When I lived in Utopia, I was pretty mainstream. I drove to work, but shopped at the cooperative grocery. I liked to hike and get outdoors, support local businesses, and compost. So naturally when I was pregnant, I consulted my instincts and my mommy-friends and made some decisions about how I was going to parent. And for the few months that I parented in Utopia, things went pretty well and when I needed support I had numerous friends and neighbors to turn to.
But then I moved to Mystery City, and I realized how non-mainstream my ways really were. People look at us as if we are odd when we do things or talk about things that I would consider perfectly normal. Fish and I joke that I have become a “hippie mommy” just because of the move.
What sort of weird things do I do?
• I breastfeed exclusively. Few other babies in Minnow’s daycare are getting just breastmilk. Not even the center director’s baby who has his mommy just down the hall all day long.
• I co-sleep with Minnow. That drew shock and outrage when it came up in conversation with some soon-to-be parents at a departmental picnic.
• I sometimes wear Minnow in a sling or pack when we are in stores, on walks, or just working around the house. One neighbor said she’d never seen such a contraption (she has a 1-year-old) but then added that it looked very handy.
• I bring Minnow’s stuff to daycare in our co-op canvas tote bag rather than an expensive diaper bag. I have a (free from the formula company) diaper bag, but it’s packed and ready in my car. For going to and from daycare it was just easier to toss stuff in the canvas tote.
• I try to feed Minnow organic food and home-made food as much as possible.
• I don’t let Minnow watch TV. When we are visiting other people’s houses I ask them to turn the TV off if no one is watching and Minnow is in the room. Sometimes they look offended, even when I explain that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV until age 2.
Doing these simple things that make life happier, easier, and healthier for Minnow and I has made me into a Hippie Mommy. And now I am beginning to delight in being out of the mainstream and have begun to do more of these things just to show my neighbors and the people in the grocery store how wonderful life can be.