It's okay to be counterculture

The first year of a baby's life is no cakewalk. There are a multitude of decisions to make...

  • hospital or home birth
  • breastfeed or formula feed
  • cry-it-out or comfort-quickly
  • crib or family bed
  • homemade baby food or jars of Gerber
  • disposable or cloth diapers
  • AAP vaccinations or no vaccinations at all, and...
  • everything in-between.
Each family has to find their own way. With the first child, I think that journey is be a bit more painful than with subsequent children. When my firstborn was a newborn, my tendency was to feel uncertain about my own instincts, to rely on "the professionals" with greater trust, and to look around timidly at other parents...wondering if I was doing things "right."  
With our second child on the way, I feel more confident. I won't feel the need to "apologize" about my baby not being in a crib or about breastfeeding past the 1-year mark or about not leaving my baby in the church nursery. I'll be able to brush comments off with grace and a smile. It's okay that I won't birth in a hospital. It's okay that we don't believe in crying-it-out. It's okay that we don't even own a crib. It's okay that we opted for the convenience of disposable diapers. It's okay that we don't like leaving our baby during the first year. That's what works for us.  
Some of our decisions are unconventional in mainstream USA. Most of the popular parenting magazines tend to describe parenting in the traditional hospital-birthing, bottle-toting, AAP way. But Mothering Magazine ("Natural Family Living") has a slightly different "voice." In a typical issue, you might find articles about green living, breastfeeding, homebirth, babywearing, and vaccine alternatives. You'll also find photos of moms breastfeeding their babies (and toddlers) and of actual births. The ads you'll see are for cloth diapers, natural oils, baby carriers, and co-sleeping aids (not baby formula and Huggies).  
It's okay to be counterculture 1 
Which magazine "fits" our family? Well - neither...and both. Perhaps we lean more toward the natural way of living that Mothering espouses, but they're also a bit more bohemian than we are (I don't breastfeed in public, for example, and we do vaccinate our children to some extent...).   
The thing that I like about Mothering is that it's different. It is unashamedly counterculture. It provides parents with new perspectives and thus encourages thoughtful decision-making.   
Most parents don't fit neatly into a particular parenting box. Decisions related to parenting are many - they're not always easy and sometimes they change. That's why I'm glad Mothering exists. Because its pages provide new ways of looking at things and also give parents "peace" who might be doing things outside of the prevailing societal norm.   
It's okay to be counterculture 2WIN IT! One winner will receive a 1-year-subscription to Mothering Magazine ($22.95). To enter, leave a comment on this post prior to Sunday, November 23 at midnight (don’t forget to follow the rules). * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
*UPDATE* The winner is #39 casual friday everyday. Congratulations! 

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57 comments on “It's okay to be counterculture”

  1. I am a first time Mom. I think this mag would really help. Then I could pass it along to my sister who is pregnant with her first!

  2. Your post was amazingly insightful and so descriptive of my exact sentiments on parenting. I feel like I am so much more equipped for that second baby (when the time is right). I love Mothering magazine (I have a digital subscription because I'm so "green" hee hee!). I'm only entering because my BF is pregnant with her first and needs a little encouragement to be "counterculture"

  3. I am excited to be a mother, but it is definitely scary! Sometimes I feel like I can barely keep my schedule together as it is, but I know that everything will be great once the baby is actually here. I think the anticipation is the worst part.

  4. I'd sure like to have this for my daughter in law. You are right about all the decsions a new mom has to make.

  5. I just let my subscription run out because it was getting a little more money than I wanted to pay. Some things in MOthering were a bit to librel if you would say for me, but some of the stuff was great! =)

  6. Pooop, I'm already subscribed. lol And what a great mag it is! My most fav to receive.

    And I couldn't agree more with your post. Everything you said. It is okay to go "againts the norm" if that is what feels right to you.

