or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Starting to feel conspicuous / strange
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Starting to feel conspicuous / strange

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

So... DD is 6 months old now and I am starting to feel conspicuous / strange / extreme when I look at what I look like compared to just about everyone else around here. I am pretty sure that I am just flattering myself and no one really cares at all about what I am doing, but *I* am noticing some differences between how I act / what I do and how all the other young mothers I know act. It is making me doubt some things and making me feel like I am taking things to an extreme.

 

For instance... here in Florida I have never seen anyone breastfeeding in public that wasn't specifically at a natural parenting type event. Now that Avalon is a lot bigger and can sit / crawl, I am starting to feel like it is more noticeable when I feed her. I still wear her out a lot and almost never see anyone wearing a baby and she is getting bigger now. I feel like there is a shift in perception at some point when wearing and breastfeeding newborns becomes not really OK when they start looking more like toddlers.

 

I was really dedicated to the idea of cloth diapers and wooden toys and I mostly still am. We have the odd plastic toy in our home, but I've stayed true to it so far and have stuck with the diapers through many a skunky diaper though no one thought I'd want to stay with them. I've totally stayed away from anything that has characters on it, because I read all these books that talked about marketing to children and the research they've done on it and lots of people think I'm a spoilsport because I don't feel like purposely buying my kid a bunch of disney princess stuff (yes, even now... like my mom is buying clothes for 2t, etc.)

 

We have been buying our meat from a local farm and have a guy delivering organic fruits and veggies every other week. We have an organic garden and refuse to use pesticides or herbicides on our lawn. I want to feed my kid whole foods instead of cheerios and that earns me some looks askance. I am really getting interested in Montessori style homeschooling and set up a play room Montessori style and started buying some child-size tools when I see them for low prices. I got excited and posted some pictures on my facebook and then realized how odd I am starting to look.

 

I feel like we are either taking things too far or... that maybe we'd feel perfectly at home if we lived in Seattle or Boulder or somewhere. 

 

There are small groups around here where everyone is interested in natural and attachment parenting, so maybe I just need to purposely hang out with them more.

 

Anyone else ever feel out of place or doubt themselves about their parenting / family choices? I don't want to make my kids feel like they don't fit in anywhere. 

post #2 of 28

You'd fit right in here!  smile.gif

 

I don't have any suggestions since I live somewhere where there are enough natural/conscious parents that it's not a big deal, but I do think finding a community that shares your values is important.  Hope some others who share these issues a bit more will chime in too!

post #3 of 28
I'm a new mom (DS is 7 weeks), but I'm already experiencing this. now, I have always been a little "different" so I think most people I know expect that my parenting choices will be different. however, I'm already getting comments about breastfeeding... he's still an infant! what do you mean," I'm feeding him too often"?! I can't even start to imagine what it'll be like in a years time! i've been looking for a parenting group lately and there isn't ONE that we'd fit in with! DP says suck it up and go anyway, but what happens when they don't agree with the way I parent? I'll have to listen to their stupid advice that I want nothing to do with... no thank you. I'd love to sell our home and move somewhere more progressive but we are going to have to wait on that. until then, MDC is my salvation!

good luck! smile.gif
post #4 of 28

I hear this a lot on MDC and to be honest, I don't really get it.  I do some of the things you mentioned and I don't do others, as do a lot of people I know and in general, I don't think that anyone cares what you do.  I mean, feed or kid organic, or don't. Cloth diaper, or don't.  I don't think that people care.  I think that if you focus on what makes you different than other parents, that is all you will see.

 

Do your own thing because most of the time, no one is paying attention to what you are doing. That is something my grandma taught me when I was in Jr. high and was always so worried about what other people thought of me. 

post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by poorlittlefish View Post

Do your own thing because most of the time, no one is paying attention to what you are doing. That is something my grandma taught me when I was in Jr. high and was always so worried about what other people thought of me. 


