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The Granola Extreme

post #1 of 327
Thread Starter 
An interesting discussion was started elsewhere about AP/Natural family living and its compatability/incompatability with feminism. I thought it would be good to have a place to continue the discussion.

Some people may remember an extremely mediocre miniseries on TV a while back called "The Sixties." It did have one moment that rang true to me: the daughter runs away from her traditional, cookie-baking SAHM family. She ends up at a commune, where her first job is to bake muffins (without refined sugar, of course). She discovers her scope at the commune is just as restricted as it was at home.

Sometimes AP/NFL does, to me, reek of: difficulty for the difficulty's sake, self-sacrifice by moms (regardless of the relative value of the sacrifice to the gain) = nobility, the more obscure, the more "cool", the more challenging, the more "cool". I have seen it drive my DH's ex literally to her wits' end. With her next pregnancy I expect to run across her lying under some bushes in the park, in midwinter, holding a stick between her teeth and giving birth alone. Because a homebirth isn't enough, an unattended birth isn't enough, it's gotta be something even *more* natural. Rather than keeping up with the Jones, she's keeping up with the Raynbow Arwen Starrs.
post #2 of 327
I don't get it.
post #3 of 327
Of course. Because sexism and the patriarchal structures that uphold it is the water we swim in. We may congregate into different schools, but the water stays the same.

I agree with what you said, especially "difficulty for difficulty's sake." There's this female version of macho, too, whose birth was more unattended, who is more willing to be vicious to formula feeders, who is willing to psychically bleed to death for the sake of "constant contact," etc. I make an effort to reject it. Sometimes that puts me in the "bad" column for AP, sometimes not. I'm trying not to care.
post #4 of 327
aside from that, i agree with you to a degree. but i also, to use a cliche, dont think we should throw out the baby with the bathwater. deciding that the ap/NFL lifestlye is altogether not feminist is incredibly generalizing. there are plenty of women that choose healthy lifestyles for themselves and their children simply becasue they feel it is healthy, and they dont go all dogmatic about it and become martyrs. i know plenty of people who do this lifestyle within reason. i eat like 85 percent organic but somethimes i eat salsa con queso fake nacho cheese sauce. sometimes i dont drive my car for a week. but sometimes i drive it every day and even use it to drive my son to sleep on a mommy meltdown kind of night. i dont hide either experince nor do i feel shame about them. i do get a stomachache from the fake cheese, however.
post #5 of 327
I've noticed that a lot, that unless it's so hard, so sacrificial that you can martyr yourself over it, you're just not crunchy enough. I don't understand that thinking. I thought NFL was supposed to be about living simplier and easier, not doing the hardest possible thing because it's more natural than your neighbor.
post #6 of 327
Wow I don't get that impression of AP or NFL. Sure, there are some people who will just be extreme at anything they decide to embrace, and yes, I have seen posts on these boards where someone does seem to be making it much harder than it needs to be. People do that in lots of ways for lots of things, though, not just attachment parenting.

I never felt like I was sacrificing because I breastfed my ds. I never feel like I'm sacrificing when I lie down with him until he falls alseep (or, if I fall asleep first then we co-sleep). I don't feel like I'm sacrificing because I stay home and DH goes to work, or because my DS is with me instead of spending his days at school. No one is forcing any aspect of AP on me. I choose it and I like it and I use what works for me and don't get hung up on "rules".

Really, I think some people just misinterpret what it all means. I see people do that with homeschooling too. They think it's supposed to work a certain way and if it doesn't then they think homeschooling doesn't work or that they don't know how to do it right (or that other people are doing it wrong).

BCZmama, it's obvious from this and other posts that you do not have much esteem for your DH's ex. It seems that her version of AP frustrates you and even though you want to do certain things for your child that are AP, you really don't want to be associated in this way with your DH's ex. I totally understand that, especially since I got the impression that she tries to tell you how you should parent-- but granola (what you originally called it)? Come on. If women are striving to be matyrs for social acceptance I don't think that is the fault of AP or NFL. Some of the mamas who practice certain aspects of AP would do well to be less judgemental but it's not because they are judgemental that anyone needs to live up to their standards.
post #7 of 327
That said..
I do think some women turn ap/nfl into a "more martyred than thou" competition. And who use that as a weapon against other women.

You see the "string up the bad mama" mentality. You see these cyber-gangs that gather in the "I saw a bad mama doing xyz threads."

