by Kate Petruchionis
1. Shop at a Thrift Store. This may seem obvious, but thrift stores not only supply great vintage finds for you and your hipster-man, but they are also a great way to clothe your little mini-hipsters. My husband and I have purchased four articles of clothing brand new for our two daughters combined in the two years since they were born. All the rest of their many, many clothes have either been hand-me-downs or thrifted.
2. Stay at Home. This is a great way to embrace both your hipsterism and your conservatism. Staying at home provides so many opportunities for developing independence and creativity; and it’s certainly a sturdy bit of conservative tradition. But for the hipster generation, staying at home with the kids is definitely not mainstream. All the women our age are going to work and waiting for kids.
3. Ditch the contact lenses. As a stay-at-home mom, you really don’t have time for contact lenses anyway. Go ahead and wear those big glasses proudly. And if you’re like me, you can’t drive without your glasses, so you never can wear sunglasses. But it’s okay; think of all the money you save not having to buy name-brand sunglasses! Contact lenses are not nearly as traditional as REAL glasses and they’re definitely too mainstream to be worn by a real hipster.
4. Let your kids listen to your music. Nobody really likes “kids” music anyway; I remember being a kid and not liking it. Just give them the good stuff. My two-year-old’s favorite song right now is “Ho-Hey” from the Lumineers. This might be because I pick her up and swing her back and forth when we hear it, so maybe it’s just the swinging that she likes. But I like to think it’s her great taste in music. Traditional music—folk and classical—is a great way to give that conservative change-resisting bent to your kids. They can listen to the same music their grandparents listened to while looking askance at “radio music”.
5. Read them real books. You like being well-read; read them classic children’s literature too! Trust me, the good ones have stuck around because they can stand being read over and over and over and over. Some of the others we hide away in the closet because my husband and I can’t handle reading them one more time, for a few weeks, at any rate. Hilaire Belloc wrote some great pieces of sarcastically witty children’s literature. And reading Belloc to your kids will set them up for reading The Servile State when they’re more independent readers; a great bit of intellectual conservatism that is too neglected in our mainstream capitalist society.
6. Embrace the mom-hair. If you’re staying at home, you’re probably looking for ways to trim your budget anyway. Learn how to do haircuts and styling at home. I’ve had one “store-bought” haircut in the last three years. It is possible to layer your own hair, especially if you style in the messy waves department; slight unevenness only adds to the careless look. Better yet, give capitalism the wave-off and barter for your haircuts. Know another stay-at-home mom who is better at cutting hair than you? Trade for something you’re good at. Chances are she would like to have something you can do, too.
7. Give your kids non-mainstream gadgets too. Baby gear is a total racket. The one piece of baby gear you absolutely must have: something to wear your baby. My two-year old still likes being worn (and she’s over three-feet tall, so if you have big kids, make sure it’s comfortable) and my four-month-old has enjoyed it nearly her whole life. You can make your own, buy an organic one, or buy one from the many Etsy moms who make them at home. Most of the mainstream baby things are a waste of money, take up too much space in the house, and fuel the radical consumerism that has taken over American culture. Besides, what could be more traditionally conservative than baby-wearing and wooden toys and rag dolls?
8. Wear layers and prints. Again, this is perfect for moms who are hipsters; the first outfit you put on in the day will probably get jelly stains, spit-up puddles, or craft project paint from that old thrift store furniture you’re refinishing. So go ahead and wear something that you can mix and match (or mismatch) by the end of the day. You’ll save a lot of time by not having to change your entire outfit. This applies to the mini-hipsters as well. They do not limit their messes to mom’s shoulders; their own clothes fall prey as well.
9. Wear scarves. It’s like a bib, only for the fashion-conscious. Better yet, make scarves for the whole family. And this “bib” will enable you to keep wearing your favorite thrift-store finds a little longer by covering up all those stains. (This is equally applicable to the hipster-mom as well as the mini-hipster.)
10. Wear skinny jeans. Whatever you do, don’t wear mom jeans! If you do, don’t worry; you can use the denim to make some cool Pinterest projects. And moms still want Pinterest even if it has gone mainstream. If you can’t do the skinny jeans, just find some that don’t give you the mom-jeans look. They might be a little less than conservative, but you wouldn’t be a hipster without them!