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.
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.
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.