And it reminds me of the scene in the "Handmaid's Tale" when they all pull on the rope to hang the Handmaid who had sex with the doctor.

You see these gatherings of the ap/nfl police, ready to figuratively stone some stranger or acquaintance to death, for not measuring up. For not being martyred enough. And that really gives me the chills.

OTOH, I have RARELY seen mainstream mamas do that. Is that inherently part of ap/nfl? Absolutely not. But somehow, ap/nfl circles do seem to attract some women who really really need to compare themselves to others, and who are really really invested in setting up straw-women bad mommies to make themselves feel superior and righteous. I am not sure what is behind that, but I hear it and see it much more among women who describe themselves as ap/nfl.

I personally have no need to lambaste other mommas, especially when I haven't walked in their shoes. Nor am I as invested in labels as others. I came to ap because it seemed the best way to parent my infant. But I define ap the way Sears does.. with the 5 B's. And I did all five, while wohm-ing.

NFL is different than AP. And this site has made me more into NFL than I was. But again, I wohm, so I will never measure up in the eyes of many many women who have very narrow definitions of what NFL is.

Luckily, I no longer care.
post #8 of 327
Q
post #9 of 327
sure, there are some holier-than-thou crunchy people who seem to support difficulty for difficulty's sake. However, I've said it before and I'll say it again--the subculture of difficulty for difficulty's sake can only rightly be considered in light of the mainstream culture's wholehearted support of convenience for convenience's sake, no matter the consequences. People who question that mainstream lifestyle may be rightly suspicious of things that make our life easier, because there may be hidden costs. Some people take it too far. Some people always do. But if some woman wants to give birth in the bushes, so what?
post #10 of 327
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3girlmom View Post

Particularly where I live, I've seen lots of women who harness their considerable energies, intelligences and financial resources to provide the most organic, most crunchy, most esoteric-all-natural-baby-item-special-ordered-from-Sweden-don't-drink-milk-if-it's-homogenized-even-if-it's-organic-soy?-no-soy?-dried-fruit-and-nuts-instead-of-a-birthday-cupcake life for their children, and it's rooted more in a search for control rather than a search for happiness. Imagine if they gave all that energy and money to larger societal problems rather than to attaining some sort of granola perfection.
WOW I do not know people like that. People here seem to be more concerned with appearing "normal" and mainstream. There is a fear of being marginalized.
post #11 of 327
Quote:
Originally Posted by asherah View Post

OTOH, I have RARELY seen mainstream mamas do that.
There are people who do this in every group and subcategory! You know, people who think kids need to be spanked or advise everyone to let their child CIO ("buy earplugs, go outside if you have to" --I have even seen this in parenting books), people who make comments about breastfeeding being gross or indecent (Tracy Hogg in her parenting book telling the story of one woman she knew who BF'd whose breasts became "flat as pancakes") people who will shun those who don't vaccinate their kids, remarks about non-circumsized penises as being gross or weird, people of all kinds have their own reasons for making negative comments to homeschoolers (even though there are people of all kinds who homeschool)... so I think mamas are subject to harrassment from any "side".
post #12 of 327
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna View Post
sure, there are some holier-than-thou crunchy people who seem to support difficulty for difficulty's sake. However, I've said it before and I'll say it again--the subculture of difficulty for difficulty's sake can only rightly be considered in light of the mainstream culture's wholehearted support of convenience for convenience's sake, no matter the consequences. People who question that mainstream lifestyle may be rightly suspicious of things that make our life easier, because there may be hidden costs. Some people take it too far. Some people always do. But if some woman wants to give birth in the bushes, so what? .
OK I know I'm quoting everyone's posts here but I had to reply to this. Brigianna you said it very well and it makes perfect sense that the inconvenience and sacrifice (sometimes taken too far) is a reaction to the convenience and selfishness that is part of mainstream culture (though certainly not embraced by all who would be considered more or less mainstream). Anyway, really loved your post.
post #13 of 327
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
There are people who do this in every group and subcategory! You know, people who think kids need to be spanked or advise everyone to let their child CIO ("buy earplugs, go outside if you have to" --I have even seen this in parenting books), people who make comments about breastfeeding being gross or indecent (Tracy Hogg in her parenting book telling the story of one woman she knew who BF'd whose breasts became "flat as pancakes") people who will shun those who don't vaccinate their kids, remarks about non-circumsized penises as being gross or weird, people of all kinds have their own reasons for making negative comments to homeschoolers (even though there are people of all kinds who homeschool)... so I think mamas are subject to harrassment from any "side". There will always be extremists(so to speak) in just about any group but they are usually the minority
No, its different. Yeah, there are mainstream parents who make nasty remarks and who cut off people they disagree with. And yeah, UC, homeschooling and breastfeeding are often targeted by the ignorant. No doubt about that.

