I’d like to take a moment to focus on Mothering Magazine which you can find online at mothering.com. You don’t have to be a parent or aspire to be a parent to appreciate the crazy on this website.

I love this magazine. I was turned onto it during my first pregnancy by someone who gave me a book on natural childbirth that featured an article written by someone who lived in a tree. Literally. I would buy a subscription to this magazine if it didn’t drive my husband berserk. It is all kinds of crazy PLUS it has an very active online forum that makes Jezebel looks perfectly reasonable and even a bit teaparty-ish.

I realize that I am opening myself up to potentially tons of hate mail from women who worship Jenny McCarthy but I think it’s worth it to expose people in the middle ground to a magazine that extols the benefits of breastmilk as a makeup remover. There is also a stellar article in which the writer recommends squirting breastmilk into a sick child’s nose. You can do it for your husband too! I like to fantasize about my husband’s reaction if I attempted this. I am not making any of this up. Here is the article.

There are forums that discuss the benefits of living off the grid, cloth diapering, elimination communication, raw food diets, co-sleeping, avoiding vaccines, homeschooling, unschooling (I’m working on a column about this), lactivism, homebirth, freebirth, extended breastfeeding and much, much more. Any one of these topics might be reasonable on its own but taken together they form a vacuum of crazy that derails all reasonable thought. The online forum is very active and requires vigilant moderators because there is a good deal of angst amongst the tribes (that’s what they call themselves). It is a buffet of crazy and I highly recommend it if, like me, you are easily entertained by people who have come completely unhinged.

Once, I fished around and here are some conversations topics I found (I’ve summarized for brevity):

  • Should I allow visitors to come over while I’m in labor in the birth pool in our living room?
  • Does anyone else use a kitty litter box in combination with elimination communication?
  • I have questions about going no-poo (This means going shampoo-free.)
  • I’m raising geese as guard dogs – This actually makes sense because geese can be complete jerks. However, the idea amuses to no end.
  • I gave my baby a pacifier and would like to invite comments on how this makes me a terrible mother as I should be sticking my tit in the kid’s mouth every time s/he has the urge to suck.
  • Let’s discuss about yurt and wigwam living like it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
  • I am raising a high-energy, spiritually creative child and people keep trying to repress him with rules.
  • I also saw an ad for the Diva Cup Post-childhood Cup (My brain slammed up against my skull.)

There are sane discussions on this site but sane people are not directing the majority of the dialog on mothering.com. Vaccine conspiracy theorists are rampant on this site and are just as passionate today as they were before Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s study linking vaccines to autism was thoroughly discredited. I used to have a super-boring job and I used to spend lots of time cruising the forums looking for crazies. There was no shortage whatsoever. I found people who weren’t speaking to their parents because they bought plastic toys for their children, mothers who had decided to go completely soap-free and moms who were breastfeeding a newborn and a five year old at the same time.

I highly recommend getting a username and checking out the forums. You can even have a little fun by occasionally posting a question like “I’m thinking about weaning” or “My husband wants to use disposable diapers.” Mothering.com actually refuses to host discussions on formula feeding and disposable diapers because they are focused on natural living. There are also panels of “experts” available to answer your questions about raising children naturally. You’ll notice that, among them, are genital integrity experts (it’s not enough to be just anti-circumcision), a naturopath, attachment parenting experts (these are the baby-wearing people) and an expert on parenting for peace (as opposed to parenting for war?)

Photo via Flickr.

Christa T. Palmer (265 Posts)

Christa T. Palmer is a mother of 2 small children who lives in Colorado. She worked in the corporate world for more than a decade, but she was laid off the day after returning from maternity leave. Since then, she has worked as a freelance writer.