Ok, I feel kind of bad writing this, but I have a few concerns. Let me preface by saying I don't think "mainstream" parenting is terrible or that we are somehow better than other people.
I want to make some friends with some other SAHM's in our neighborhood so DD and I both have friends we can go spend time with. We live in a very "mainstream" area. Meaning - Lots of plastic toys, processed food, TV, no eco-friendly anything, Plus-- formula, CIO, and cribs. I'm sure not every family has all of these things, but that is just the way it is in our area. A while back I witnessed a teenage boy dumping oil or paint thinner directly into the ground in front of an electrical box in front of his house. I was kind of shocked, honestly. People also burn things they shouldn't burn around here (not in my neighborhood, but near here.)
So, basically, eco-friendly living isn't on the radar yet.
Anyway, I am worried that my DD will feel deprived or beg for the things her neighborhood friends have. I don't want her to feel bad or feel deprived if I say no to kraft mac n cheese, or fisher price stuff. That is the first thing.
The second thing is I don't want her to pick up on any weird reactions people might have. I have a best friend who lives in a different state. She is very into the mainstream stuff and spent some time defending my "crazy" parenting style to some friends of hers. All because of opinions they made based on my Facebook updates and pictures!
When I choose to not give my kid stuff other people give their kids, I get a few reactions. One is that other parents don't care and are really live and let live about it. That is awesome. But I don't feel like it fits a lot of people, and it definitely doesn't describe my own family.
Two, people feel like you are basically saying the way they do things is wrong or bad. This is somewhat accurate, since if I thought certain things were good for my child, I'd let her have them. This makes them feel defensive. Then, they either put you down for being a "crazy" mother or for "depriving" your kid or "taking all the fun out of things" (all said to me by my own family), or they just decide you are stuck up and think you are better than they are (also said about me).
The other thing I've dealt with is being "Called out" if I stray from my ideals (by family). If I allow a plastic toy in the house or I order pizza instead of eating an organic salad for dinner, I get called out for being a hypocrite by the same people who criticize my choices. It is really obnoxious. I'm not militant about my beliefs and I'm not telling everyone they have to do what I do. All I do is insist that this is how we do things so to please stop trying to make it otherwise.
I don't want DD to pick up on any of these reactions, and I most certainly don't want other parents giving her the idea that she is being deprived by saying things in front of her.
We have a great natural parenting group, but all the meetings are 30-40 minutes away. I feel like DD would be too isolated if all her friends live so far away. We might be able to find some 15-20 minutes away, but I think it is important to have neighborhood playmates that you can just play with on a whim.
How do you all handle this?
PS. I realize I might get some flack for this. I got flack for my post about feeling conspicuous before. Please understand that I am not trying to create some imaginary problem or something. I've lived in a lot of places. The Pacific NW, for instance, is A LOT different from where we live now. I wouldn't even have to worry about this if we lived there. I'd have a bunch of mommy friends to choose from who understood why I buy wooden toys. But I don't live there.
Edited by Calliope84 - 9/10/11 at 1:02pm