Often on the social media circuit, I hear natural moms complaining that mainstream parents and elders don’t “get” their choices. And while I do sympathize with that position (yes, I’ve been there, too), there seems to be an elephant in the room.
That elephant, my fabulous crunchy friends, is we.
Before diving deeper, let me be the first to admit that I have gone there. I’ve been “that” annoying “other-mothering” parent who has preached to new and expecting moms about the benefits of breastfeeding, baby-wearing, cloth diapering, and natural food choices. I’ve been the one who sends obnoxious links to anti-vax articles, “no spanking” columns, and research sites about co-sleeping.
On the spectrum, I must actually fall somewhere right between traditional and progressive parenting. Most of us do fall somewhere in the middle. We’d either be the Jetsons family or cave-dwellers, otherwise. We choose methods and means that benefit us and our families’ best. There is a chance that you really tip the scale in the granola-direction if you’re barefooted in a tent right now, but I’m guessing you’re not. (That was a joke).
You see, I think it’s important to keep a sense of humor and reality when you’re a crunchy mom. I often find myself on the receiving end of advice from other crunchy moms, and sometimes it’s downright hurtful, (though I know none of them mean it)! There is always someone out there who is more “crunchy” than I. There is always someone with way more energy, more time, and more money to spend on perfectly parenting their children. But when someone points out that you “should” be doing something “better,” i.e., differently than you’re doing it now, it sort-of breaks a mom’s heart. None of us want to hurt our kids, and would never do so intentionally.
Unfortunately, most of us live on limited budgets, limited time, limited space, and limited sleep! We rush from place-to-place in our yoga pants, prepare whatever food items are quick and affordable, attend to our children’s most urgent needs, and just barely keep up with life. We’re lucky if we have time to prepare healthy foods, let alone research natural parenting topics. And those of us who suffer from chronic illness? Well, there’s not enough time or energy left in the day to take care of ourselves!
Recently, I asked some of my closest crunchy mom friends to tell me about some hurtful things other crunchy moms have said or done. This question brought up some seriously strong emotions in some of them. Here are some examples they shared with me:
- Receiving advice that natural modalities such as chiropractic or aromatherapy can cure anything.
- A crunchy friend “just didn’t understand how that non-AP method worked,” (suggesting that her crunchy friend wasn’t crunchy enough).
- Losing long-term friendships with moms who clothe or feed their children a certain way, in “fear” that their children will come in contact with the items ore methods in question (with the exception of allergies, of course), when playing with their own children.
- Moms constantly “preaching to the choir” about AP-ing and other parenting issues, posting endless links and advice on social media about the same topics over and over.
- Moms criticizing others about their birthing choices, regardless of health and risk status.
- Formula shaming: Either adoptive moms or those unable to breastfeed are criticized.
- Stroller hate: Moms saying “I feel sorry for your baby,” to another mom with a health issue that did not allow for baby-wearing.
These are just a few
So, let’s all do ourselves a favor. Let’s give each other a break and remove the guilt and other-mothering that comes with being crunchy. We love this way of parenting and should be doing everything we can to keep it welcoming for everyone.
This is my vow. Will you take it along with me?
I, Rose Hollo, Crunchy Mom, vow to:
- Only offer advice when it is solicited
- Live by example, not by preaching
- Remember we’re all human (nobody is perfect)
- Support other moms’ decisions even when they’re different from my own
- Take all advice with a grain of salt and an extra-large dose of humor
What would you add to the Crunchy Mom’s Vow? Please comment below.