The Odd Mom Out


Love this post from MBL writer, Lauren.  I don’t have as fancy a car or bag as she, but I also feel that limbo, not normal enough for the normal moms, not crunchy enough for the crunchy moms.  -Stephanie :)

Motherhood has brought so much joy to my life. I am happier than I ever thought possible despite the lack of sleep, frankly the lack of time, and the ever present and joyful constant guilt. For my gorgeous boy, I will take it all and more.

But there is something I could do without, something I feel is so unproductive, and unnecessary…. the judgmental mamas.

 

You see, for reasons I can not quite grab a hold of, I find that since motherhood I just don’t quite fit in, and the feeling of being judged sometimes can be worse than what I assume people felt in high school. This is a problem I never really had before. I was in general “liked” and found making friends easy, until now.

Then came baby, and my instincts led me to a parenting style not so mainstream. I am talking extended nursing,  cosleeping,  babywearing, and cloth diapering, oh my!

But, wait! I don’t wear clothing made of hemp, and I don’t make everything I put into my mouth by scratch, and I use time outs … dunh dunh!!  And let’s be real here, shall we? I like nice things, I drive a rather fancy car, I carry a ridiculously expensive and sometimes embarrassing bag, and find myself in need of stupid expensive ballet flats. I can’t help it, I like nice things and I am sure there is some underlying reason why I do, like being poor as a child, or something unresolved from a past life, who knows, and I can afford these luxuries now and so I do.

So there I am, smack dab in the middle. I’m way too crunchy to hang with the “normal” moms since they look at ya a little nuts when you pull out your boob to nurse your toddler and wonder quietly why his butt looks so ginormous (from a cloth diaper of course).

But the real crunchies don’t really welcome me either, maybe it’s the car, the bag, or the fact that I brought real goldfish to music time that I didn’t make homemade, or that I just put my kid in time out after a hitting episode and may or may not have said “you’re in time out for hitting, DON’T MOVE!”

I don’t ever judge parenting choices (except the obvious abusive, neglectful ones), ok well maybe I do a little in my head, but never would I allow somebody to feel judged for choices that are theirs to make. I am going to screw up my kid in my own ways and you are free to screw up your kid in your ways. There is no perfect formula for perfect human production.

You’re a mom and I am a mom, and it’s really freaking hard. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could commiserate together and you could give me some “non judgemental” advice about how to get a picky eater to eat, and I could give you some tips on ummmmm…. hold on I’ve got something good to offer………. oh ok, got it, tips on how to side nurse.

Wouldn’t that be nice because guess what I am pretty fun, almost always willing to indulge in a cupcake, and will be there if you need me. But you have to give me a chance and not judge the book by her milk-filled jugs or her very cluttered, huge Louis Vuitton.


About the Author

Hi, I'm Lauren! You can find me blogging over at Simply Inspired Mama, a blog about all things Mama and home. And my struggles to get my kid to eat, play nice, all the while trying to get a gorgeous picture, and make a curtain.

Comments

  1. ditto.

  2. I totally agree! And I’m the same “type” of person you are. I’d call myself slightly crunchy but still like fancy smancy things. My little guy is only 1 and we’re still breasfeeding so I’ve not gone through the stares from others about nursing a toddler. I parent the same way for the most part. I really feel “off” around people who don’t parent the way I do, so I tried to surround myself with other moms that kind of lean the way I do. I still don’t feel accepted 100% of the time, but I try to look past that and still participate in things that group does. I want to learn from them and be out with others at the same time. However, I really think there are more and more of us out there than ever before. More of the middle income families bucking the “norm” as far as parenting goes. It’s exciting to be a part of it! :)

  3. Absolutely feel ya. Im dreading the time when it becomes socially unacceptable to take my baby to adult functions and i’ll have to start getting involved in kid events bc I end up feeling so socially awkward and uncomfortable around various groups of other moms.

  4. Katherine says:

    I completely agree – we are very similar!

  5. Not alone at all!!! Motherhood can completely change how women relate to each other and holding on to those existing relationships that once before seemed so easy becomes a little more challenging with balancing schedules and lets face it just not having the time we once had! Our priorities change once we enter motherhood which they should but I still miss the friend time and adult conversation..not saying it has to be one or the other but balancing it is a challenge I have and wish I could figure it out:-) It’s definitely a season of life, there will come a time when the kids are grown and we’ll have some of that time back *tear* however I’m in no rush! Also wanted to say to the first girl I met when I moved here 10/11 yrs ago I love you and you have always been an amazing friend to me

    • Thanks Shannon that was so sweet, you were talking about me right ;) I think about the time when I will have more time and Im not rushing that either, I guess you just have to find a way to appreciate every season of life for what is it, good and bad.

