The Things They Forgot to Tell You About Hippie Parenting

by Joni Edelman for Ravishly
Originally Published: 
A close-up of a hippie mum holding her baby in front of her while wrapped in a blue scarf

In addition to being in between sizes, parentally speaking, I’ve always parented to the left of “normal.” I’m that mom with a three-year-old in a Guatemalan wrap, while the “normal” moms push their kids around in Bugaboos (MSRP $1049.95). I was using cloth diapers when they still had pins and plastic covers and you kept the dirty ones in a pail of bleach water. It was gross and smelled like poop and was not even remotely “normal.”

It’s chic now—hip, even—to be a bit of a hippie. By “hippie” I definitely don’t mean patchouli-smelling, cut-off jean shorts-wearing folks sitting around listening to Janis Joplin, passing a doobie. I mean it as a parenting style I was practicing long before the cool parents and their “free-range kids.”

My hippie parenting matured along with my kids. Looking back, a number of things that seemed like good ideas at the time were doomed from the start. So in case you’re planning on (or currently) pursuing the path of hippie parenting, here are a few truths you should know.

Kids don’t like carob chips. They are not chocolate. They don’t even resemble chocolate. In fact, they are a chocolate imposter. A wolf in chocolate clothing. If your kids happen to get a taste of real chocolate, you might as well toss those carob chips right in the compost pile. There’s no going back.

In fact, there really isn’t an organic “hippie” chip worth eating. Selection is improving, but there aren’t many children who willingly choose a black bean/brown rice/turnip chip over a Dorito. If your child falls into the alternative chip seeking category, I present you with a bag of turnip chips, an ode to your stellar hippie parenting skills.

Toilet paper is a modern essential. In a moment of earth affection, I decided that toilet paper was entirely too wasteful. All those trees. Cut down purely for the sake of your clean hindquarters. The answer? Reusable wipes! I spent a day cutting and sewing squares of flannel, my enthusiasm unmatched. I lined them up, soldiers of the butt-wiping battalion, and put them in a basket on the back of the toilet, along with an old ketchup bottle (obviously, Reduce! Reuse! Etc.!) full of lavender scented soapy butt cleaner. My efforts to persuade my teenage children to join in the fight for the trees was in vain. Apparently the idea of wiping your tush with something that can’t be flushed away is just too gruesome for some.

Hair removal is up to you. It’s fine if you don’t shave your armpits/legs/bikini line. As long as your children don’t have to know it/see it/have their friends see it. A trip to the pool turns painfully embarrassing as soon as you lift your arm/stand up/readjust your swimwear, exposing a patch of unruly hair. Telling them you’re like a French girl, artistic and mysterious, won’t work.

They do not care who you are, only that you are cleanly shorn.

And normal.

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