I'll admit it. I'm a bit of a hippie. I'm not full-fledged "abandon all worldly possessions to spend the summer following Phish" or anything like that, but my general life philosophy and, yes, parenting practices, run a bit on the crunchy side. Actually, a lot of the time I don't feel especially hippie-ish until someone else points it out. Most of the time it's commented upon matter-of-factly, or with an air of pleasant surprise. But every now and then I get what all mothers will get at some point: judgement. Except guys, you shouldn't judge hippie parents. You shouldn't really judge any parents... except the parents from Home Alone because they really should have noticed Kevin was missing before they got on that plane.
Look, I may be a hippie, but I'm also snarky AF, so I get the instinct to judge. I really do. Especially when you can do it in a witty way, because who can resist a good (if mean-spirited) joke? But the wit isn't worth the mean-spiritedness, because while taking a crack at someone's parenting may help you feel better about yourself for a hot minute, in the long-run it just creates a culture of shame and back-biting that is going to hurt you far more. (And hippies reject the concept of shame.)
No one should judge anyone, of course, but I'm personally qualified to share some very valid reasons for why free-spirited moms and dads don't deserve to be judged... from my own hippie-dippy point of view.
*They're* Not Judging *You*
It's my experience that a lot of parenting judgment in general springs from the idea that "They're judging me so I'm going to respond in kind." But it's also my experience that, really, this is a vicious cycle that started from actually nothing that we can't escape. Hippie parents aren't judging you. At the very least they're not judging you any more so than any other parent (who I also don't think are, as a group, especially judgmental). Maybe you think they are because they're enthusiastic about their choices and their choices are different from yours, but this is not in and of itself judgment.
And, seriously, if they do happen to be judge-y jerks, two wrongs don't make a right, so cool your jets. Break the cycle, people!
How The Hell Are They Bothering You Even?
Seriously, their parenting not only has absolutely nothing to do with you, it probably isn't affecting your life in the slightest, so what gives? Unless hippie parents (or any parents) are specifically instructing their children to irritate you or destroy your things or whatever, you re choosing to make this your problem when you could seriously just let them do their thing and ignore it.
You Have No Idea How Their Kids Will "Turn Out"
As a hippie parent myself, I got this a lot: speculation about ways I was somehow ruining my children with my hippie-ish ways.
"If you wear her all the time she's going to be co-dependent."
"If you sleep in the same bed they're never going to sleep on their own."
"If you breastfeed for longer than six weeks he's going to grow up obsessed with boobs."
WOW. Yeah, no. First of all there are solid counter-arguments to each of those claims, and secondly, you're not a child psychology expert or some mystical soothsayer who can tell the future. So stop. You're saying way more about yourself and your own beliefs than you are about the child in question.
They've Probably Done Their Research
Per the above, a lot of what hippie parents do — babywearing, breastfeeding, bed-sharing, cloth-diapering, etc. — doesn't just spring into their heads one day on a whim. Many "crunchy" moms and dads take a deep dive into the research (and science!) of their decisions.
They Aren't Undermining Your Parenting
One parent doing something differently is not an indictment of your choices. It doesn't mean they think you're invalid and it certainly doesn't undo anything you're trying to do on your own. They aren't making their decisions in reaction to you or anything. Moreover, their rejection of something you're embracing doesn't mean they think you're making a bad decision — you're making the best decision for you. It's just that parenting isn't one-size-fits all.
They're Probably Not "Anti" Half The Stuff You Think They Are
People project a lot of stuff onto hippie parents and maybe sometimes it's true, but more often than not, when someone has assumed I'm "anti" something I honestly have no problem with it. Gender normative toys? I have no problem with my son playing with a truck or my daughter playing with a doll. Non-organic food? That's fine. Vaccines? Oh you better believe we (and 99 percent of the U.S. population) get those.
Don't assume you know someone's philosophies and preference without talking to them first... and certainly don't judge them based on those assumptions.
You Don't Know The Best Way To Parent Their Child
Different kids respond to different parenting styles. Go ahead and assume that all the time you spend with your child confirms you on an expert on them... and then go ahead and extend that same courtesy to hippie parents.
Their Children Aren't Being Spoiled Or Coddled
Hippies are always accused of not being firm enough with their kids (or infants) and therefore "spoiling" them or "creating bad habits." Holding a baby for any amount of time is not spoiling them. Neither is co-sleeping. It's not "coddling" to allow your child to tell you how they feel, even when they're "in trouble." Discipline doesn't always look like yelling or spanking. (And, maybe, some people believe not every not-ideal behavior requires harsh discipline.)
They're Trying To Parent With The World In Mind
One thing that sort of sets hippies apart (though, certainly, it's not completely exclusive to hippies) is that a lot of their philosophies in parenting (and everything else) aren't just about what works best for them, but what best serves the planet as a whole. Which diapers are best for the environment. Which food choices support sound agricultural practices? I'm not saying every single individual hippie mom is awesome, but I will say that a lot of these tendencies come from a good place.
They're Just Doing Their Best
This is just a good mantra to hum to yourself any time you feel like you might be getting judgmental toward anyone: We're all just doing our best.
It's Seriously None Of Your Damn Business
Not to be blunt but... I gotta be blunt here. Seriously. Calm down and tend to your own affairs before poking your nose in anyone else's.