In the oft-complained about mommy wars, I am Switzerland. I have opinions, but they swing back and forth between crunchy and mainstream, landing somewhere outside of either.
I breastfeed into toddlerhood, cloth diaper when it’s convenient and have twice planned (though never fully executed) an out-of-hospital birth. I also vaccinate on schedule, use disposables at night and work out of the home full time.
I believe strongly in positive discipline, for the love of … please get the hell off of your brother and go to your room! I love the idea of healthy, organic foods, but have a kid who lives on PB&J. I use cloth menstrual pads and then soothe the aches via a bottle of pharmaceuticals. I believe in the magic of coconut oil, vinegar, and breast milk, but have an exterminator on retainer.
There are two opposing forces pulling me in either direction, asking me to choose sides. We are made to feel guilty, no matter our path. If we cared about our kids we would vaccinate, not vaccinate, co-sleep in separate rooms, produce formula from our nipples, and buy nothing but wooden toys that make obnoxious sounds. We should be engaged in our children 24/7 while we bring home the bacon. Nitrate free bacon. There is no winning. So I quit the game.
What if the mommy wars are just a very vocal minority making things difficult for the rest of us? As a good friend says,“fuck mom guilt.” I am a pinball in the middle of a Venn diagram, too busy upcycling diet soda bottles to realize that for all the talk about moms at the extremes, most are standing in the overlap with me.
It’s a war we don’t have to wage. There are no mom unions, no factions requiring compliance. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of who gives a shit. Our babies do not emerge from our vaginas or abdomens carrying a card that directs us to one side or the other. Formula or breast milk? Choose wisely, oh postpartum one, because you will be cemented as either a lemming or a filthy hippie for the rest of your childbearing years.
Or come join me in the crowded middle – we have cookies. Whole grain sprouted flax cookies dipped in genetically modified milk. Here you can drink your placenta and corn syrup smoothie. Bleach the hell out of your tub, use breast milk as a face wash, and eat your kale with a side of ketchup.
Our kids will quote Ina May and Taylor Swift, eat quinoa in the mall on a Saturday night, and meditate before their first keg stand. Corporate jobs will balance hobbies of organic farming and essential oils. They will be well rounded and a little weird, just like their parents. Unique, just like their friends. And if we find we screwed them up from both directions, there’s always therapy.
So three organic cheers to us! May our shampoo be the tears of free-range unicorns and our dish soap smell like an artificial summer breeze.