Thursday, August 6, 2009

What sets you apart from the crowd?

Really.. how are you different from other people?

There are several ways in which I differ from most of the moms I know. I would like to create a separate blog for some of those issues, and I wanted to introduce a little bit more about myself here.

I am one of "those" mothers.

* I do not vaccinate my children.
(disclaimer, since my blog tends to focus on my daughter with Aspergers. The decision was not based on fear concerning MMR and autism)
* I breastfeed my children until they choose to wean.
* I believe the best and safest place for my baby to sleep is next to me in my bed.
* I believe the best and safest place for me to give birth is at home.
* I did not and would not circumcise my son(s).
* I believe the best place to educate my children is at home.
(another disclaimer: Ella is in public school. I do not think it is the best place to educate her, but it works for us right now)

I used to be a Mary Kay lady. I drive a minivan with cute little stick people stickers on the back. You will mostly find me dressed in flats, capri pants, dressy t-shirts from Target, wearing jewelry and makeup.

But you'd never know looking at me that I was a hippiechick on the inside. I blend in well. I don't seek to blend in, it has just happened that way.

I socialize in person primarily with parents in the mainstream. I've never been on the receiving end of any spoken judgment about my choices, and I've not verbally dished out any judgment onto mothers who parent differently than I do. It may be that I just live in a very tolerant pocket of the universe, but I am "free to be me" and do not have to fear the moms at the park or at church making comments about how weird I am for nursing until past age 2, or having homebirths, or homeschooling my children. I have sought to make friends with other local moms who share my parenting ideals, but have very often found that they have a much more "us vs. them" idea about things, and do not have any friends who parent differently than they do. I was never very adept at making my own style, so I never have dressed the part of the hippy. I don't know how. So I definitely appear to be a mainstream suburban mom in that aspect.

In the next several posts, I will take each of those starred statements and blog about them and why I came to those decisions.

They are, of course, my opinion, and my decision, and do not really affect other people. So while you are welcome to comment about how you believe differently, I can assure you that I have been reading and researching about these topics for the last 10 years and have come to my own educated decision about them. Like I said, I am free to be me.

Other people are other people. Also a great topic to expound upon.


LadySusan said...

Okay, so I thought this post was about me! (LOL) I, also, breastfed my children beyond infancy and allowed them to self-wean; I co-sleep with my children;I mindfully choose not to vaccinate before the autism dx was even an issue; I had a hospital birth and a home birth (now, I would recommend home for all low-risk deliveries); I am grateful I had girls so I didn't have to face the circumcision decision (although I am sure I would have left my son complete); and I think home is were education begins (but right now public is were my girls need to be, although, that too may change).
Many of my friends and most of my family make it known that they do not support my decisions, but that is okay because in my heart I know I made mindful educated decisions for the health, maturation and well-being of my girls... I don't judge others and only wish they would give me the same respect.
I am grateful we connected and look forward to sharing and supporting each other on our mothering journeys.

Melissa said...

I so relate! I think a lot of people are really surprised by my parenting choices once they get to know me.

Some of the things you do I do, some I don't, but I, like you, try my very best to respect other parents choices and rights to those choices. When I first became a mom I had this idea in my head of the "type" of mom I wanted to be and tried to seek out others who fit that same mold. I found it to be 1. difficult (because I'm very much a hippy in prissy clothes and hippys in any kind of clothes are not all that common in this part of TX) and 2. boring.

Variety is the spice of life, right? I enjoy my relationships with parents who choose differently than I do because the one thing we have in common is mutual respect for each other. There's always something to learn from each other.

Jill from

Anonymous said...

Wow all of this is so awesome. I breastfed my 1st daughter until 3 months before her 3rd birthday. My second daughter I weaned at 18 months (it was a bit of a selfish choice, I was tired and she was becoming a bit anti-social...spending more time with my boobs than interacting with others). I tandem nursed them both for 9 months.

AmyK said...

How refreshing this post is to me!
I just love that you asked "What sets you apart from the crowd?" I can relate to being one person (or many) on the inside and looking "mainstream" on the outside. I often feel as if I am a "contradiction" of sorts because I have so many different interests and am a very tolerant or accepting person, I could easily be perceived as switching "sides" now and then. Odd as it may be, twitter has helped me with that. I face decisions constantly about what to "retweet" and have wondered if certain groups would be offended, if others would think I'm a traitor, but then I realized, "So what if they do!" Certainly not the first time I have had to tell myself that, and won't be the last ...
My point being, I love learning to be me, this is a recent thing, too, by the way. Having spent so many, many years always worried about what others are thinking, quite irrationally really. So now I am learning to be me, enjoying my own likes and dislikes, interests and non-interests...AND I am embracing others as they are. I believe it is always courageous to stand up for your beliefs as long as you treat others with kindness and respect. Looks like that is what you are doing. Well done!

Real Life Sarah said...

I just LOVE how open you are to others, even when they don't do things the same way! I am way more "mainstream" in my parenting, but I respect you so much (and other friends of mine) for your principles!

I would say your non-judgement is what makes you stand out!

kristen said...

It's good to be yourself, and confident in your choices. :)

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