Crunchier Than Thou

I am Crunchier Than Thou.

My family eat a homegrown, raw food diet. My kids don’t even know what McDonald’s is, only that when we cycle past it we sneer, shudder and pray for the lost souls within. We don’t go to children’s birthday parties, lest the little earthlets get hold of -gasp- a crisp, or a slice of non-organic, shop-bought chocolate cake.

You had a c-section? I’m sure it was totally unnecessary. Just last week I orgasmically freebirthed my footling breech quads whilst chanting and riding a unicorn, and it didn’t even hurt.

Placenta encapsulation is for pussies. It doesn’t count unless you eat it raw.

You breastfeed? Well, I bet you’re not as good a breastfeeder as I am. As well as triandem nursing my own kids, I spread the love even further. The other day at the farmers market, I tried to breastfeed some lady’s baby who was crying in one of those infernal strollers. She punched me in the face. Obviously, she is just insecure and defensive about her OWN breastfeeding skills (or lack of). Tsk.

I don’t own a stroller baby restrainer, a crib baby prison, an exersaucer circle of neglect, a TV, any kind of disposable item (toilet paper, tampons, nappies), no plastic has ever touched any of my children’s mouths and I’ll be damned if I don’t make every other mother I come into contact with feel as though she is trying to mess up her children physically and emotionally by doing something different to what I do with mine. I am Crunchier Than Thou. Bow down to my Crunchiness, loyal subjects!

~~~

Ok, that was totally a joke. It’s not meant in any way to offend. I am aware that there are plenty of mamas who follow this blog who eat a completely whole-foods diet and never eat junk food, who co-sleep and breastfeed their kids for many years, and who place a lot of value on birth. Hell, I place a lot of value on gentle birth, extended and tandem breastfeeding, good food and attachment parenting practices.  Nothing that the (probably slightly offensive) stereotype above does is bad in my opinion (except breastfeeding someone else’s kid without their consent), in fact most of it is full of awesome.  Kudos to the women who live a super-crunchy life – it’s not easy in today’s modern world. My beef is with those who take on Crunchy Queen Status and manage to convince themselves that anybody who goes against their grain is trying to kill their babiez.Crunchier Than Thou

After all, surely the reason that we choose this kind of lifestyle is because we believe that it’s what’s best for our families, right? Not because we want something to brag about. There’s nothing wrong with feeling proud that we work hard to make natural and healthy choices – it’s not always easy to do so – but I get so tired of the online crunchy community trying to out-crunchy each other constantly. It’s not all or nothing! We can be natural mamas without subscribing to every. single. item. on the checklist. We co-sleep, but I don’t imagine we’ll do it past around 18 months of age. We don’t vaccinate at present, but that’s not to say that Squishy will never receive a vaccination. We babywear for the majority of the time, but I love our stroller too (and so does Squishy).

Before I get slammed for this post, I know it’s not just crunchy parents who are guilty of this arrogance and competition. Competitiveness is prevalent in parenting, mainstream or otherwise. Equally, defensiveness is rife. However, It seems that nobody can express a differing opinion on a crunchy parent/birthie facbook page without somebody taking it personally. Can’t we all just get along?

Competitiveness and bitchiness will always surface, especially when people feel strongly about something. Particularly in large communities, you are bound to come across extremists who antagonise others by stating that formula is poison/babies who use pacifiers have lazy mothers/caesarean sections are for quitters. Equally, there will always be somebody who gets overly offended when challenged, even if the differing opinion is presented respectfully. We must be compassionate to those who feel they must compete, and to those who are easily offended – both of these attitudes come from places of hurt and insecurity. We are all human beings. We are all mothers.

I think it’s really important to stand up for what we believe in. I love that there are vocal, compassionate and inspirational advocates for the rights of women and their babies, and for the benefits of natural crunchy living. I love that there are people out there who are willing to sacrifice their own time, comfort, and sometimes friends to promote breastfeeding, genital integrity, informed birth choices and alternative medicine. All of these women (and men!) get a big fat thumbs-up from me.

I’m just sick of the comparisons, and of people who seemingly think that their Super Crunchy Status makes them better people. It doesn’t. We are all mothers to babies that we love and adore, regardless of whether they came into the world naturally or via the sunroof, whether they were fed from mothers’ breast or a bottle, and whether they eat nothing but wholesome raw food or whether they enjoy a McFlurry on occasion (as Monkey certainly does. So shoot me!).

There are already too many people in this world who want to victimise, judge and look down their noses at others. Lets not do it to each other. We’re all in this parenting gig together. Be kind to everybody you come across, because everybody is fighting some kind of battle that you won’t be aware of.

The End.

