Sciencewomen

Mommy Monday: How I became the Hippie Mommy

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.

Comments

  1. #1 OrneryPest
    October 1, 2007

    Sounds good to me! The world needs more hippie mommies! My wife did most of those things with our son, except for co-sleeping and non-TVing. (And he’s now well on his way towards a PhD at Johns Hopkins.)

  2. #2 volcano girl
    October 1, 2007

    I’ve been called a hippie since leaving Utopia too! For not watching cable tv, bicycle commuting, eating organic fruits and veg, and spending as much of my free time outdoors as possible. I feel like these are simple, common sense lifestyle choices. I always think in my head when called a hippie, “you have no idea what real hippies are really like!”

    Good on you for sticking with it through mothering!
    -Volcano Girl

  3. #3 ecogeofemme
    October 1, 2007

    Good for you! I get that for using cloth napkins and not using paper towels. If I have a baby, I’ll engage in the same hippie behaviors as you, SW.

  4. #4 Addy N.
    October 1, 2007

    Just try being the mother of a biracial lactose-intolerant vegetarian who isn’t allowed to drink soda or eat junk food! She does trick-or-treat for UNICEF instead of collecting candy, too. You can imagine how all of this goes over the small towns that we’ve always lived in! Just do what you know is right and don’t worry about those other people who find it easier to give in…

  5. #5 Kate
    October 1, 2007

    You do a lot of the stuff I do and intend to do when the baby is born, and I also have been dealing with a lot of frustrated, offended and confused people lately. I’ve had the MIL freakouts about co-sleeping and not buying and SUV, the people who don’t understand why I have to leave work early on Tuesdays to pick up my farm share of produce, the folks who want to buy me a stroller when I have no intention of getting one until baby’s old enough to sometimes use a jog stroller (because we’ll be exclusively babywearing for the first 6-9 months, but TD also wants a jog stroller for when the baby gets older because he loves the idea of going out for a run with him/her).

    Anyway, I’m really glad you’re taking the attitude that you are — it’s nice to demonstrate to others that a lot of these decisions lead to a higher quality of life!

  6. #6 Saoirse
    October 1, 2007

    It all sounds perfectly reasonable and healthy to me. Especially the no TV bit.

  7. #7 Amelie
    October 1, 2007

    Sounds great! I would do most of those things to, certainly no TV and organic food if available (pretty rare here, unfortunately)… I’m just not sure I could resist a pretty diaper bag. Then again, many people consider some of the things I do weird already, so perhaps it would only be stringent.

  8. #8 ScienceMama
    October 1, 2007

    Well I guess I’m a hippie, too! I’m doing all those same things, except I do carry a nice diaper bag that I got as a gift…

    I’m still living in a sort-of-Utopia for the time being. It’s a pretty green city, and all the mamas I met while on maternity leave are all baby-wearin’, co-sleepin’, breastfeedin’ chicks, so it helps to have people aound you who agree with your parenting choices. Just keep up the good work, SW! Especially the no-TV thing!

  9. #9 Writer Chica
    October 1, 2007

    How interesting! I do hope you find others who parent similar to you, so you have support and that you aren’t always required to be the “teacher.”

  10. #10 Drugmonkey
    October 1, 2007

    Sorry, I haven’t followed your blog on all the details of “utopia” and “mystery city” but I’m just going to go way out on a limb here and figure you must have moved from the west coast in the easterly and southerly direction!

    Spouse of DM is about the last thing anyone would think of as a hippie but we ended up hitting on most of this stuff. it’s considered more or less “normal” I’d say all up and down the west coast of the US. dunno about the northeast mores? anyone?

  11. #11 bean-mom
    October 1, 2007

    ScienceWoman,

    How odd. I recently moved from Hippie Utopia, where your child rearing techniques are perfectly mainstream. I’m now in a *very* conservative Midwestern town (where are all the businesses are closed on Sundays because everyone’s at church)… and those child rearing techniques are *still* quite mainstream. The moms in my new moms groups are almost all fervent breastfeeding advocates, several of them nursing their children past the age of one (as I also did with mine). And I frequently see babywearing on the streets. Mystery City sounds very mysterious, at least to this mother.

  12. #12 Jane
    October 1, 2007

    I guess I’m a hippie mom too! (well, we don’t cosleep, but the rest fits.) People come up to me all the time and ask what the sling is and where I got it—it’s a great conversation starter!

  13. #13 Tracy
    October 1, 2007

    Guess I’m a hippie Mom, too. Still breastfeeding (just four months so far), no TV, cloth diapers, and homemade food ready in the fridge. Honestly, I think a lot of the “hippie Mom” pursuits are easier than anything else, yet everyone acts like it’s so hard to do them. I mean, come on: breastfeeding is WAY easier than bottle-feeding! Sometimes I don’t think I do these things because I really believe they’re “better,” but simply because they’re easier.

    Hmmm.

  14. #14 ScienceWoman
    October 2, 2007

    Yep, there are a lot of “hippie moms” out there, just as I suspected. Maybe I have moved to a particularly conservative part of the country that these practices aren’t more common among my neighbors and daycare parents. This area has a lot of “immigrants” from all over the country though, so you’d think I’d see more diversity in child-raising styles than I do. Oh well.

  15. #15 Flicka Mawa
    October 10, 2007

    Wow, now I really wonder what city you’re in. In NYC, baby slings are very common, but it does depend on what neighborhood you’re in. Still, I can’t imagine anyone here who would have not heard of those things – but if you move in the professional circles instead of the upper west side momma circles, then you probably would be hippie mom.

    Also, would it be at all possible for you to add me to your blogroll? I’m going to go update your link on mine to go to scienceblogs now.

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