You Might be a Hippie Mama if …

I sometimes refer to myself as a ‘hippie mama’. It’s a sort of short-hand way to tell you something about who I am. For example, I breastfeed and wear my babies and use cloth diapers. I also eat local and shop at thrift stores and am never without my re-usable shopping bags. I am pretty much the poster child for middle class, liberal, suburban hippies.

We know that I am a hippie mama. We also know that there are many ways that I am not a hippie mama. But what about you? Here are some signs that you might be a hippie mama (or maybe just a plain old hippie) too:

Jacob rides as Mama works
Jacob rides in a German woven wrap on my back as I clean

1. You use a lot of disclaimers when you talk. Like, “I know that I am coming from a place of privilege when I say this, but …” or, “I know I shouldn’t buy yogurt in single-serving tubs, but …” If you feel the need to state your sins and biases up front, you might be a hippie.

2. You have 3 copies of the Nova Natural catalogue, (or some other Waldorf-inspired toy company catalogue) floating around your house, and you’re trying to talk your kid into asking Santa for a pentatonic kinderlyre for Christmas. If you value open-ended toys made of natural materials above all else, you might be a hippie.

Hannah's new play kitchen
Our wooden play kitchen

3. You would actually never try to talk your child into asking Santa for anything, because Santa is a lie fabricated to manipulate children into good behaviour and encourage consumerism. And you don’t want to lie to your kids or encourage consumerism. While I decided to ‘do’ Santa, I’m pretty sure the fact that it was ever a question for me is a sign of hippie-ness.

4. You subscribe to Mothering magazine. Or Living Crafts magazine. And when you say to your mama friends, “I made this amazing raw chocolate banana pudding,” they all say, “Oh, you mean the one in Mothering?” This is a sign not only that you might be a hippie, but that all of your friends are probably hippies, too.

Scooping local, organic hazelnuts into my reusable bag
Scooping local hazelnuts into a reusable bag at the farmer’s market

5. You met all of your fellow hippie friends at La Leche League. Or Attachment Parenting International. Or a babywearing group. Or through your local organic buying club. At your playdates, you serve vegetarian, dairy-free food and homemade granola. In glass, because plastic dishes leach suspected carcinogens. Yes, my friends, you might be hippies.

6. You don’t use traditional beauty products. For example, I wash my face with honey. And I wash my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar (organic, from a glass bottle, of course). Other people make their own deoderant or buy only very specific product lines. If your bathroom looks more like a grocery store than a drug store, you might be a hippie.

Embroidered pillow
I helped my 5-year-old make this handmade, embroidered cushion for her aunt

7. You have given up cable TV. Or given up your TV altogether. Much like I did almost 2 years ago. Yes, people, I am a great big hippie.

8. You give lots of homemade gifts. Because homemade gifts are heartfelt, and sustainable, and affordable. And they make a statement about rejecting the consumer culture. Who needs Wal-Mart when you can knit your own sweaters? Hippies like me certainly don’t.

I’m sure there are many more signs of hippie mama-ness. But I just can’t think of them right now. Can you? What signs are there that you might (or might not) be a hippie?

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  1. i can’t think of any more but… oh my, i’m screwed. hippie friends for life, yo!
    the grumbles’s last post … standing up for those i loveMy Profile

  2. Love this post! I like the Nova Natural catalog too, and we have a kitchen almost just like that, but a little smaller. My in-laws were SO sweet to gift us with the wooden kitchen, and not some cheaper plastic monstrosity, per my not-so-subtle request. That whole Santa thing was a tough one for me. We talked about it and decided to do it, because it was a cherished part of our own childhoods, but we don’t do the Santa-is-watching good behavior part. And actually we’ve decided to tone down Christmas morning because our girls get a ridiculous number of gifts from family, anyway.

    I would rather be stinky than use an antiperspirant; we use mineral deodorant. Actually, I do most of these things. I have a little trouble with the reusable bags/keeping trash to an absolute minimum, buying organic, etc. But I’m working on it. I’m planning to do a lot of handmade gifts this Christmas, because I know how to make more things now, but men are SO hard to craft for!

    I’d add that you might be a hippie if you call your knowledgeable midwife friend first instead of the doctor when your child is sick to see what herbs or homeopathic remedies might solve the problem–and next is the chiropractor. (Of course, you’re even more of a hippie if you already know which natural remedies to try. I am still learning.) That you think your bathtub is a good place to have a baby, followed by homemade spaghetti in bed afterwards. And that you start teaching your baby to use a potty when she’s six months old or so because it makes more sense developmentally, is better for the environment, and saves time and money!