A side note: apologies if this post has been excessively ranty. I’m just at the point where I want to bash certain facebook page owners’ heads together and tell them to get a grip, and give some others a good shake and remind them that it’s MOTHERHOOD, not a freaking competition. But I think I will just settle for ‘unliking’ their pages instead, heh.

 

Image courtesy of Julie Rybarczyk @ flickr


Comments

  1. BAHAHAHAHA…I think I just died laughing.

    Now that I’m back…

    “Be kind to everybody you come across, because everybody is fighting some kind of battle that you won’t be aware of.” – Love it!! :) Totally, 100% agree – and it’s certainly a reminder we can all use every once in awhile. :D

  2. I LOVE this post. So TRUE. Most parents do what they do with the best reasons and intentions and what works for some does not work for all. Love love love this.

  3. I love this post! Thank you for the giggles and the reminder that parenthood is not a competition. I sometimes get jealous or worry that I’m not buying the latest cool gadgets for my kids . :)

    • Oh me too, Teresa, me too! I find myself wishing I could get the fancy-pants stroller (hankering after the Stokke Xplory at the moment), all of the wonderful wooden toys i like for the boys, redecorate their bedroom… but then I just have to remember that those aren’t the things my kids will ultimately judge me for. Time with your kids is a far greater gift.

  4. You really hit the nail on the head. Though there’s one thing you didn’t mention and I wonder if it’s happened to you– this has happened to me three times in the past month– when people THINK I am being “crunchier than thou” when really I have no self-glorifying or judgmental intent in sharing what works for our family.

    Great post!

    • Ah yes, I know what you mean. I was once accused of homebirthing because I wanted to brag about it… yeah, that was annoying. It’s so easy for people to get the wrong end of the stick online. This is why I tend not to get involved with many online discussions. I can’t hack the drama!

      Thanks so much for commenting :)

  5. Very well said!

  6. Brilliant. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  7. Love Love Love it! Such witty insight. You have made my day!

    On that note… I have to admit that I’m not very crunchy… homebirthing, co-sleeper, breastfeeder though I am.

    Wearing my baby gives me such horrible spasms in my neck & back that it takes major adjustment just to get normal again. So we stroll.

    We use cloth diapers during the day, while we are at home. (Not at night, not in town) But we only use them because we are so poor that I can’t afford the convenience of throw-aways.(My friend gave me her hand-me-down cloths.)

    Etc…

    I’m the last to throw stones. We all have to do what works for us and our family. Sure I want to do more… but hey, I’m just trying to keep my sanity while homeschooling 2 big boys, cleaning up after one toddler and helping my 8-mo old cope through teething.

    I don’t compost. So sue me.

  8. margaret says:

    Thank you for writing this. Especially the part about the quads on a unicorn.

    I’ve had to revise my “crunchy” label as of late because I *gasp* had an epidural (after 26+ hours in labor with a posterior baby) and I occasionally eat SUGAR! and it goes on and on.

    • You know, I’m all for natural birth and I’ll always sing its praises but after 26 hours of labour with a sunny-side-up baby, I think I’d be opting for the epidural too! Important things: healthy, happy mother and healthy baby. End of. :)

      • margaret says:

        I’ve been told one of two things when really crunchy folks have read my birth story.

        Either I wasn’t “man” enough and should have just coped another 5-6 hours. Or it was ALL MY MIDWIFE’S FAULT for supposedly not having G-d like powers to magically make my stubborn baby rotate. Apparently hands and knees positioning, chiropractics and accupuncture all were not “enough”.

        I get really mad and hurt when they bash my midwife without having been there, seen me, and not even having ever MET her.

        • That’s such a shame :( It’s no wonder that natural childbirth advocate – types get a bad rep for being judgy and holier-than-thou. Sometimes things just don’t go to plan, and there’s nobody to blame. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with that crap.

  9. I definitely appreciated this post. Yay for balance! When I start to get judgemental and up on my high horse, which I am bound to do now and then, it helps me to remember I could very easily get it from either side since I’m only quasi-crunchy (I had never even heard that term until about 3 days ago!). When I think, “What? No vaccines? These people are crazy!” I remember that a year ago “these people” were the ones who slept with and ‘wore’ their babies, oh wait, now that’s me. And when I want to feel holier-than-thou toward people who would never think to sleep with their baby, I remember all the people who would look down at me for using disposable diapers.
    Anyway, thank you for sharing some nice balance and bashing on the bashers. :) And for some nice laughs at the same time.

    • Quasi-crunchy! I love it! Totally describes me, too. For the record, I think it’s really awesome that you so freely ‘admit’ to getting on your high horse at times, lol. I do, too, and to be honest I think that anyone who says they don’t is probably lying! Judgement is natural, it’s how we deal with it that counts ;)

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