Thursday, February 17, 2011

So Seattle

From "Are you parenting according to your ZIP code?" by Wendy Fawthrop in The Orange County Register:

"I don’t usually look to Vogue magazine for parenting advice.

But in the January issue, I was stopped by an excerpt from a new book, 'Poser,' by a mother who turned to yoga to quiet her neurotic mothering tendencies. It wasn’t the yoga that prompts me to write this (maybe another time) as much as author Claire Dederer’s mention that the neuroses she was suffering from were particular to her Seattle lifestyle:

'We, the mothers of North Seattle, were consumed with trying to do everything right. Breast-feeding was simply the first item in a long, abstruse to-do list: Cook organic baby food, buy expensive wooden toys, create an enriching home environment, sleep with your child in your bed, ensure that your house was toxin free, use cloth diapers, carry your child in a sling, dress your child in organic fibers … .' And so on. She describes one friend who nurses her toddler son on demand and follows him around the house offering him organic snacks. 'These behaviors were the very essence of Seattle parenting,' she writes. 'Ruthie was, by the lights of our community, an excellent mother. And she was happy.'

I’m not going to get into the merits of any of these practices. What hit me was the packaging of them into a recognizable culture particular to a certain city. It got me thinking – as someone who has lived up and down the coast – about the variations in such 'mom cultures' from city to city."