    • I just wanted to LOL at your comment Jenny, that “men are SO hard to craft for!” My husband tells a story about the Christmas that I knit a pair of sexy, lacy, thigh high socks for ME, but wore them Christmas eve with a little teddy. He said that was the best craft ever. :>

  3. I’m a definite non-hippie mama with a few hippie tendencies. Pentatonic kinderlyre is my new favourite phrase. Can we still be friends? 🙂
    allison’s last post … The Post that got More Untitleable the Longer I TypedMy Profile

  4. I am so not a hippy mama by those although I do question the whole Santa thing and usually minimize his importance at Christmas. And I use homemade deodorant but I didn’t make it. And I don’t think anyone looking at me would think – “now there’s a hippy momma.” But I do appreciate you as a hippy momma and may have to try using honey as facewash in the future. 🙂
    Tanya’s last post … Parenting a three year oldMy Profile

  5. Got the cloth diapers, wooden teething ring, and moby wrap ready — I’d say I’m a hippie mama in the making. How about tie-dyed onesies, homemade babyfood, and cosleepers? Do those make you a hippie mama too? 🙂
    Dallas’s last post … A Wonderful Weekend in BarcelonaMy Profile

  6. I get told I’m a hippie all the time. I usually tell people that hippies were a subculture in a time and place long gone, but if we were alive back in the 1960’s I would have totally been a hippie right along with my aunt who lived in The Haight.

    When our almost 10 year old was 4 and a half he flipped out he was worried because this old fat man was going to break into our house and leave things for us, including food items. He was worried that he was going to try to poison us and you weren’t supposed to eat food from strangers after all. He also had issues with the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

    I’ve never been a fan of Santa and have always told him how Santa got started, but others in my family felt the need to make him believe Santa was real. It was that year that I told him that no matter what other adults told him there is no man, bunny of fairy who is going to come into our house and leave you presents. It is always Mommy who does that. I told him that other people want their children to believe in Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy and he was not to ruin it for those children. I’ve had to remind him a few times, but over all he’s been very good at playing along for other children.
    Amy’s last post … Start date for the new school yearMy Profile

  7. My husband and I were just having the whether-or-not-to-Santa discussion last night! I think I qualify– I definitely met most of my friends either in labor doula training or at the breastfeeding support group; I crochet most of the gifts I give, or buy them from local atrists/craftmakers; we don’t have cable–who has time to watch tv, etc. It’s nice to be in such good company! =)
    Amy’s last post … No-Sew WrapMy Profile

  8. Ha! I’m half and half on the whole mall santa thing. I mean go sit on a strange mans lap? Well the first 2 year with Liz she just screamed through it. After that I had her asking him for world peace. So yes, I guess I’m a modern hippie momma!
    Laura’s last post … A seasonal shift in the front GardenMy Profile

  9. I was not aware that poor old Santa is anti-hippie-ness. Seems so sad to take away the magic of Christmas.
    Francesca’s last post … On my kitchen tableMy Profile

  10. Ha ha! This is great! Now you have me curious about Mothering Magazine!
    Old School/New School Mom’s last post … Huggable Hangers ReviewMy Profile

  11. Haha, I was just drafting my own blog post entitled “When did I get so crunchy granola?” because it seems that having a child is bringing out the hippie in me (breastfeeding my almost-toddler, making my own laundry detergent, composting, aspiring to someday have a home vegetable garden, etc.) but clearly I’m not quite as crunchy as I thought! Your post has me dreaming big, though… 🙂
    Amanda’s last post … Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  12. Who knew? I’m a hippie posing as an urban sophisticate. My heart is hippie (I was born in the 60s so i come by it honestly) but I poo poo all things hippie just to be contrary.

  13. Love it!!! Now I feel justified in calling myself a hippie as frequently as I do!

  14. But Amber (said exasperatedly), you can’t have a COPY of the magazine, you need to look at it ONLINE so as not to WASTE PAPER (gasp!). 😉

    (check, check, check, check, check)
    #3 made me laugh especially, given the flack I got last year from my “Santa” post 😉
    Dionna @ Code Name: Mama’s last post … The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy 19My Profile

  15. I don’t know where to put myself on the hippy-scale. On one hand I would die without my deodorant, rather go without ice cream that does not contain large amount of refined sugar and dairy and we happily use pampers AND wet wipes. Though on the other hand we also use cloth diapers, breastfeed toddlers, grow our own veggies (in the city), live without a TV and do not own a car. Also I have a ton of re-usable shopping bags, but I always forget them at home. Also hippy cookies do not taste as well as french pastry – I had even to give up trying to fake it in front of my kids.