  6. You know i love you!! And we couldnt be anymore different in our parenting styles …but yet we get along just fine :)

  7. elizabeth says:

    PREACH!

    So nice to know there are other mamas out there like me! And to everyone else I ask, why can’t Fuzzibuns and Kate Spade mingle?

    • Exactly Elizabeth!

    • Yes!! Now that is what I am talking about! A Kate Spade and Fuzzibunz collaboration. And Lauren, I think the whole judging thing comes from women feel insecure about their own parenting choices. If they have alot of self worth, they wouldn’t feel the need to judge others and put them down.

      • Steph I think you are right.

        • I agree with Steph, and I would also point out that judgement can also come from fear and anger about their own lives, which again has to do with themselves, not you. Carrying dirty diapers in a bag that costs an entire paycheck for some can be a reminder of that fear and anger, so they project it onto you. Everyone experiences hardship in their own way and we all have to deal with it in our own way, but sometimes we get caught in the wake of emotions from others. Learning not to take things personally is a hard lesson that most struggle with.

          • Cassandra so true, I am sure my hardships have shaped in my decisions is parenting and a love of fancy crap! I struggle with not caring what people think but once I had a kid I knew I would do what I felt was best for him no matter what anybody thought.

  8. It’s a breathe of fresh air to read this post, because I’ve often thought that this is the kind of mother I’ll be in 2 years or so. I already feel that way with my general life choices. I’m not quite hippie, but I’m not quite trendy and “normal”, so I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ve learned over the years that I am a “grey area” girl.

  9. I’m the same way….maybe instead of crunchy..we’re “chewy”? haha???

  10. Amen! I’m not a super crunchy mom. Slightly crispy maybe? I don’t fit in with the crunchies. I don’t fit in some stay at home moms. I don’t fit in a lot of place. So I’ve learned to carve out my own place with the other in betweeners and those who are cool with going outside their box. Since I’m not raising your kids and you’re not paying for my kids therapy bills – I wish we, as women, could just give each other a little breathing room. And laugh, cry, juggle our milk jugs (although mine are long gone) and boost each other up along the way. I would definitely share a cupcake. OK… I wouldn’t share. I’d buy us each one.

    • Crispy I like that! If you buy one for each of us then I buy one for each of us then we could really get to celebrating ;)

  11. I could relate to this post in so many ways! Thank you for sharing so us “odd moms out” realize we really aren’t that’s strange after all!

  12. ..
    Great post! I also feel like I am in the middle. I am pretty crunchy – bfing and cloth diapering and making our own baby food when she was small – but the one that really gets me is that I am all about my kid going to daycare and public school. I was brought up by a teacher and I am a teacher myself and it is really hurtful when natural/ap parents start talking about all organized schools as if they were created by the devil. I love my daughter’s daycare and I love my job…I feel in the minority among ap parents for that reason. Thanks for bringing up this topic!

  13. Heather Brown says:

    I am so glad you wrote this! I feel the same way!!!

  14. I feel you! I have a foot in a couple camps when it comes to parenting, having a natural birth, breastfeeding for longer than is socially acceptable, clothing diapering off and on, teaching my daughter all about nature, and letting her get dirty no matter what shes wearing, feeding mostly healthy food, not allowing tv, etc. but at the same time, my daughter’s monthly clothes budget is ridiculous, we have nice cars and I love interior deign and just teach my daughter not to touch the wallpaper, drapes and pretty things on the coffee tables. I can’t help that I love tory burch….
    Luckily, my problem is the opposite of you in some ways. I had mostly male friends before having a baby…and they basically disappeared as friends afterwards. It has taken a little while, but I have made more female friends than I ever had, and none of them parent like I do, although all of them have a similar lifestyle. Maybe I just got lucky, but they do not really give me any funny looks when I talk about my crunchy leanings…I just found that I speak up about it early and confidently…not apologetically and they are just like, wow, that would never work for me, but I admire you. Funnily I have found, that the few super crunchy mamas I have met gave me a few negative glances when they saw me with goldfish, and asked me ‘seriously, you let her eat that, with gmo’s and everythng?!” I never get that kind of feedback from my non-crunchy friends when I promote natural birth!

    • Elizabeth I have found the same observation when my non-crunchy friends, and if I had a girl I would be in some serious trouble oh the clothes!!!!

