Earth Mama… it doesn’t sound particularly derogatory, does it? In fact, if someone was to label me as Earth Mama, I may even take it as a compliment. After all, the term itself denotes a mother raising her family in as natural a way as possible, which is exactly what I am trying to do, so why would I get offended?
The reason is because, after a while of having this—and other terms—used to label me, I’m beginning to realise that people are rarely actually trying to compliment me; the titles do in fact seem to be loaded with mockery and, it upsets me to say, sometimes even ridicule.
Having other mums’ disdainful responses towards my lifestyle got me wondering: Why?
Let’s start with the terms that are used: Earth Mama, Hippie and, the newest addition to the English language of social media, Crunchy. I only came across this last one recently, and, wondering what exactly its intended use was, I looked it up on Urban Dictionary:
Crunchy: Adjective. Used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.
I read this paragraph over and over again, trying to understand what part of it would make people who don’t do these things annoyed at the people who do. When I read it, all I see is a way to improve our lives, the lives of others, and the wellbeing and longevity of our planet. Why do people who live like this make those who don’t, feel uncomfortable?
One ‘follower’ actually went so far as to call me ‘sancti-mummy’, as if by sharing my healthy living tips on my blog (which is its intended purpose), it makes me sanctimonious. The comment itself of course riled me a little, but what really got me was that a few weeks later, this same woman made a very proud post about how her daughter was the only child in her class who was not allowed to use an iPad because she believes it won’t do children any good.
Hey, I agree with her! But what makes my views any more sanctimonious than hers? Why does what I do make her uncomfortable when she was comfortable enough to publicly share her views about children being overexposed to technology?
I can only imagine that she shared this view publicly because she genuinely believes that an over-exposure to technology at such a young age will be detrimental.
In the same way, I do the things I do for no reason other than they feel like the healthiest and most natural of choices, that will benefit my family in the long-run, and perhaps, if we’re lucky, help some other people along the way.
Some lifestyle choices that have garnered negative comments, and my reasons for doing them:
- I hypno-birthed in the water. Not so I could gloat about it, but because I believe that bringing a baby into this crazy world is scary enough. If we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to calm that s**t down a bit, we are surely only benefitting ourselves and our babies.
- I breastfeed. Not so I can whack my knockers out in public and show everyone how easy and wonderful it is to be an Earth Mama, but because my body made a baby and with it, the means to feed that baby. Why wouldn’t I utilise that? Why would I pay money to use the milk of another species when I have perfectly suitable milk of my own (that is free!) for my own infant? Science has shown that mother’s milk is healthier for human babies than the milk of other species. It makes sense, that’s all.
- I cook. Not so I can showcase my creations on Instagram (which yes, admittedly I do), but because real food made with real ingredients instead of artificial, processed, man-made, non-foods will keep us healthier for longer. What’s wrong with wanting that?
- We don’t do ‘cry it out’. Not because it’s ‘all the rage’, because as we know babies who do cry it out usually end up better sleepers – which is something I REALLY do want – but because I am not willing to let my baby cry it out. So shoot me.
I suppose what I’m trying to understand is why it has become so socially acceptable, in this age of convenience, to mock people who are simply trying to carve out a healthier life for themselves.
I am far from perfect. When I see mums on Instagram home-schooling or doing other things I don’t do, I get slightly envious that I don’t feel I can do as much. But I certainly don’t get offended or uncomfortable by their choices, I just hope that their healthy life choices can make a positive impact on my own life and inspire me to continue improving.
For the mums who are offended or discomfited by mums opting for holistic lifestyles, we’re all trying to do our best. How about we allow people room to live their own lives without using terms weighed down by contempt.
I was led to living a more holistic lifestyle after being wheelchair-bound by arthritis and finding that the healthier and more natural my lifestyle, the better I got.
If we don’t understand people’s reasons, let’s just ask. Sometimes, the simple act of understanding someone better could change our entire view of that person.
Her autobiography, ‘My Enemy, My Friend’, can be found here