This is a really good point. I doubt anyone notices or cares if your kid is eating organic apples or conventional ones. I don't think most people even KNOW I cloth diaper, it's not really obvious, since he's always wearing clothes in public & I change his diaper in the restroom. Once someone thought he was just wearing a cute diaper cover (to cover a disposable, I guess?) Whatever. It doesn't really matter. No one in the general public knows what kinds of toys you have at home, what school you plan to send your kiddo to, etc. and these are also things you usually can't tell about strangers on the street! Believe it or not, I've had many people come right up to me WHILE I WAS NURSING DS and not even realize he was BF'ing.

I don't mean to minimize your frustrations or anything, and I know some choices are more obvious and make you feel different. I think having an AP/natural moms group has been wonderful for me, not just because I have that sense of sort of 'fitting in' somewhere, but also because we learn so much from each other. So yes, I would spend more time getting to know the others in those small groups & see if you click with them, because if you do it will be great to be a part of a group like that!! And it's just nice to have friends who share some things in common with you.

But out in the world... who cares what anyone thinks. I know some people think I'm weird, and they don't even know that half of it. I'm vegan but living in a very non-veg area, I don't vax, I am nursing a 2yo and almost never even see newborns NIP, I cosleep and cloth diaper and babywear. We don't do commercial/plastic toys, I'm clueless about most of the latest trends, and I might as well be in a vacuum when it comes to pop culture. We make almost all our purchases second-hand, I make our own toothpaste & laundry detergent. I use family cloth & cloth menstrual pads... um yeah, that's not something anyone else really needs to know, so it's not something I generally share... and really, except for NIP & babywearing, and perhaps being vegan, none of those choices are things someone would know about me unless they are really close to me. It's easy to see all the things that make us 'different' but if you focus too much on them, you can't see all the ways we are the same.
post #6 of 28

I think the pressure is greater for some people than others. I live in a non-crunchy working class town but nobody here cares what you do, even if it's crunchy. That's just the nature of the area I live in. I've been to Plano, Texas, and it struck me as a place where everybody cares what you do, you have to look perfect and your lawn has to be perfect, your church attendance has to be flawless and so on. (No offense to anyone living in Plano, it's just a difference I felt in the culture). I've heard SoCal is similar (minus the church part, of course), and there seems to be places in Florida like that too.

 

And in such places where your every move is scrutinized, I'm sure it can be very uncomfortable to NIP and get grassfed meat and so on. I've found in such places, they grill you about stuff. Why do you eat that? What's wrong with the food at Publix? How old is your baby? Isn't it time to be on the bottle? Are you enrolled in Super Exclusive Preschool yet? They talk about you behind your back.

 

So I really can't compare my experience in a place where mowing your lawn is fairly optional and new WalMart clothes is haute couture, and basically nobody cares about anything you do (unless, I guess, you drive a Mercedes - there are NO Mercedes in this town, and you'd definitely stick out like a sore thumb) to a place like Plano where they grill you about all your parenting choices, and feel they have the right to do that and that it's more rude for you to make different choices than for them to grill you about them.

post #7 of 28

is there a La leche League near you? or one that you can get to?

 

i think that's a good place to meet kinda like minded people. that's where i found my core group.

 

however i will also say i have been weird all my life. and i have always had to stand up for what i believe. 

 

so i never felt wierd about what i was having to do. 

 

in fact i still get friendly weird comments from my friends even now 'meemee only your 7 year old would ask for pistachio icecream'

 

i stand for what i believe in and so i have never been ambivalent about NIP in public till dd was 3. and after that we stopped not because i didnt want to - but coz dd changed her nursing times. 

post #8 of 28

If you lived here you'd feel right at home!  I live in Montreal which is a major urban, chic kind of place (not especially "hippy" or anything).  Babywearing is the norm here (!), over half the parents I know used cloth dipes, most everyone I know breastfed/breastfeeds (most of my friends have breastfed till their babes were 2.5 years old or older), there is a sign that businesses (mostly restaurants and cafes) put on their front window to let nursing mamas know that they are free to stop in to nurse their babe *without having to purchase anything*, etc, etc. 

 

I'm sorry that you are feeling like your parenting choices make you an outsider where you live.  I'm pretty sure that the pps are right, that a large part (most?) of it is in your head.  Most people truly don't notice too much of what other people do - esp when it comes to "minor" things like cloth diapering, yk?  Most people (I'm thinking parents of small babies) are busy and sleep-deprived enough that they're just trying to get through the day-to-day.  They don't really care if your baby is sucking on a wooden teether vs. a plastic one.

