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Read the empowering advice founder of feminism Mary Wollstonecraft wrote to her daughter just days before her death

Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley's famous mother.

Mary Wollstonecraft is considered by many to be the founder of feminism. Her book, titled “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” was groundbreaking for challenging the notion that women existed for the sole purpose of pleasing men, and its philosophy is still the heartbeat pulsing through the women’s movement.

Wollstonecraft died only days after giving birth in 1797, but not before bestowing one last piece of advice to her baby girl. And it’s wisdom that every daughter deserves to hear.

Death may snatch me from you, before you can weigh my advice, or enter into my reasoning: I would then, with fond anxiety, lead you very early in life to form your grand principle of action, to save you from the vain regret of having, through irresolution, let the spring-tide of existence pass away, unimproved, unenjoyed. — Gain experience — ah! gain it — while experience is worth having, and acquire sufficient fortitude to pursue your own happiness; it includes your utility, by a direct path. What is wisdom too often, but the owl of the goddess, who sits moping in a desolated heart."

According to The Marginalian, the words come from another book Wollstonecraft had been brewing as a follow-up novel to Vindication, meant to take on a more personal tone. Her words indicate that Wollstonecraft knew the end could be approaching, making her message all the more bittersweet.

In our modern era, this passage might not seem all too radical. Gain experience, pursue your own happiness. Got it, we’ve heard it before. But the fact that Wollstonecraft encouraged self-mastery to her daughter—in a time when a woman’s fate was decided wholly by men—is what makes it so remarkable. Wollstonecraft inherently knew the value of empowering women, and wanted her daughter to have the same inner knowing.

She also wanted her daughter to come into this world with the knowledge that she is, and always will be enough. She writes how remembering that will help ensure a happy life.

Always appear what you are, and you will not pass through existence without enjoying its genuine blessings, love and respect."

Wollstonecraft’s words—and her feminist principles—would continue to live on through her daughter, Mary Shelley, who went on to write “Frankenstein,” giving the world its first taste of science fiction.

Mary Shelley

commons.wikimedia.org

Scholars have noted how Shelley’s iconic novel is, in its own right, a feminist novel. Primarily for the way Shelley criticized how females and femininity had been devalued by a male-driven science community in patriarchal society. I mean, the bride of Frankenstein was torn to pieces … so …

Like her mother advised, Shelley rebelled against convention in favor of pursuing her own path. And not just in her career, either. In fact, both mother and daughter had passionate counterculture romances that warranted a rather spicy double biography.

The Marginalian adds that little Mary Shelley learned to read by tracing the letters of her mother's gravestone, and really only came to know her mother through her work. It’s a bittersweet, yet touching image. The words of her late mother clearly resonated and shaped her identity.

It seemed Wollstonecraft’s dying wish was to instill within her daughter a fiery independence that couldn’t be squelched. If that’s the case, she succeeded, and her words continue to inspire women everywhere to enjoy (even fight for) the genuine blessings of being exactly who they are.

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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Joy

Tea time: how this boutique blends cultures from around the world

Ethically sourced, modern clothes for kids that embrace adventure, inspire connections and global thinking.

The Tea Collection combines philanthropic efforts with a deep rooted sense of multiculturalism into each of their designs so that kids can grow up with global sensibilities. They make clothes built to last with practicality and adventure in mind. But why "Tea"?

Let's spill it. Tea is a drink shared around the world with people from all different cultures. It is a common thread that weaves the world together. The Tea Collection was born from a love of travel and a love of sharing tea with different people in different places. Inspired by patterns from around the world, these clothes help children develop a familiarity with global communities.

Tea sources their materials ethically and ensures that each of their partners abide to strict codes of conduct. They have a zero-tolerance policy for anything "even slightly questionable" and make sure that they regularly visit their manufacturing partners to ensure that they're supporting positive working conditions.

Since 2003, The Tea Collection has partnered with the Global Fund for Children and has invested in different grassroots organizations that create community empowered programs to uplift kids in need. They donate 10% of their proceeds and have already contributed over $500,000 to different organizations such as: The Homeless Prenatal Program (San Francisco, CA, USA), Door of Faith Orphanage (Baja California, Mexico), Little Sisters Fund (Nepal) and others in Peru, Sri Lanka, India, Italy and Haiti.

But the best part about the Tea Collection? They're also an official member of the Kidizen Rewear Collective, which believes that clothes should stretch far beyond one child's use. They have their own external site for their preloved clothes that makes rewearing affordable. Families can trade in gently used Tea clothes and receive discounts for future products. Shopping the site helps keep clothes out of land fills and reduces the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

By creating heirloom style clothing made to last families can buy, sell, and trade clothes that can be reworn again and again. Because "new to you" doesn't always have to mean never been worn. And let's be honest, we all know how fast kids grow! Shopping preloved clothes is a great way to keep styles fresh without harming the environment or feeling guilty about not getting the most out of certain styles.

But don't just take our word for it! Head over to the Tea Collection and see for yourself!

Upworthy has earned revenue through a partnership and/or may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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