Six years in the mom game and I still don't quite know what a "hippie mom" is. I guess I could base it on things I've done that have prompted others to tell me, "You're such a hippie!" Those things, as far as I can see, are a set of principles that I believe help me lead an ethical, compassionate, and balanced life. These are values I want to pass on to my children, and the reasons I'm a hippie mom often boil down to just that: I want to make a better world and enriched life for my family.
In the past I've clearly articulated the things I want people to know about being "a hippie mom," or have tried to adequately explain the obnoxious things I've heard as a hippie mom, but I've never delved into why actually being a hippie mom is important to me. Look, I'm not oblivious to the fact that hippies are often a bit of a cultural punchline, and I try to have a sense of humor about it. Our laid-back attitudes, offbeat beliefs, and sometimes interesting fashion choices can be funny when viewed through certain lenses.
That's not to say that we don't have some valid points, good ideas, and shouldn't be taken seriously, though. At the end of the day, any true hippie doesn't just want a better world for her insular little group, but for everyone, and we'd love your help in making that possible. So with that in mind, here are just a few reasons why I'm a proud hippie mom:
Because Environmental Stewardship Is Important
I'm always sort of taken aback that this declaration still comes across as being "hippie" to many people, because I'm pretty sure the data is conclusive that we all live on Earth. I'd imagine it would make perfect sense to everyone that we should do our best to maintain a healthy, balanced environment, but yesterday I just saw a friend re-post a screed against electric cars on social media so, um, oh well?
Look, I am aware of my limitations in saving Mother Earth. I know my commitment to reducing, reusing, and recycling isn't going to solve global warming. I'm also aware that some of my choices aren't always the most environmentally friendly (I didn't cloth diaper, for example, for a number of reasons), but not being able to do everything doesn't mean one shouldn't try to do what one can. Becoming a mother has really made me more of a "hippie" in this way, because it's one thing to know that you're pushing off a problem into a nebulous future, but it's another thing to see (and love) the people you're pushing it off on.
Because I Want My Kids To Love Nature
My family moved to "the country" recently and a part of that decision was based on our new home's proximity to woods, state and national parks, and general greenery. I want me kids to be able to feel comfortable in the woods, getting a little dirty and gaining an appreciation for the different ecosytems and habitats they can observe. Adopting an overall hippie attitude, where we prioritize "communing with nature" is a good way to instill what I think is an important (and enriching) value.
Because Creativity Is Important
Ahh! Look at her! So inspired! Such an artist. What is she making? I don't know, but I'm sure she does. Probably.
The idea that creating art is a valuable and even crucial aspect of building a better world is a central tenet of #hippielife. The idea of creating something and saying something with art (even if what you're saying is "I made this because making it made me happy") and connecting with other people through art is something that is tremendously important to me and my partner and we want to nurture it in our children.
What can I say? We're a house full of hippies (and also Ravenclaws, which is definitely Hogwarts' hippiest house).
Because Kids' Feelings Are Important
Hippies have a lot of feelings. Feelings they talk about and think about and express through any number of outlets. I'm a hippie because I deeply value my kids feelings, even the feelings that are really, really difficult to deal with. Like this morning, when my daughter told me she wanted Cheerios with blueberries and strawberries for breakfast and then cried when I gave it to her because she didn't want to eat it. After letting her cry for little bit (when I saw reasoning with her was going precisely no where) we had the following conversation:
Me: Sweetie, how do you feel right now?
Me: I'm sorry to hear you feel sad. What are you sad about?
Her: My breakfast!
Me: I understand that.
(OK so I didn't understand why she felt sad about receiving the breakfast she asked for, but I understood that she was, in fact, sad for some weird toddler reason.)
Another couple minutes and she felt better enough to actually eat what she was given. Being heard, I've found, is often all kids need to move on from a "traumatic" incident.
Because Childhood Should Experience Some Magic & Whimsy
Look, my mom is a hippie (and a fantasy novelist to boot), so I grew up with fairies and elves and hobbits and talking trees and the belief that I was using magic whenever a stoplight turned green. So I will be damned if I don't incorporate at least the same level of whimsy in my children's lives as well.
On a related note, I highly recommend having a "house elf" come live with you (ours is named Dobby, of course). I don't know if you know this but house elves are mischievous and take things when we're not looking. They make up for it by sometimes leaving things for us that they've found and want to share — a new toy, a pretty rock, an acorn. It's a way to make missing toys and misplaced items more bearable, so you and your children can avoid meltdowns.
Because It's Just Easier
Do you know the biggest reasons I breastfed and was into babywearing and let my kids' hair grow long? These things were all just what was easier for me than bottle-feeding, using a stroller, and getting haircuts. So a lot of my hippie-ness comes from a "hippie by default" kind of mentality.
Because I'm Actually Really Into Science
There's this idea that hippies are anti-science, but I don't see it that way at all. What many think of as "hippie alternatives" are no less based on scientific principles than "real medicine" created in a lab. I once heard it said that there is no "alternative" medicine. If it works it's medicine and there is a scientific reason why. That's not to say everything espoused by someone wearing a hemp necklace is effective because, well, there's a ton of junk science out there. But plant-based medicine — calendula and comfrey balm in place of a store-bought first-aid cream or medical marijuana used to treat anxiety, for example — can be studied on a chemical level the same way you can study synthetic chemicals churned out by Pfizer and Novartis. I think that's fascinating.
In other words, being a hippie makes me interested in science. While humans, in our hubris, often believe there are no worlds left to discover, the truth is we know more about the surface of the moon than, say, the bottom of the ocean. Our own planet is teeming with possibilities.
I want to raise children who are open-minded but still scientifically literate and critical. Approach everything with skepticism, but be willing to approach more than others may think to.
Because I Don't Really Get The Point Of Clothes & Shoes Sometimes
Like, I'm not saying that they serve no purpose, but what is the point of clothing on a hot summer day in the privacy of your yard? They're holding you back, man.
Moreover, I dare anyone to try to keep clothing on my children. They were born naked, they want to live naked.
Because I Want My Kids To Be Politically Active
The first hippies were born in the tumult and upheaval of the 1960s — they cannot be separated from their political roots. Everything hippies do is a rebellion or reaction to the socio-political world around them. I want my children to keep their eyes wide open and to feel inspired and empowered to effect positive social change whenever possible. That's why my husband and I talk politics in front of the kids, keep NPR on in the background of our lives, attend marches, rallies, and political social events, and openly discuss the ways in which we are privileged (and how we're not) and how we can use what we have to make the world more fair for everyone.
Because We Behave More Ethically & Compassionately When We Realize We're All Connected To One Another
I'm a hippie mom because I believe, truly and deeply, that nothing about this world would work at all if everything were not connected to everything else and that unhappiness and discord usually stems from fighting against that idea too much.
Now I'm a hippie, but I'm also a sarcastic b*tch, so I recognize that this sounds corny as hell, but that doesn't mean it's not true. My goal as a mother is that my children feel free enough to develop as unique individuals, unfettered by societal pressures to conform, but at the same time to see themselves deeply connected to something bigger; something that is worth saving, nurturing, and making better.