The Hippie Mom Superiority ComplexCassandra Barry
I like some hippies. I have friends who are hippies. I’ve even been called one by my own husband. But a lot of hippie moms are really starting to annoy me. They tout their agenda in the most vocal and superior way. They have this self-righteous way of telling you that they’re doing it the right way and you’re not. They need you to know that they don’t vaccinate… They prefer to breast feed their kids until they’re well into toddler-hood. They believe in co-sleeping. They have more re-usable containers made out of recycled plastic than you do.
I don’t mind that they feel this way and do these things. I just don’t need to hear about it all the time. They want you to know that they’re doing things differently than the general public. They’re subversive and more enlightened than you and me. Something about hippie moms compels them to make it clear to you how liberal, conscientious and nurturing they are. As if it’s some kind of contest.
They love their babies more than you because they wear them all the time. (And they like to brag that using a Moby wrap is “really, sooooo easy.”) They’re closer with their children because they co-sleep. (Though they neglect to mention the lack of sleep that goes along with that.) They only feed their kids organic foods. (Subtext: You are poisoning your kid with your non-organic Goldfish crackers.) They refer to their rambunctious brats as “highly spirited.”
A hippie mom also always manages to get around to mentioning her home birth. I don’t go around bragging that I gave birth to my son in the safety of a first world hospital. But a hippie mom will make point of mentioning how beautiful her home birth was, as if your hospital birth must have been bereft of love just because you didn’t bleed all over your living room rug. Don’t even mention hospital birth unless you want to hear about the dangers of Pitocin and epidurals and how it makes the baby not love you as much as a baby who was born at home. I mean, what are you supposed to say when a hippie mom basically just told you that your kid doesn’t love you as much as her kid loves her?
Most annoying of all is that I constantly get chided by hippie moms for using germ-killing spray on my son’s hands before he eats a snack. They say a bunch of stuff about how these germ killers are causing allergies and that kids need to eat dirt and get sick in order to build up their immunity. In fact, I used to let my kid eat plenty of dirt… Until he was about one year old and he had his first asthma attack. Now, he gets an asthma attack every time he catches a cold. So, I’m pretty goddamn sure it’s in his best interest (and in mine) that I wipe the germs off so that he doesn’t catch a cold and is up all night sucking on a Nebulizer machine. I have yet to see a hippie mom chowing down on bowlful of dirt, yet they don’t shut up about how important it is to eat it.
The most vitriolic comments on parenting blogs seem to come from hippie moms, too. Which is ironic because it’s so antithetical to the idea of the kind and open-minded hippie. They emphasize love and nurturing for their children, yet they can be so mean to everyone who’s not parenting the same way as them. Hateful comments abound for anyone who dares to blog about giving up on breast feeding or having an epidural. When a friend of mine wrote about sleep training her daughter, one mom called her a “selfish piece of work.” She said it was “sickening that you could do that to your child.” I’m not sure what’s sickening about giving a child the gift of sleeping through the night. But I get why these hippie moms get kind of snippy sometimes. Having a child who’s not sleeping through the night will put anyone on edge.
Despite my annoyance with (and slight fear of) hippie moms, I’m actually down with a lot of hippie practices. I re-use and recycle. I eat some organic foods. I’m into alternative medicine. I did a lot of prenatal yoga. I breast fed. I made my own baby food. I used cloth diapers. I’m just not extreme about these things, nor do I define myself by them. Yes, the hippie moms (and dads) are more into this stuff than I am. They win. I just wish the self-righteous parents who are pushing their set of values on me would keep it to themselves. And the parents who most often do that are the hippie ones.