe specifically our teen girls?
Get them actively involved in the world around them as early as possible. If you're going to vote, bring your daughter and talk about women's suffrage. If there's an important issue in the news, talk to them about it and keep an open, honest dialogue. I bring my 5 year old daughter to every march or protest I can. I drag all 3 of my kids to the polls for every vote so they can see the importance of exercising our rights. I try to teach through action. A lot of women, activists, and heroes fought for my voice, and it's my duty to not only use that voice to defend my rights but educate the next generation. It gives young girls confidence to know they are important, valued and equal members of society.
4. What one tip would you share with other moms out there? Specifically "daughter moms"?
Be kind to yourself and other women. Our kids are watching us and will follow our lead. From the moment a girl is born, the world will try to define and diminish her uniqueness through labels. Pretty, ugly, skinny, fat, too outgoing, too angry, ditzy etc. You will always be "too something" for someone, so don't let anyone else define who you are and how you feel. Whenever I think something negative about myself or another woman, I stop and remember that our first thought is what we've been taught and our second is who we are. Let that second thought be empathetic, kind and honest.
5. Might you have a favorite resource to share with girl moms? A favorite book or podcast, program or speaker?
My oldest daughter is only 5 but I've found a lot of age appropriate resources. Some of our favorite books are I Dissent by Debbie Levy about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's journey to the Supreme Court Justice, Marching with Aunt Susan by Claire Rudolf Murphy about Susan B. Anthony and the women's suffrage movement, and My Body Belongs to Me From My Head to My Toes by pro familia. It’s about consent and owning your own body.
I think it's better to teach an honest narrative than to avoid uncomfortable topics. In a world filled with so many false narratives, truth will always reign supreme. These little humans are like sponges, soaking up everything around them, let's help them soak up more good than bad.
Thank you, Kristin, for sharing your heart and your wisdom with us. I can't help but feel that we could all learn from Kristin. Empowered women should empower other women. We should be building each other up. And we can start with our daughters.
Again, thank you, Kristin.
Next Monday is our Final October Monday, where I'll share with you a woman who TRULY TRULY does it all!