Hey there! Welcome to the crunchy club.
I'm glad you're here.
No matter where your crunchy path began (or if you're still trying to find it), you're in the right place. We're all doing the best we can for our kids with the information we have at the time.
At least the information we can remember. (We're a little sleep-deprived up in these parts.)
The Meaning of Crunchy Mom
(According to reliable source Urban Dictionary)
There are a lot of reasons parents might be crunchy. Some people started that way. You were raised in a commune? You live in coastal California? The baseline crunch factor is high.
Most of the crunchy parents I know arrived from a research angle. They want to make sure they're minimizing risk and setting their families up for success, and wanting to protect your tiny new baby is a huge motivation for change. That could be with cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, birth plans, or diaper and toy purchases.
Food is a big crunchy gateway. People want to eat more nutrient-dense foods while pregnant, learn more about vitamin and mineral deficiencies, or have a child with a food intolerance or allergy. A lot of lifestyle changes are overwhelming until you're willing to do it for your kids.
Crunchy parenting is a slippery slope. Your friend lends you a book and suddenly you find yourself injecting tea tree oil into your wool dryer balls for a load of organic cloth diapers, wondering how you got here. (Side note: Don't do this! It's a fire hazard. I promise. Oil + heat = 🔥 )
But it doesn't happen all at once. Before babies I lived on white pasta and coffee, took hormonal birth control, and had a cabinet full of pills for cold symptoms. Now, even my husband reaches for the neti pot and asks me where the essential oils are.
What Do You Mean By Semi-Crunchy, Then?
When I got pregnant with my son in 2012, I started to research. Like any modern pregnant lady I dutifully trotted my digital self over to BabyCenter and signed up for my birth club.
O. M. G. You. Guys.
There are some seriously dogmatic people out there, and they flock to BabyCenter like flies to honey laced with cocaine. A few of their articles are helpful, but most left me shaking my head.
I looked up attachment parenting (AP), but Dr. Sears' The Baby Book made me stabby. I wanted a drink, but that was out (or was it? So confusing!). Shouldn't something exist between the choices of "just do what your doctor says" and "only sustainably-raised organic virgin unicorn tears should touch your baby or he will die"?
Despite loving the ideas of babywearing and breastfeeding, I knew I couldn't be the only one looking for some middle ground.
So I decided to make it myself.
I'm a compulsive researcher, so friends who got pregnant after me started asking for my lists, compilations, and spreadsheets. They even sent them to their friends. That's when I decided to create the resource I wish I'd had in the first place.
I'm not here to tell you what to do. I want you to make educated decisions that work for you and your family, not just go along with mainstream advice because that's all you've heard. It's like the argument against abstinence-only education: you should really know what your options are--just in case.
...And that clearly didn't work because you're probably knocked up! (Congrats on your pregnancy, by the way.)
I hope you feel comfortable here. I promise not to kick you in the ribs OR the cervix, so I'm one up on your baby already. You should have enough information to feel confident in your choices about pregnancy and birth, how you and your partner will navigate parenthood, how to feed your baby, and beyond.
How Have My Ideas About Crunchy Parenting Changed Over Time?
I now have 3 kids (currently 8, 4, and 2) and while I've doubled-down on a lot of my ideas, I've let go of a lot, too. Everyone has an amazingly perfect plan for how to parent before they have actual children, myself included. Imaginary children are great!
My real kids are great, but also challenging, and they teach me more every single day. My third baby got snack food way earlier than my first two. My second and third got less TV than my oldest, and they have extremely limited screen time outside of video calls with their grandparents. (I don't think TV itself is bad, it's just not a good fit for my kids. You do you; I'm not here to judge!)
And the more I work with other parents, the more I learn that so much of what impacts us are systems that truly set us up to fail. Being crunchy is less about my individual choices, and more about how we choose to show up in the world to model what community is for our kids.
- I can feed my kids all the organic food I want, but we need to talk about who grew and picked that food, and why people in this abundant world are still hungry.
- I can wear my babies for years in the most beautiful carriers, but that won't guarantee a secure emotional attachment unless I prioritize my own mental health and self-care so that I have the capacity for patience and empathy I want to show them.
- I can let me kids be free-range as much as I want, but my white kids will always be safer than Black kids doing the exact same things.
But always know that there's no test. You don't have to give birth near a creek in the woods or create a Montessori wonderland in your home to be worthy of a semi-crunchy title. We're not meant to do this alone, and I'm glad you're here.
And if you're looking for a like-minded village, join the club!