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Me, a dirty hippie mum?? -A note on good-enough mothering

Look, she has toys! Plastic ones.  So I’m not totally nuts.

I was never a dirty hippie.  Even when I was in high school, and my friends wore Yasser Arafat scarves and second-hand clothing, I liked secretary outfits and expensive wool flannel dressy trousers.

OK, so I’ve voted for the commies in almost every local election, but that does not mean I’m a dirty hippie.  Right..?

Although now I find that I carry the baby, feed her non-mashed food by the principles of baby-led weaning, agonise that I can’t be bothered to use cloth diapers and preach to everyone I know about how much I enjoy having the baby in bed with me instead of in her own cot, or *EVIL* in her own room.

Bolle spends most days barefoot because shoes are the devil.  I give unsolicited advice about carrying equipment.

I breast feed on demand, hand express and she has never tasted the poison of replacement milk.  I borrowed most of the clothes she needed for her first 6 months of life, although I’ve recently had to buy some as she’s outgrowing all that stuff.  Of course it’s all natural fibres and where avoidable, not pink.

Oh, and add in that I don’t wear makeup and eat millet porridge for breakfast, cooked with soy milk.

Seriously, where does this come from?!  I bred Bolle with someone whom, although he has not said so explicitly, I suspect harbours conservative values politically speaking, so clearly it’s not some kind of environmental influence by osmosis.

Is it too many years of reading the Guardian and forming some sort of unconscious image of the mother I would one day become?

Is it voting for the commies?

Is it a backlash against the days when I would receive regular upgrades on flights due to my businesswoman-like outfits?

Worst of all, I don’t think I do all these things out of repressed guilt or anything like that.  I enjoy it.

I enjoy feeding Bolle potato dumplings and waffles and roast lamb, because I enjoy eating them myself.

I enjoy sharing a bed with her because I prefer sharing a bed with someone if I wake up in the middle of the night feeling uncomfortable.

I enjoy carrying her around because I like cuddles, and I can tell she is a lot calmer when she is carried.  She will put up with long shopping trips (I’m not totally nuts eco) and also falls asleep faster in the evening if she is carried for the hour prior to being given her evening boob.

It just feels.. that dreaded word.. natural.  Maximum cuddles, minimum faff and equipment. Maybe I’m just a bit lazy, even with my beloved Bolle.

Still, I have a deep-seated fear of becoming one of these faddy parents who spend tonnes of energy and money trying to do everything the perfect way.

I am, and have always been, a firm believer in good-enough mothering.  Babies don’t need fancy bouncy chairs, expensive pushchairs and elaborate outfits.  They need to have their needs met, and their needs are pretty simple:  Food, washing, cuddles and the opportunity to develop socially and physically.

I’m surprised when I see, like I did earlier today, parents managing to fill the whole trunk of an estate car with equipment for one single newborn baby.  I mean seriously!  They don’t even need extra food!  Their diapers are tiny! What’s in there?!

I’ve not yet pinned down why this sight makes me feel an uncomfortable mixture of snobby contempt and pity, but I guess I get the impression that people attempt to buy and equip their way out of an insecurity which would better be addressed by realising that you’ll never be a perfect parent, but you’ll more than likely be just about good enough.

Oh, and I use a dummy.  So really, I’m not a true dirty hippie.