  16. Oy. Check, check, check, etc. I’m also guilty on these counts: Cloth diapers. Organic food. Totally comfortable but not exactly fashionable sandals because, hey, all that babywearing is hard on my feet! Thanks for the laughs. I don’t have those hardcore food things going on though. Sugar? Yes please. Occasional crappy junk food? Yes please. I guess I’m not a hippie in that way. Heck, I’m not even a vegetarian much less vegan.
    AmberDusick’s last post … Ten Years Ago Today We MetMy Profile

  17. Ha ha, fun post! You could certainly add home birthing and homeschooling to your list.

    I was interested to note that apart from extended breastfeeding, babywearing and cloth diapering (oh yes, and using disclaimers), I am not much at all of a hippy! Love my cable TV, Starbucks, Santa for the kids and gift cards for gifts, and I only rarely make an effort to seek out organic. About 5 years ago, I would have been ashamed to admit those things, and would have tried hard to emphasize the ways in which I was hippyish, and would have tried to “do better”. However, various events in my parenting life have led me to feel differently, and to be very much “at home” with the real me and who I am. Viva self-recognition!
    Karen Munro’s last post … Vacation 2010 part 2- and just a bit of FOPMy Profile

  18. I am in a special subcategory: Mamas who are children of hippy mamas. You know you are in this category when your mother buys you a subscription to Mothering for your birthday.

    Now, if I could just get my dogs to stop eating all of the nice wooden toys in our house, I might qualify as a hippy mama myself! (But I’m not giving up my TV. No way, no how. Sorry.)
    Inder’s last post … First ripe tomato of the year!!My Profile

  19. Yep, it looks like I’m a hippie mom too. At least I know I’m not alone. 😉
    Summer’s last post … Water- Water Everywhere- And Not A Drop To DrinkMy Profile

  20. Mrs.Mayhem says:

    Yay! According to your list, I’m a hippie mama, too! Except for #6 – I’m too frightened to try any alternative beauty stuff on the sensitive skin on my face.

    BUT I’m not a hippie in other ways. I have a lot of kids, so I drive a big car. And I joined a pool at the country club (because it was the only option in our area!). But at least I have the grace to be embarrassed of those things.

  21. This is a fun post – and an interesting depiction of the subculture of hippie mama! I’m with you on the home made gifts (though I need to actually make more time for getting crafty), I avoid the plastic, don’t have cable. I’ve been a hippie mama by bringing my son out to parties (as long as they aren’t smoky indoors) from a very young age. His first party was at two weeks old. Once, as a baby, he came home with lipstick marks on his cheeks after laying on a sheepskin rug by a fire, surrounded by young women who were not moms. He smiled and gurgled and cooed all night while attention was lavished upon him. I did not “schedule” him in any way – just kept him as my little right hand man. Multi-generational parties strike me as part of the hippie experience – kids dancing with adults to a band late at night in a cafe!
    Susan’s last post … East Van pilot project- on-street bike racksMy Profile

  22. Twenty years ago I got, "Cyber Earth Mom"

  23. I’m really not a hippie, but I love making gifts by hand. And we don’t overdo the Santa stuff either. Someone gave us an “Elf on the Shelf” last year, but I couldn’t bear to put it up – it seemed so creepy. Can’t blog about it because the giver reads my blog. 🙂
    Lady M’s last post … SuperMy Profile

  24. If you wake up with a baby in your bed, and he/she started there? You might be a hippy 😉

  25. Guilty 🙂 Thanks for the tip on the catalogue, I’m just getting into “toys” but I just told my parents I want hand-made toys only for Christmas! Like the blocks my dad made for us, and the doll clothes I always sewed with my Mema 🙂
    abbie’s last post … New Profile Picture!My Profile

  26.!/notes/raincoast-books/diy-delicious-book-trailer/427652062207 Don't know if you've seen this, but it seems right up your alley. Happy Saturday.

  27. Haha, loved this post, especially about the disclaimers. That sure fits.(Maybe a little Unitarian, too?) In the real hippie days you had pychedelic mobiles and art and marched with your baby. You focused on changing the world for the better by belonging to groups like Another Mother for Peace. You had the first recycling depot of the city in your garage and your children grew up listening to Jefferson Airplae, CSN&Y and Joan Baez and, yes, wooden toys littered the house. You wore sandals, a long skirt and peasant blouses, and today, when you hand out old hippie beads to grand-daughters you get a whiff of patchouli and maybe something a little stronger. Yes, it was a time and a place but the values live on. Great post, Amber.

