Back to Nature or Back in Time?

“And on the flip side of that,” she continued, “as a mother who has not chosen cloth naps, sometimes I’ve felt self-conscious amongst groups of women changing washable diapers when I am not. Is it possible that within this culture of wanting to be as ethical as possible there is an air of snobbery?”

And then there’s the question of family harmony. If your partner and extended family are completely onboard with your green choices that is fantastic; but if not are the tension and arguments caused by extra work and clashing ideologies worth it? For mums or dads in this situation it is an agonizing call to make.

It is not the breastfeeding and homemade baby food that ties a woman to the hearth – it is the lack of support. Going back-to-nature involves going back to community, so a woman isn’t left alone to deal with a screaming baby and a chaotic house.

Personally, I’d shy away from condemning Badinter’s words outright. She is gunning for women, ensuring that we are never again trapped into the identikit role of ‘the fifties housewife’. “I am warning young women about the return of a back-to-nature ideology, of the danger of choosing to become wives tied to the hearth,” she says.

Sadly though, I think she’s missed the point. It is not the breastfeeding and homemade baby food that ties a woman to the hearth – it is the lack of support. Going back-to-nature involves going back to community, so a woman isn’t left alone to deal with a screaming baby and a chaotic house. In an ideal world we would all have the support we need to be ethical in every way, meanwhile let’s do the best we can and forgive ourselves and others for not being perfect!


To read an interview with Elisabeth Badinter go HERE.

Composting naps: http://www.envirocomp.co.nz/

Le conflit: La femme et la mere, Elisabeth Badinter

Parenting for a Peaceful World, Robin Grille

Photography: Brandi Johnson – Kindred Photographer

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