 

Besides that, you'll also find that as your kiddo grows older so many of these "issues" will become moot.  When your dd is at school you'll find that you will find friends in the parents of her friends, even if they were far from "crunchy" parents when their kids were babes.  I know it is tough right now, and I hope you find peace within yourself to not let the opinions (real or perceived) of others get to you.  But know that it really won't be long before a lot of these issues become non-issues (cloth dipes no longer needed once dd potty learns, NIP likely tapering off as she gets older, walking todder refusing to be worn (lol), young child choosing the toys that *she* wants, etc).

 

(And if you want a break you can always come visit Montreal! winky.gif  )

post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

I think the pressure is greater for some people than others. I live in a non-crunchy working class town but nobody here cares what you do, even if it's crunchy. That's just the nature of the area I live in. I've been to Plano, Texas, and it struck me as a place where everybody cares what you do, you have to look perfect and your lawn has to be perfect, your church attendance has to be flawless and so on. (No offense to anyone living in Plano, it's just a difference I felt in the culture). I've heard SoCal is similar (minus the church part, of course), and there seems to be places in Florida like that too.

 

And in such places where your every move is scrutinized, I'm sure it can be very uncomfortable to NIP and get grassfed meat and so on. I've found in such places, they grill you about stuff. Why do you eat that? What's wrong with the food at Publix? How old is your baby? Isn't it time to be on the bottle? Are you enrolled in Super Exclusive Preschool yet? They talk about you behind your back.

 

So I really can't compare my experience in a place where mowing your lawn is fairly optional and new WalMart clothes is haute couture, and basically nobody cares about anything you do (unless, I guess, you drive a Mercedes - there are NO Mercedes in this town, and you'd definitely stick out like a sore thumb) to a place like Plano where they grill you about all your parenting choices, and feel they have the right to do that and that it's more rude for you to make different choices than for them to grill you about them.


it's definitely more like that here, people want to know "why (fill in the blank)"? and they seem to take personal offense that we do it differently than them. now this doesnt apply to the general public because it isn't that often that we have true interactions with them but, in general, any parent that we interact with out in the world inevitably asks something that brings AP to the conversation. that's when the judgement ensues. I don't generally care what ppl think but when it comes to finding like-minded ppl to socialize with, it's discouraging! I empathize, OP!
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

 

And in such places where your every move is scrutinized, I'm sure it can be very uncomfortable to NIP and get grassfed meat and so on. I've found in such places, they grill you about stuff. Why do you eat that? What's wrong with the food at Publix? How old is your baby? Isn't it time to be on the bottle? Are you enrolled in Super Exclusive Preschool yet? They talk about you behind your back.


Yeah, I get that. I do a lot of tongue-biting... especially in 'mixed company'...
post #11 of 28

I lived in Miami for the first 10 months of DS' life and I parent a lot like you, so you're definitely not alone, you just need to find a group of like-minded and supportive people. I would occasionally NIP in Miami and I don't remember ever seeing anyone else NIP, so I understand how you feel. I liked shopping at Whole Foods b/c that was about the only time I would see other parents babywearing. I ended up moving to a crunchier area (Seattle), but AP parenting is still not that common. I found an AP group here and I wish I had done the same while I was in Florida b/c it really helps to talk to moms who understand your parenting choices. Even within the group, people make different parenting choices (not everyone eats organic, not everyone uses cloth diapers, etc.), but it's great to find people who respect your right to make whatever parenting choices you feel are best for your kid. 

post #12 of 28

I did all that living in florida!   Then I found a "natural moms" group and fit right in because we all do it.   Maybe find a group that fits more with your parenting style?  

post #13 of 28

As others have said, most people probably really don't notice. But some well, and more in some locations than others. I think it would really help if you found some like minded people. I live in a liberal area and lots of people do AP type stuff with babies but still, I find there is a lot of pressure to do other things. i.e. people say they bf but nightwean at 6m (makes me want to cry)

post #14 of 28

That is not exactly odd honestly.

