I’m into health and natural alternatives as much as (probably more) than the average American mommy. I exercise daily. I try to eat relatively healthy. I home school. I nursed. I opt for a homeopath, supplements, and essential oils before a traditional doctor and pharmaceutical drugs whenever possible. I even used cloth diapers for three whole months with my first baby.
But…yes, my kids and I still eat fast food on occasion. Even though I think midwives are neat, I gave birth in the hospital. I eat already baked and sliced bread. All of my children were vaccinated. My kids eat candy. (Isn’t that what candy is for?!) I don’t usually buy organic. My babies only slept in my room until they started eating solid foods – about four months old.
So what? Why am I telling you all this? Well, it seems that there is an ever growing culture of holistic women who will read this and balk. If they know me, they will begin devising a plan on how best to show me my sins. Call it part of the mommy wars or just plain arrogance, but either way I feel like someone needs to blow the whistle.
Before I get my foot stuck too far into my mouth, I must say that I do realize that some crunchy moms mean very well. I understand that when we find good things that work well for our families, we often want to share them. We want others to be helped as much as we are. We want them to feel as good as we do about our lifestyle decisions. I think that’s great, noble even. It is good to share ideas and help one another become better…however…
I do have one question gnawing in my mind for these gatekeepers of world wellness. Like I said, I’m into health and natural alternatives as much as the average American mommy. But my question and biggest concern for this group is, “Is it ok if I am not?” Because it often feels like these women’s eyes bulge when I see them in the grocery store and I have Fruity Pebbles, pre-sliced white Wonder bread, and disposable diapers in my buggy. Since when did making ultra natural decisions for our own families become a woman’s pass to be a power hungry police lady of all the rest of us – complete with guilt trip lectures and constant hinting reminders that we aren’t doing things as right as they? I don’t know.
I believe it is good to encourage wellness, whatever that looks like and is working for your family. But I also believe that there is an extreme over proselytization going on from the holistic community these days. It reminds me of Christians who point disgusted, condescending fingers at unbelievers every chance they get and then expect converts. I don’t know. I just think conversion – in both wellness and Christianity – is much more natural – dare I say “organic” than that.
Here’s my advice for those who most like to share advice with the rest of we defiled citizens. Ask yourself whether you really care about me and my family. Find out why my health matters to you. Does it? Or could it be that pointing at me makes you feel proud and superior? If you come to the conclusion that you genuinely love me, great. Stop preaching at me. Instead, hang out with us. Bring your kids over to play with mine. Show me how you do things by your example and let me determine for myself whether it is better. I will ask you questions because you are different. I will notice if you are healthy and your family is thriving and mine is not. Give me some dignity and I will listen to you. Otherwise, I just feel like you think I’m a jerk and a failure. Maybe you do and maybe I am, but love does not approach that way does it?
Wait, would you hang out with me? If you did, would I be a project or a person? Ask yourself how you came to the conclusions you did. Was it by force, shaming, and nagging? Or was it something else that changed you?
Lastly, accept that people make different decisions for their family and stop looking down your nose at them for it. Love them anyway and celebrate your differences. A world where everyone is the same would be terribly boring, wouldn’t it?