I’ve always known, growing up in the DC suburbs, that my hometown is not a normal hometown and that people here aren’t necessarily representative of the rest of the United States. But sometimes I get sucked into this culture that I find myself in and I don’t know how to come up for air. While I’m sure that many subcultures exist in DC and its environs (I’m not, for example, part of the Georgetown or Embassy Row socialite society) I feel like my little world is strongly defined by certain characteristics or expectations. For example, it seems to be expected…
that you eat organic, or mostly organic, and especially that you feed your kids organic food. Even, or perhaps especially, organic baby food. There’s even some expectation that you make your own baby food, but not by everyone. Along those lines it’s expected
that you eschew McDonald’s or other fast food. Ever since Super Size Me and Fast Food Nation, after which I avoided McDonald’s for probably a year, I feel a deep sense of shame and embarrassment when I hit the drive through. But evidently not enough shame or embarrassment to never go again. It’s expected that
you don’t let your kids watch much tv, or maybe any tv at all, or when they do watch tv it’s only educational. While we try to limit Zoe’s tv watching to shows she can understand and get something out of, I feel ridiculously sheepish when I talk to friends who are all excited about the Waldorf school and its tenets, which include a zero tolerance tv policy. I even went so far as to read an entire book about how television affects children of preschool age and younger, so I could understand what to do and maybe so I could justify letting Zoe watch Sesame Street. It’s expected that
you at least consider natural childbirth, or you take a class like hypnobirthing or the Bradley method, or you have a midwife or a doula, or give birth in a birthing center. I know a few moms who gave birth at home, and it was suggested to me that I give birth at home for my next child, because Zoe was born relatively quickly. Perhaps I am alone in this, but I love hospitals and trust doctors. Of course I want to have a voice in my medical care, but I also prefer to leave things that I was not trained in to medical experts who were. And I prefer to take medication when there is significant pain on the horizon. But perhaps that’s just me.
I could go on, but I won’t. All this is to say that I have a lot of respect for people who are more healthy and natural than I am. But I’m not really that crunchy granola. And while part of me wants to do better, I need to be realistic. A few years ago when my husband and I had organic vegetables delivered from a local farm twice a month, we never finished them all. We let stuff rot and felt guilty. When they deliver kale or beets or whatever else it was and you’re supposed to branch out and try new things and learn to cook kale or beets or whatever, I just don’t want to. Is that ok?