 

post #15 of 28

eyesroll.gif

post #16 of 28

If you sound as smug in real life as you do here I'd think you are strange too.

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

I think the pressure is greater for some people than others. I live in a non-crunchy working class town but nobody here cares what you do, even if it's crunchy. That's just the nature of the area I live in. I've been to Plano, Texas, and it struck me as a place where everybody cares what you do, you have to look perfect and your lawn has to be perfect, your church attendance has to be flawless and so on. (No offense to anyone living in Plano, it's just a difference I felt in the culture). I've heard SoCal is similar (minus the church part, of course), and there seems to be places in Florida like that too.

 


My area is like yours.  That makes a lot of sense.

post #18 of 28
First of all, dont be bothered by a troll calling you smug.


I feel ya on the feeling out of place, Calliope (AH! it feels so awesome to type that now that Im pregnant again. Its our top girl pick for a name). I live in a place where EVERYTHING I do is out of place to the people around me. Thankfully, I have an awesome community of friends that understand my choices and its not out of ordinary.

In my world, I get crap from people all the time about not vaxing, and I dont even tell people that I dont vax. People will come right out and ask, "Oh, has she had her shots yet?" or "Oh, I heard they have this awesome new Chicken Pox vaccine. You'll be lucky to never have to have your kids have it."

We get comments about her cloth diapers all the time because she is so tiny. People are always commenting on her "ghetto booty" or how "I cant believe she can walk with that huge diaper on." I actually had a lady say to me the other day "Ma'am, dont you think you ought to change that baby's diaper? She has peed in it so much that its swollen to twice the normal size." eyesroll.gif

People are always offering DD meat. All the time. Also, they will say, "Oh, you've got teeth now. Its time to get you some fried chicken."

I get comments all the time where people are basically asking me how much longer Im going to nurse, if I dont let my kid sleep in her own bed she'll be sleeping with us until we she is 18, ect.

So, I totally feel you. Have you looked in Finding my tribe to see if there are any other AP/ or similar mamas near you? Where in FL do you live? I know Pensacola and Gainesville are pretty liberal when it comes to parenting styles.
post #19 of 28

I find myself feeling more confident in my choices as a parent as my older kids grow into the self-assured, free thinking, wise choice-making young men they are becoming. It cant be all wrong if the outcome is good, right? I can relate to not having a group IRL that you can go to for advice. I live in a small town where in the last 6 years I have only seen three women nursing in public and things like co-sleeping or not vaccinating are unheard of. It gets pretty lonely.Thank God for MDC! 

post #20 of 28
I agree with the others that you just need to get involved more in a like-minded community. What you're talking about doesn't sound extreme at all, just like you're putting thought into your parenting and lifestyle. In my area (West Coast) it would be considered pretty normal--just as normal as "mainstream" parenting. I read on MDC about moms in other areas where no one NIP or CDs or babywears, etc, and it's hard to imagine because here no one really bats an eye at that. I can mention to acquaintances that I'm nursing my 2yos and no one reacts, even if they bottle feed. I'll be at the park and see a kid's pants falling down and recognize a cloth diaper cover sticking out of the back. Or I'll sit down to nurse somewhere and another mom with a toddler will strike up a conversation about how her toddler hasn't been nursing as much lately. Moms I know--even acquaintances, will check with me about my DD's birthday gifts ahead of time, to make sure I'm ok with the doll they're buying for her (knowing I'm not into characters). When we go to birthday parties, the hosts will provide some gluten-free cupcakes or not frost some (for parents who want to limit sugar) and there is always a vegetarian option for meals. Etc etc.

All that is to say--yes this stuff is totally regional! You wouldn't be considered extreme if you lived somewhere else. Try not to feel bad about what you're doing or your choices, instead get to know other moms who share your values. You will feel less alone, more validated, stronger, and that will help you deal with any negative comments or judgement from others.

Don't waste energy worrying about what others think, focus on yourself and surrounding yourself with supportive people, whether they make the same parenting choices or not. I have great friends who formula fed, used disposable diapers, and don't use gentle discipline, but the important thing is that we support each other in doing the best we can for our own families.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Starting to feel conspicuous / strange