But I don't see the whole "we define ourselves by judging and lambasting straw women" culture I see in ap/nfl circles. I just don't. Mainstreamers don't DEFINE themselves that way. They don't have a culture of "more mainstream than thou." Ap/nfl people are more likely to define themselves solely by their parenting choices, and that is where some of that behavior comes from, I think.
post #14 of 327
Quote:
Originally Posted by asherah View Post
No, its different. Yeah, there are mainstream parents who make nasty remarks and who cut off people they disagree with. And yeah, UC, homeschooling and breastfeeding are often targeted by the ignorant. No doubt about that.

But I don't see the whole "we define ourselves by judging and lambasting straw women" culture I see in ap/nfl circles. I just don't. Mainstreamers don't DEFINE themselves that way. They don't have a culture of "more mainstream than thou." Ap/nfl people are more likely to define themselves solely by their parenting choices, and that is where some of that behavior comes from, I think.
It's possible, I'll give you that, but plenty of people do define themselves by being "normal" and do not like what seems to be abnormal. Sometimes the pressure to conform to the majority is what is oppressive! Where I live people will critcize anything they think isn't normal. ("C'est pas normal" is a favorite expression!) Maybe mainstreamers mind their own business more where you live.

When I used to post and read on sites that were more conservative (frugality and homeschooling sites are often conservative) I did find a lot of judgement and a sort of contest between women of who could be the most devout, godly, motherly, wifely, etc. but of course that is also a group with ideals outside the mainstream (I've also know people like this IRL but these are people I avoided so I learned more from people with similar ideals online).

But I would say that group can judge and lambast just as well as any ap/nfl-ers can. I definitely hold that this behavior/mindset is not unique to AP. It really has a lot to do with the personalities/need for acceptance/insecurity of certain women (and no I'm not lambasting them for this, I think mainstream society, while possibly less judgemental of parenting choices, can make people this way).
post #15 of 327
What I have seen is that places where AP/NFL is the most "mainstream" (e.g., Hyde Park, Illinois and espec Berkely, California) people do get very competive about it. You know like "Crunchier than thou"

They get just as competitive as those in more Mainstream "mainstream" communities do about having the latest car or the biggest house.

When we lived in one of those communities you would have thought that exclusively bottle feeding was akin to feeding your baby rat poison.
post #16 of 327
Quote:
Originally Posted by bczmama View Post
Sometimes AP/NFL does, to me, reek of: difficulty for the difficulty's sake, self-sacrifice by moms (regardless of the relative value of the sacrifice to the gain) = nobility, the more obscure, the more "cool", the more challenging, the more "cool". .
For me AP has so many benefits and one of them is that it seems like an easier way to parent. I can feel confident about my parenting choices because they go with my instincts. I don't have to force myself to do things that go against my instincts such as CIO.
Wearing the baby makes getting things done around the house possible, while still meeting my baby's needs and it is much easier to manuever then a stroller.
Co-sleeping is easier then not because when she wakes up all I have to do is roll over and feed her in bed, while still half asleep, getting up at night would be much harder.
Breastfeeding is so much easier then bottle feeding.
So I guess I don't see it as being difficult or self-sacrificing, the opposite is true in my opinion.
post #17 of 327
What an unfortunate thread title.

bczmama, you seem very angry at your husband's ex wife. Perhaps dealing with that first would be helpful as it may be coloring your perspective.

ETA - thank you moderator, for changing the thread title
post #18 of 327
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
Of course. Because sexism and the patriarchal structures that uphold it is the water we swim in. We may congregate into different schools, but the water stays the same.
Well said. Simply because a certain lifestyle is outside the mainstream, doesn't make it immune to the very strong forces of -isms that the mainstream runs on. In fact, sometimes it seems the more "other" a particular subculture seems to get in a specific aspect, the more "normal" it appears in all other respects.
post #19 of 327
Mod edit for quote of UA violation

TT- Thank you, Bug.
post #20 of 327
Ditto to the above, especially given the recent losses of some MDC mamas. It'd be kind to edit that.
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