    Nell

  7. Yes, Motherhood brings so many choices and decisions! And~ that can change with each baby!

    I would love to win this! Thanks for the chance to win!
    haras76 (AT) izoom (DOT)net

  8. This is the only mag that I read. Im definitely a crunchy mama, breastfed, co-sleeping, slinging, no-circumcision, cloth diapering mama here :)

  9. Wow, to have an actual magazine espousing these counter-culture ideas? Fantastic! Of course I'm sure I won't agree with all of them... but on the spread out vaccine schedule... (I think you referenced that in another post?) and other stuff, right on!

  10. Thank you so much for a great giveaway :) with me expecting my third little one this coming Spring, i would love to catch up on a lot of reading.

  11. Thank you so much for the giveaway! I love this magazine but, now that I am a sahm, our budget is tight, and we canceled our subscriptions.

    We're trying attachment parenting but are also trying to transition her from our bed to her co-sleeper. So far, it has been an ordeal!!

  12. Well said. It's so different being a parent to #2. There is more confidence that even if what you're doing isn't the norm or the same thing your neighbor or friend does it's what works for your family and that's ok. That said I still feel like I'm clueless about somethings. Maybe b/c #2 is different than #1 so it requires doing some things differently or b/c I'm doing things a little differently this time around so it's new ground. I enjoy reading Mothering when I get the chance (library or friend's copy) because it is more "my style" and a refreshing change from what is mainstream.

  13. I love this magazine. The newsstand prices prevent me from getting a copy very often. Honestly, the first time I read an issue when pregnant with my son, I felt like I couldn't relate to a lot of the crunchiness they advocated (aside from cloth diapers and chiropractic care). Here I am a year after my son's birth and I find I'm much more of a Mothering mom than I ever thought I'd be: co-sleep with our son, at least a few hours every night, don't vaccinate, don't circumcise, wear baby, homebirth, and I'm still breastfeeding. I'd definitely love the year-long subscription. Thanks for the contest, Stephanie!

  14. I would love a magazine other than the ones promoting the latest toy craze, Huggies, Pampers, and Enfamil. One that actually has something different and unique that applies to babies, toddlers, and pregnancy. Sounds like a great resource that I would enjoy.

  15. What works for us makes lots of other parents I know roll their eyes - but we have a happy, healthy, content 15 month old and even though she is our first and we struggled with some of our decisions and still do and still have to put up with criticism from certain family members I'm glad we've done it our way. I've read Parenting Magazine but never had a chance to read Mothering - I'd love an opportunity to get opinions from a different voice for awhile!

  16. I'm so glad to read your post because I somewhere in the middle of Mothering and Parenting magazines. I'm a post-partum RN but didn't deliver at my hospital because it's known for epidurals, pit and subsequently the highest c/s rate in the area. Instead I delivered at a small hospital with a midwife and intended to have a natural waterbirth... but after 41 hours of labor, the plans changed. And I'm ok with it. We breastfeed only, co-bed and use disposable diapers. Everything in moderation and I do what I think is best for our family and our baby.

  17. I would love to win this subscription, My sister has one and occasionaly I read hers it seems like a really good magazine.

  18. I love Mothering magazine. I used to have a subscription and just passed several back issues on to a new mom friend. Would love to subscribe again!

  19. My motto, when it comes to parenting is: You have to do what works for you and your family, no matter what. That, obviously, is different for every mother. I try not to be judgemental when other mothers are trying just as hard as I am to do what is right for them and their families. Mothering magazine fits my mothering style perfectly! I'd love to win this!! :)

  20. I love love love Mothering magazine! I can't stand reading mainstreaming parenting mags...the breastfeeding "info" always raises my blood pressure.

  21. I love Mothering Magazine. Even though I can't say that I always agree with their articles. They are always well researched and thoughtfully written which is far more than I can say for most parenting magazines.

  22. I've heard of Mothering magazine, but didn't know that it leans to the left, if you will. It wasn't until after my daughter was born that I even started considering some of the options that were available to me. Cloth diapering is one of those. It wasn't until she was just over a year that I finally met someone who cloth diapers her child. In discussing it with her, I'm definitely interested in going that route with our next baby. I'm sure this magazine would open my eyes to many other issues, and help educate me on choices that I'm already aware of.

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