A few months ago, folks in my social media feeds were chatting and sharing a meme about different kinds of moms. While I enjoyed it too, something about it kinda dug in my craw, especially the way the so-called "hippie" mom was portrayed. I couldn't figure out why until a few days ago, as I was reflecting on the day while making my own homemade granola. I am a hippie mom, and there are lots of misunderstandings and other things hippie moms are tired of hearing about when it comes to ourselves, our parenting choices and what it means to be a "hippie."
I suppose I should have realized this sooner. After all, the evidence has been mounting for years now: I wear my hair naturally, I gave birth to my still-breastfeeding, still-babyworn toddler at home, I use coconut oil for everything, I use eco-friendly disposable diapers and feel extraordinarily guilty about it: I mean, the list goes on. However, I'm also really geeky and I research everything and I'm occasionally competitive; in other words, I'm lots of other things that aren't necessarily part of the "hippie mom" profile. I guess that's part of the trouble with classifying moms in general: we all have elements of lots of different "types" within us, so it's easy for others to overlook what's really true about us as individual human beings, when all they see is the general "type" they think we belong to.
Contrary to what the following tropes might suggest, hippie moms are just as caring, capable, and intelligent as any other moms, and we're kinda sick of people acting like we don't have it this whole parenting together just because we're hippies. Let's be real: nobody has it all together, because that's what binds us as humans. Hey, at least hippie moms have super soft skin as we flail through this mom life. (Thanks, coconut oil.)
“They're So Smug”
This one is tiring because, categorically, hippie moms aren't smug. Smug moms are smug, and you can find smug individuals in any subculture. Regardless of what their specific habits or preferences are, there are some people who feel that their adherence to whatever defines their group makes them better than other people. The rest of us, however, are just doing stuff we like that works for us. We don't think we're better than anybody else, we're just really excited about what we've got going on.
“They Hate Science And/Or Technology”
This is not necessarily true, unless you're talking about a very specific subset of like, survivalist homesteader moms who actually, specifically say they reject this stuff. Most hippie moms just like to keep things simple, but we're not totally against science or technology. My kids are vaccinated, and I do everything I can to combat climate change because I respect science (and 'cause hippies really like Earth). I'm also quite fond of my smartphone, and modern conveniences like search engines. After all, how else would I know I'm getting the best price on bulk extra virgin coconut oil without Google?
“They Want To Be Their Kid’s Friend”
No, no, no. There's a big difference between recognizing that my child is an autonomous person who deserves courtesy and respect, and relinquishing my authority and responsibility as a parent. I don't need to order my kids around or be hard on them in order to parent.
“They Need To Be Tougher On Their Kids”
No, not really. If you ask me, no one needs to be tough on kids. Kids have it tough enough, growing up in a bewildering, often dangerous world that makes grown people anxious AF. That's what this whole hippie peace and love thing is about: making life less needlessly tough on everyone, our kids included.
Now, like any good mom of any type, I'm all about setting clear boundaries and expectations for my kids, because that's an important part of any relationship. Still, I don't need to be tough on them. The rest of the world has that pretty well handled.
"They Need To Be Tougher Themselves"
Who says we aren't? It takes a lot of toughness to show compassion even under stressful circumstances, and to resist the authoritarianism that is so prevalent in our society. Just because we aren't yelling or punishing or being stern all the time, doesn't mean we're not tough.
“They're So Flighty”
Whatever, man. If our kids are fed and taken care of, our bills are paid, and our homes up to code, we're meeting our most important responsibilities.
“They Baby Their Kids”
Babies should be babies for as long as they are babies. Kids should be kids for as long as they're kids. Childhood is too short as it is, so there's no need to rush our kids to grow up. If our kids are fine with our cooperative games, lovey-dovey songs, and whatever else, then we'll keep it up until they're not.
“They're So Lazy”
Um, making your own household products is hardly lazy, thank you very much. Also, just 'cause we're not necessarily focused on making the most money or sacrificing everything in our lives to achieve material success (by conventional standards, anyway), doesn't mean we're lazy. It just means we value different things and channel our energy accordingly.
“They Need To Stop Co-Sleeping/Breastfeeding/Babywearing Already”
Apparently, we're always doing any or all of these things "too long" according to someone. But, like I said before, there's no need to rush kids to grow up before they're ready. More importantly, if co-sleeping works for us and allows everyone to get enough sleep, then that's what we should do. Same goes for breastfeeding and baby/toddler/kidwearing. It's only "too long" if it's no longer working for us or our kids.
“Something Blah Blah Something The Real World Blah”
First: I really wish we'd all stop referring to the so-called “real world.” Every part of the world is as real as every other part, and this term is only ever used to try to invalidate or shame people for doing something differently than what the speaker values or expects. Hippie homes are no less “real” than the world outside of them, and the kids raised within them aren't necessarily less prepared for the rest of the world. Hippie moms manage just as well as anyone else out there, and as long as we're loving and attentive, we’ll raise resilient, progressive kids who will be able to survive, thrive, and even change the world, too.