  28. Hm, let’s see:

    – cloth diapering (except at night)
    – baby-wearing (until she got too big for regular baby-wearing and was relegated to the stroller)
    – currently no-pooing it (except when I forget to make up a batch and end up using shampoo and conditioner)
    – give homemade gifts (insofar as “homemade” means a calendar or photobook that I ordered from somewhere online)
    – I make my own granola (except when I run out of time or peanut butter and end up buying granola (which is probably 75% of the time if not more))

    So yeah. If I am hippy, then it’s on a really low scale.
    Nicole’s last post … Post-Partum Depression- Depression and LivingMy Profile

  29. Jerseygirl says:

    I am so not a hippie mama because I am just way too lazy. But I really admire all of you. And I do bring my own shopping bags to Target.
    Jerseygirl’s last post … I Want One of My OwnMy Profile

  30. I freaking love this. Homebirthing, homeschooling, vegetarian, considering removing toilet paper from the bathroom for pees, environmental organizations-supporting… Yup. I’m such a hippie.

  31. I always have excellent intentions but reality often gets in the way of my true hippie-mama-dom. I breastfed until my Kid self-weaned (then just continued pumping), made/make all my own babyfood, give handmade gifts like they’re going out of style, purchase used clothing/toys almost exclusively, and buy as local and organic as my circumstances can afford/allow. On the other hand, cloth diapering was kicked to the curb (we moved to an apartment with no laundry and I never resurrected it), we have every cable channel available plus a PVR (granted this is via our landlords as it’s included in our rent), and I’m definitely a Sephora junkie. But I do feel a lot of guilt about that… maybe I’m more hippie than I thought 🙂
    Hamma’s last post … Kids Are Weird Vintage HammaMy Profile

  32. Erm, no, I’m not really a hippie mama. I’m a vegetarian yoga practitioner, does that count? With peace, love, serenity philosophies? But not really a hippie.
    Nicole’s last post … E-evil Children!My Profile

  33. I’m not a mom but I can relate haha.
    Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green’s last post … Ditch the DisposablesMy Profile

  34. Ha! I had to laugh at your list. I kept saying “yup, yup…” I have so many Nova Natural catalogues! We live in London now and they have a company called Myriad Toys (identical to Nova Natural) and I have about 4 catalogues around the house. And I got my son a high end glockenspiel for his birthday. (He didn’t ask for it though) The tones are amazing! Anyway, love your list.

    I’d like to add one more for a double entendre point: You might be a hippie (aka “crunchy”) if you make your own granola!! 🙂
    PureMothers’s last post … Earth Day ExplorationMy Profile

  35. ForestHillsMom says:

    Avoiding age-inappropriate didactic instruction is key to my hippie momma lifestyle.
    In my neck of the woods (NYC), to be a hippie momma is to be against the New Stage Momma.
    That doesn’t mean I haven’t learned sign language, Mandarin and the Fibonacci series with my daughter. We use fun videos to learn languages together and chant songs and other things the young ones can learn beyond the ABCs.
    However, I refused to Ferberize. I refused to sign up my daughter for both piano lessons and music theory lessons, to be attended twice a week after nursery school.
    When her best friend had lessons 4 days a week after nursery (gym class, piano, music theory and ballet), I declined to offer any lessons.
    When she asked for ballet and gymnastics, I signed her up. When she asked to quit, I let her quit.
    When she got to the public school and we found out “Kindergarten is the New First Grade,” and found that Bill Gates has decided he wants all kindergarten children to independently write a paragraph with proper punctuation by the end of first grade, I started a revolution.
    When I attended Open School and saw her class being lectured to by the kindergarten teacher for 90 minutes, and saw that the 40 minutes of play time promised to parents was being regularly cancelled for “science play” that involved looking at a houseplant and writing paragraphs about it, I continued the revolution.
    When she decided, at age 5, that the school was no good for her and refused to go, I found her a play-based private kindergarten (the only place you can find play-based kindergarten these days is in private schools) and signed her right up.
    I refuse and will continue to refuse to choose her activities for her – I don’t tell her, at age 6, that she must go to soccer league, basketball camp, gymnastics, violin lessons, swimming lessons, Karate, Kung Fu or Tae Kwan do, Kumon workshops, Brownies, or (the most laughable instruction of all), “art lessons to teach creativity.”
    When she wanted FastTrack, I was secretly against it, but she chose it because her friends were going, so I signed her right up. when it ran its course, I let her quit.
    When her best friends’ mom asked her recently, “What have you been doing lately? Have you been taking any lessons?”, my daughter said, “Playing with my friends.” The mom blanched, but I beamed.
    Yet she continues to learn how to read and write ahead of developmentally milestones, knows a lot of Chinese and some Spanish and can swim better than all those kids in lessons.

  36. princess dona i apologise, but it not absolutely approaches me.

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