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What it takes to be a mom

June 17, 2004

As an early development specialist, I'm heartened to read about hipster mamas practicing attachment with their children and fashioning parenthood to fit them ["Moms and Babes," June 10], but let's not throw the baby out with the pastel wallpaper border!

What children need to thrive has less to do with their moms' eyebrow piercings and design sense and more to do with whether those moms are reassuringly authoritative, adult parental figures. Buddying up with our kids -- dancing alike, talking alike, wearing T-shirts with hiply ironic slogans alike -- undermines them in countless ways. (By the way, irony is poison to the young child, whose natural reverence needs to be supported so that his or her continuing interest in life and learning flourishes.)

The most radical, countercultural thing that progressive moms could do also would be one of the best for their children's well-being: Kill their TV!

Marcy Axness

Granada Hills

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The alt-moms deserve praise for their efforts to spend more time with their own children than the last generation did with theirs. However, these independent thinkers have not been able to throw off one dubious legacy of the '80s: the baby as fashion accessory. Perhaps it is inevitable that, until they are old enough to object, children are used as billboards for their parents' cultural values. Fortunately, babies' innate charm transcends whatever uniform their parents dress them in, whether it be Laura Ashley prints or edgy punk T-shirts.

Stephanie Osborne

Lakewood

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It seems the only defining characteristics of the hipster alt-mom are tattoos and black nail polish. Without those, she is no different than the many Westside mommies who also buy into the work or baby binary.

Is there really a difference between opening a baby boutique in Los Feliz or on Montana Avenue? The truth is, most moms do not have the luxury of choosing whether or not to work; it is just a fact of life.

Emily Arms

Santa Monica

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The piece on the lifestyle of the hipster moms falls into that category of "who cares?"

Where they live is not the "Eastside." The real Eastside is and always has been east of the Los Angeles River, not east of La Cienega. The real "Eastside" is an area where I doubt these trendy, tattooed moms would ever venture because of its ethnic diversity. An article on the real, untrendy, untattooed Eastside moms, who often must raise their children against unspeakable odds of poverty, gangs, discrimination and injustice, would be a far more important piece than the pitiful one that you published.

These women should grow up, recognize they are mothers and not embarrass themselves trying to keep up with trendy younger women.

Donald A. Bentley

La Puente

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