Semi Crunchy Mama
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About

Congratulations and welcome! If you're here, you're probably somewhere on your journey of parenthood.

I am a coach, teacher, and Semi Crunchy Mama to two boys who challenge me to be better every day.

My family, 2017, by Jenn Cress

Necessity is the mother of invention, and I was the mother of a high-needs baby while my husband worked long hours. I half-joke that since my oldest never slept, I just read the whole internet since I was awake anyway.

I felt unprepared to keep this tiny human alive.

I had spent my pregnancy happily researching The Right Way to Birth -- and that part actually went well. Then I came out the other side in a mushy foreign-feeling body and a perfectionist heart crushed by the realities of parenting a real child.

I felt betrayed by pithy mommy blog articles about getting your baby to sleep through the night at 6 weeks old that made me think I was doing something wrong. I felt like a Terrible Mom (possibly The Worst Thing You Can Be) for not being able to “make” my baby sleep, and guilty for not cherishing every moment of my sleep-deprived zombie state.

The problem was that I either found very mainstream info that wouldn't work for me, or such a high standard of crunchiness that no one was ever good enough.

Once I accepted that nothing was ever “enough,” and no one can be a perfect parent, I felt free. So much of life is found in the gray area between the two, and I wanted to find —or create—that space.

We have the power and responsibility to shape the next generation.
We can follow evidence based practices but also use natural remedies when they’re just as (if not more) effective.
We can demand better health outcomes for all mothers and babies.
We can learn from others’ experiences without judging.
We can normalize the struggles of modern parenting and lift each other up.
We can put down our weaponized words because the Mommy Wars are manufactured to keep us arguing amongst ourselves instead of changing policies that punish families.
We can parent in a way that feels intuitive and right, even if our parents and/or friends do it differently.

I’m a coach for new parents, but I don’t teach people to parent better—I support them to be their best selves and thus better parents.

I’m not a parenting expert. What I am is an expert at supporting parents to make informed decisions and feel less stressed about their lives.

I’m a Midwestern girl, now a California transplant. I grew up in the place regularly ranked The Best Place in the U.S. to Raise Kids, but gave birth to my own children in a coastal desert. I miss rain; I do not miss winter.

When my husband and I moved, I changed careers from theatrical stage management (I was professionally bossy, and good at it) to health coaching for the flexibility and fulfillment it offered. When I was pregnant with my first child, people said, “Oh, now you’ll work with moms!” And I said, “What? No! What do I know about being a mom?”

Us in 2014, photo by Chris Wojdak



Here I am: a few years later, much more sleep-deprived, and working with parents.

I have learned a lot about being a mom, though. I always said I’m grateful that I was a coach first so I did all that personal development work before I had kids. But now I know the biggest secret of parenthood.

My path started with devouring books about child birth, attachment parenting (I hated The Baby Book), then breastfeeding, baby wearing, down the crunchy rabbit hole I went. I read Dr. Laura Markham and Dr. Lawrence Cohen, and they greatly influenced how I interact with my kids. Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting rocked my world (and made me a little mad at my parents). I struggle with the problematic parts of the Continuum Concept, but appreciate the perspective.

With a health coaching background, feeding my kids was an area of particular interest.

Just like my coaching practice, food was the gateway into everything. I found Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding that resonated so much with the work I did with adults. Body autonomy and respect were unspoken but intertwined with food. I heard about the concept of baby led weaning when my oldest was brand new. I explained it to so many people that I created a class which I’ve taught monthly for almost 2 years.

I’ve been an admin for the Badass Breastfeeders of San Diego Facebook group for almost 4 years. The San Diego Union Tribune has featured me twice, and I was a contributing writer for Spark magazine in Pittsburgh.

I’m an obsessive researcher and compulsively helpful. As a former theatrical stage manager, I’m detail oriented to a fault. Since my oldest son barely slept, neither did I, so I read everything I could about babies. I lost myself in the haze of new motherhood and it took me 2 years to pull myself out. I emerged from the haze feeling like Frodo leaving Mordor, and committed to supporting other parents so they didn’t feel like I had.

I believe we are doing the best we can with what is available to us at the time.
I believe that parenting is 20% what our kids do, 80% how we respond to it.
I believe that there is no ONE “right” way, we just need the information to make an educated decision. 

I believe that every family is unique and valid.
I believe we all need a village, and that village is inclusive and diverse.

My family in late 2015, photo by Chris Wodjak

HOW TO WORK WITH ME

I offer in-person classes in San Diego on feeding infants, toddlers, and the spirits of mothers.

I have online courses for download at your convenience, pants optional.

I coach mothers anywhere in the world. I want you to feed your family with confidence and feed your soul so you can thrive.

HOW TO CONNECT


You can join my community on Facebook, follow my page for resources that align with my work, say hello on Twitter, or peek into my daily life on Instagram.

If you made it this far, I’d love to connect.

Check out my upcoming events here. Need a little pick-me-up? Try my Semi Crunchy Mama Bot for Facebook Messenger. It’s fun, I promise!

Let’s raise kids who have it better than we did by becoming our best selves. Who’s with me?

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