As a hippie mom, I would never tell you what you should do. So perhaps it would be better to think of this list as less "things hippie moms do that every mom should try," and more like, "things some hippie moms do that every mom should feel empowered to try for themselves if they want to and we'll be really happy to talk about it with them if they'd like because motherhood is a sisterhood." (Admittedly, it makes for a less catchy headline.)
Because, honestly, telling people what they should and should not do is, like, antithetical to my whole, laissez-faire, hippie vibe, man. Not groovy. Not groovy in the slightest. Plus, hippie moms aren't a monolith — I'm a hippie mom who puts artificial sweetener in her coffee (I just like it, you guys!) — so it's not like we all go to monthly meetings and follow a prescribed agenda to the letter.
However, there are trends in the hippie mom community (or, at least, trends that have become associated with hippie moms) and they're trends because we all dig what they're about. Maybe they vibe with our overall sociopolitical worldview. Perhaps they're physically beneficially to both the parent and the child. Maybe we derive deep personal satisfaction from them. Or they're just really, really convenient to the point of being an essential life hack. So, with that in mind, the following suggestions are plays from the hippie mom playbook. They've worked for a lot of us, so maybe they'll work for you, too.
Certainly, if you're uncomfortable with the idea of co-sleeping: don't. However, if the idea doesn't horrify you, you might be surprised if you give it a whirl. (I solemnly vowed I would never co-sleep and turns out I was actually really super into it.)
Many a hippie mom will extol the virtues of co-sleeping as beneficial to parent and child, breastfeeding, and overall mental and physical health because, for some people, it's the only way anyone gets any sleep with a newborn around (including the newborn).
Some people babywear as a way to facilitate attachment parenting but, for this little hippie, it was at least 90 percent a matter of convenience. And oh, how convenient it was. I honestly don't know how I ever would've completed a single task what my daughter has lovingly come to call "the kangaroo pouch." Going out for the day? Babywear! Child won't fall asleep? Babywear! Need to play with another child? Babywear! And, depending on the model and size of your child, you can wear your little one from infancy to toddlerhood.
Obviously, deciding whether or not to breastfeed (or continue breastfeeding) is a deeply personal decision with no wrong answer that is entirely up to the parent in question.
That said, speaking personally, I really loved nursing my kids. Between knowing the benefits of breastfeeding and the cuddles and cuteness of having a child at the boob all the time, it was a very rewarding experience. While some women feel unduly pressured to nurse, many others are not given the support they want or need to enable them to succeed. As a hippie extended-breastfeeding type, I would encourage anyone with the inclination to go for it. There are resources available to you to help if you find yourself without allies. (Yay, internet.)
It's just the bee's knees, you guys. I put that sh*t on everything and it's never a bad idea.
Full disclosure: I never cloth diapered my children. With my first baby, we did not have our own washing machine so cleaning diapers would have been very time consuming and expensive (yes, even more expensive than buying disposable diapers). By the time I had my second, we had our own washer, but I'd grown accustomed to life with disposables.
Still, I feel bad about it. Every time I stuck a soiled diaper in the trash I felt like the Lorax was going to stick his head out of the bin and start lecturing me about truffula trees. (Diapers are made of truffula trees, right?) Not everyone is in a position to cloth diaper, financially (getting started in and of itself can be expensive) or otherwise, but in a perfect world I really would have liked to have tried it out, because unless you live in an area with water shortage issues (we don't), cloth diapers are better for the environment. If hippies love one thing, it's Mother Earth.
Gentle parenting is a philosophy that encourages parents to exercise empathy, respect, and mutually-understood boundaries with their children. Like, off the bat you can appreciate the air of hippie-ness that sort of hums around this concept like a lovely hippie aura, yes? You don't have to be a hippie to try gentle parenting (I mean, you don't have to be a hippie to try any of this stuff), but my kind of folk often appreciate the "touchy feely" aspects of it.
Talk About Feelings
Hippies love feelings, dudes. And hey, we've discovered that there's a real benefit to sharing those feelings with others so everyone knows where everyone else is coming from. We do this with out kids, our partners, our friends: everyone gets to hear about our feels! Plus, we want to hear about your feels, too!
Now, this doesn't come naturally to everyone. It might be really hard to take that first step into opening up with people, but I believe you'll often find that initial feeling of vulnerability is worth all the openness and honesty that will follow it.
#MomLife is stressful, you guys. Yoga helps stress, at the very least because it gets you away from your kids for a little while.
Play It Fast And Loose With Gender
As a hippie, I'm pretty big on the whole "you do you" thing, which plays nicely with my commitment to gender equality. So if I believe genders are equal and everyone should do their own thing, then it would stand to reason that I don't really care that my son routinely wears his Elsa costume or that my daughter wears ties and dapper vests. Gender is a drag, friends, but one that a lot of people are extremely committed to for no discernible reasons, in ways they don't always recognize. (Me too, as I'm not immune!) So if this is something you don't pay much attention to, maybe try making a point to think about it a little more critically, if only for an interesting social experiment.
Incorporate Healthy Foods Into Your Diet Every Day
Hippies love kale, quinoa, flax, and all things organic, which sometimes reads smug but it is good for you so why not go ahead and give healthy foods a fighting chance if you can?
Midwives are not the appropriate care providers or birth attendants for every pregnancy and birth, but they're more than appropriate for way more than they currently attend in the United States. Hippies seem to be the people who have been catching on.
As someone who received exquisite care under a certified nurse midwife, I have made it a (non-pushy) mission to let other pregnant mamas know that midwives are a wonderful and safe option to get you through this crazy pregnancy trip.
Encourage Creativity (Including Your Own)
Hippies are all over this stuff. Thinking outside of the box, expressing yourself, and all that jazz. Sadly, I feel like most people think creativity is something you either have or you don't and nothing you can do can enable you to improve your creativity. Moreover, even more people do not recognize their creativity when it does reveal itself. Try tuning into your innovative, interesting, intelligent, and artistic abilities and inclinations! Nurture those same qualities in your kids, because creativity is interdisciplinary and good for everyone.
So go ahead and give these a whirl. Or, you know, don't. It's all good, you guys. Peace, love, and oneness.