I've decided that the biggest gift of Baby #2 (and probably 3 and 4 and 10) is that you get to revisit all those “mommy wars” hot button issues with a much different perspective.
As a result of some of that internal reevaluation, I quit my crunchy online mommy group a few weeks ago. They're super nice ladies*, but I suddenly realized I just didn't care about a lot of the topics of discussion as much as I once did.
While it felt good to “unjoin”, it was strange, too. After all, I think people probably assume I am a pretty crunchy mommy. Heck, I've always assumed it myself. Maybe it's the chickens in the backyard, but, in the past, I've always felt like a pretty solid member of Team Crunchy Mommy.
More and more, though, I'm not sure, even just in my own head. How many boxes do I have to be able to check for that title? Do I have enough?
On the one hand, we try to eat unprocessed food and shop locally. We cloth diaper. We recycle and reuse where we can. We don't spank our kids. We limit screen time to weekends and dinners out. We walk a lot.
But, on the other hand....
- I have no aptitude for being a stay-at-home-mom.
- Even though I like to snuggle, I would be a royal beeotch if we co-slept full time.
- I secretly stalk designer purses on ThredUp. I use the heck out of Amazon Prime.
- Sometimes I let the baby cry for three minutes while I pee.
- I'm getting almost militant about a woman's right to bottle-feed without guilt. (But equally so about a woman's right to breastfeed wherever she darn well pleases. Feed your babies. That's all.)
- Ninety-five percent of the time I prefer a stroller to a sling.
- Little Miss wears 'sposies when we're out and about for a long day.
- Yay vaccinations! Please sign my children up for ALL of the shots.
- I cannot manage to organize getting my morning latte into a reusable cup. And one day when Sweet Husband did it for me, I didn't like it.
That's a pretty big list of unorthodoxies, right? Looking at it in black and white, I think I was probably right to turn in my crunchy mom badge.
The mom I was when the Kid was born would have at least been sorry about most of those things, but all I can sum up today is a shrug-y “meh”.
But where do I go now? If I'm not Mama Granola, who am I?
So glad you asked, because I've decided that I'm starting a new team, my own team. Are you ready? It's called “Team Don't Give Your Kids Heroin”.
To join up, you have to answer three simple questions:
Do you love your kids?
Are you trying to do your best for them?
Do you give your kids heroin?
Here's the cheat sheet—the answers to those questions should be yes, yes, and no. If they are, we can be friends. We're on the same team. I'm going to do my darnedest-best to shut-up and have your back. (And actually, even if you answer that last one “yes” we can be friends. We're just going to have to talk long and hard about getting you into some drug treatment.)
It's hard. We all have our issues that we hop onto our judge-y high horses about. But I think sometimes, “I don't want XYZ for my family,” morphs all too easily into “XYZ is evil for everyone at all times,” when, in fact, it's a personal preference, an individual weighing of values.
I do it myself. My ponies are called “Screen Time” and “Junk Food” and, boy-oh-boy, can I get self-righteous when I'm galloping them into town.
But why are those the only things that get to matter? We're great about turning off the TV, but we rarely do art or other creative play. We're awesome about cooking dinner, but not great about getting outside everyday. We have our priorities, you have yours, but that doesn't mean either of us love our kids less.
It's a work in progress for me, keeping those horses in their stable (too far with the horse metaphor?), but I'm trying these days. I'm really, really trying.
Help me out. Help each other out.
The name, I admit, needs work (Team DGYKH? Perhaps just a syringe and a child with a big “no” sign over them?), but the idea is this: Do the best you can, love your kids to bits, and let everyone else do the same sans judge-y looks.
Heroin? Bad. Handing your child a cell phone so that you and your spouse can have a grown-up conversation over an adult beverage? Way to go! Heroin? Bad. A candy bar bribe to get through the grocery store in one piece? Carry on, soldier.
And welcome to the team.
(*Because sincerity can easily be mistaken for snark on the internets, I want to be uber clear—they are all freaking awesome ladies and mamas. Again, just different priorities.)