  15. Thank you for you wonderful post! It really hits home with me and how I feel different because of the choices we have made with our children that go against the mainstream but not so different that I would consider myself “crunchy.” Thanks again for sharing.

  16. jessica rasmussen says:

    I read this and it reminds me exactly of my aunt. She would love this and she felt like this often, not really fitting in anywhere. I am lucky and live in an area where people seem to be more open to my different lifestyle and feel this way in other parts of the country but love that you wrote about this…thanks :) Eugene, OR

  17. love it….feel the same way. Although I drive a Subaru (and still would even if I won a million dollars) and a backpack is my purse…haha!

  18. “You’re a mom and I am a mom, and it’s really freaking hard. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could commiserate together and you could give me some “non judgemental” advice.” ACCEPTANCE~Isn’t that what we are all looking for anyway?! Love it!! Thanks, maybe as more of us “in the middle” moms speak out we will all find a “place to fit.”

  19. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  20. I loved, loved loved this article. Motherhood is transformative. So much is changing and evolving. I think moms are very insecure, we have our new mom skin and we are ttrying to find our place in the new mommy world. Perhaps onlookers are just admiring your beauty and pondering their own insecurities. Some times we project our own guilt outward and no one else is really judging us we are judging ourselves. Other times we do feel like the odd woman out and well you almost feel as though you our pioneering a path to a new middle ground. Eventually when you do the things you love you will find some like minded people. It has taken me a decade to find my closest female friends and they were worth the long wait and I’m sure there are more to find.

  21. Thank you so much for writing this! It feels so nice to know that I’m not alone. I’m the first in my family to breastfeed, baby wear, and cosleep. We also try to eat healthy, but we don’t always hit the mark…some days we are whole-grain, organic, etc..and others, we make Kraft Mac&Cheese and eat Oreos for dessert. As much as I considered it, I did not cloth diaper, but I am very happy to be a stay-at-home mom…I let my son watch The Wiggles so I can get chores done around the house sometimes… No one in my family has ever really done any of those “crunchy” things, but I have just always been an annoying perfectionist and love to research things…so, that’s where we are at right now. I try to always do what I feel is best for my family. I feel like my family is always judging me on my “crunchy” choices, but I feel like I am a disgrace to their community too. I hate that most of those moms are SOOOO judgemental. It’s always been hard for me to voice my opinions or even defend them because I am normally very easy-going and hate controversy and conflict, but since I became a mother, I care a lot more about what my son thinks and a lot less what others think. :) It’s really helped me a lot. I know that I do my best for my family and that helps me sleep better at night. I think us middle-moms need to start a facebook group or something to talk to like-minded moms :)

  22. I feel we are a lot alike from what you’ve described so I guess it’s about finding your nitch in this world. I live in Spain and as a foreigner, you can really feel left out but you find what works for you and your child and just ignore the rest.

  23. I feel I the middle also now, only since having twins though, my older girls
    Were bf extended times yet my twins I had to give up at 6 months, attempted and failed cloth diapers with all
    Extended rear facing car seats with the twins. Made all my own food from scratch with the girls
    But rarely get to now, I’m in the middle because my parenting contradicts its’self! I can’t offer advice on any area with being fully qualified to do so, because I’ve both tried & failed and succeeded in almost everything lol. I am an outspoken person and tell people outright the way I do things anyway, even when it’s met with unaproving looks and questions!

  24. I loved your post. I feel the same way with the people I live around. My daughter is 13 months old I still breast feed and she has two cousins that were born within days and weeks of her and their mommy’s do not breast feed any more. They look at me like I am crazy when I start to breastfeed, my daughter still sleeps with me for the most part I am working on getting her into her own bed because my husband and I are trying for another child. I am so excited there are actually people like me in the world haha

  25. Wow… Are you my twin separated at birth or what? Thanks for writing this article. I don’t feel so odd anymore. Let me put my bag full of cloth diapers and organic baby food in my BMW, now. :)

  26. Thank you sooo much for this blog. I am in this same boat!

  27. I know this is a very old post, but I just stumbled upon it on Pinterest. I love this post, mostly because it is exactly how I feel in many senses! I’m a young mom with a six month old in a very conservative town. Buuuut, I have dreadlocks, so I am often deemed a “hippie” although I dress in nice clothes, wear makeup, and I’m not vegan/vegetarian. I’m constantly being labeled by women who dress like me but feel I don’t belong because of something as simple as my hairstyle. Then there are the people where I came from who have dreads that make me feel out of place because I’m not decked out in all thrifted clothing and drowning in patchouli. Thank you for sharing this, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only mama who feels stuck in-between!

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