Alanis Morissette opens up about why she chose to breastfeed on a magazine cover, and why she “unschools” her kids
’90s alt rock queen, Alanis Morissette, is on Health magazine’s May cover — and it’s bringing a little bit of brightness and hope into our lives. Morissette deliberately chose to breastfeed for the cover photo in order to send a powerful message to all the moms out there: You are not alone, you are doing a good job, and you deserve to be celebrated.
The musician tells Health that she wanted to specifically be breastfeeding on the cover of Health because, “I love women,” she says. “I love moms so much. If I talked about it too much, I’ll start crying. I just think moms are so selfless day in and day out — women are just killing it all the time. And they are so often quietly suffering, or not-so-quietly suffering, and still going —functioning sufferers.”
Public breastfeeding has, in the most recent years, become a symbol of strength and defiance for some. For the longest time, moms were instructed to cover up when feeding their children in public places and shamed when they chose not to. Although publicly breastfeeding is no longer as taboo as it once was, some clueless folks still see it as an inappropriate act that should only take place behind closed doors. By choosing to breastfeed on the cover of a magazine, Morissette continues to help normalize the experience. (Although if you’re a mom who chooses not to breastfeed publicly, or at all, that’s totally okay too! Your choices are yours and yours alone.)
What makes this interview so special, is that Morissette gets super honest about her parenting style (Morissette has three children, her youngest born last summer). For instance, the musician opened up about practicing “unschooling,” which she describes as a “child-led education.” She tells Health, “So if there’s some agenda like, ‘Let’s play with these magnet tiles,’ and my daughter is like ‘Fuck those tiles. I want to put glitter on that thing and cut the tree and put the thing,’ boom — we do that. I basically get inside their eyeballs.”
Especially during these uncharted times, the way Morissette guides her children can be validating for moms and dads who might be worried they’re doing it “all wrong.” The musician makes it very clear that it’s up to parents to set up a system that benefits their kids best — and it’s okay if there are no rules.
Morissette adds, “My husband and I create pods all over the house — here’s where the spelling area is, and here’s where the fake animals are. There’s probably a better definition of unschooling, but there’s no rigidity to it.”
How do people react when Morissette shares her parenting methods? She tells Health, “When I share with people that I unschool, a lot of people I’m close with say they’d love to do it but just can’t. And I get it… It’s a commitment.” Like with all of the decisions parents make, the way they show their children the world is completely up to them, which is the point that the musician makes.
The pressure moms (and dads!) face can be excruciating, so that’s why it’s extra important celebrities with a platform like Alanis Morissette are so forthcoming about their experiences with parenthood. Morissette’s parenting may not be perfect or work for everyone, and that’s totally okay. Parenthood is unscripted.