Monday, September 17, 2007

Hippie Mommies

I remember when I was about 14 and wanted to be a hippie. It was just a cool thing to be - you know, the in thing. I got over that, and maybe even ended being a little preppy considering what I aspired to be in 1994. Now I have 3 kids, and I find myself in competition with other moms to see who can be the most hippie-ish. If that's even a real word.

So, it turns out I'm considered a partial follower of "natural parenting," and I didn't even know it. Some of the characteristics of "natural" parents include breastfeeding, babywearing, med-free births, etc. My philosophy has always been "if it sounds right for your family and it's pretty easy to try, then why not?" Of course, I'm very adamant about breastfeeding and natural childbirth, but still, do what's best for your family and your situation.

Now, if I happen to mention these things I do to other parents, or they see me do them, it seems like some moms are compelled to tell me about their own breastfeeding antics, or teaching their baby to sign, or making their own baby food... etc. Don't get me wrong, I love hearing these stories - but why are we (mothers) so competitive? It's as if we're trying to prove that we're better parents than anyone else, simply because we've tried different things.

I find myself guilty of this all the time. I'll judge another mother if I see her making formula for her baby in public. I'll shake my head if I see a mom give her 6-month old French fries and Coke (that's Coke-A-Cola, not the other coke). And if you're so inclined as to smoke with your kids in the car, you'll definitely see me give you a "what the heck?!" kind of look. Yup, I know all us moms think we're the best. Maybe we are, but should we maybe just lay off the other moms for a while?

Maybe instead of paying so much attention to other families, we should try something along the lines of "Zen parenting" - being in the moment, every moment, and enjoying your kids just as they are. As a Christian mom, I don't think I can call myself a "Zen parent," but what could be more in line with God's gift of parenting children? Wouldn't you think He wants us to just enjoy them, teach them to love Him, and enjoy them some more?


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