As if society isn’t competitive or insensitive enough, there are labels for moms who use particular methods or products to raise their children. Aye ei ei. A few days ago, while talking to another mom whose children are grown (two are married and the youngest graduates from college next spring), we got to talking about all things babies, parenting, feeding, diapering, etc. She was amazed to hear of all the advances and conveniences in baby products and I sat in awesome wonder and listened to her sage advice and life experiences. Before we parted ways, she made a comment that both shocked and surprised me, “So it sounds like, Nicole, you’re in the middle of the spectrum between crunchy and silky.” I’m sure my facial expression caught her off guard as much as her statement did me, but in my typical happy-go-lucky way, I laughed and asked honestly, “What on earth are you talking about?!” I genuinely had no idea what she was referring to but I had a hard time believing it had anything to do with the ‘crunchy’ granola bars I eat on occasion or Silk soy milk I drink! She gave me a tight squeeze and replied, “Google it later, I think it’s great you’re a little of both.” Of course, as soon as Kamden went down for a nap that afternoon, I fired up the laptop and typed “crunchy mom” in the Google search bar. There were only 11.6 million results – obviously I had some reading to do! Turns out, there is an entire community of people choosing and living the “crunchy” way just like there are families choosing to be more “silky” too. After some light-hearted reading, I think my friend is right. Husband and I are double-dipping, using a few things crunchy and being a little silky too. We’re right in the middle. Fortunately (or unfortunately?), there’s a nice label for folks like us too: we’re scrunchies. (I thought those were hair ties that I wore in the 90s! Are they coming back in style?)
What is a CRUNCHY mom?
A crunch mom has an all-natural mindset and most likely associates with natural birthing, home-birthing, placenta encapsulating, breastfeeding, babywearing, baby-led weaning, cloth diapering, gentle discipline, chickenpox parties, ECing (elimination communication), co-sleeping, bed sharing, anti-vaccinating, anti-circumcision, attachment parenting, homeschooling, natural medicine, essential oils, gardening, natural living and cleaning, organic eating, recycling, and crafting.
Okay, first of all, I’ve heard of women doing strange things with their placentas after birth (including encapsulating) for health benefits, and supposedly it helps with breast milk supply, but that is totally not my style. I was fascinated by my placenta for about two seconds after Kamden was born. I wanted to see it to say I saw it and Whitney (our birth photographer) even snapped a picture of it. Don’t worry, that picture won’t be shared publicly. Second, what does elimination communication even mean? I don’t have a clue. (Okay, I Google’d that too and it’s a method of infant potty training. Basically, parents watch for cues that their baby needs to go and they don’t use diapers. Obviously, this not does apply to our family either!) Third, I also Google’d chickenpox parties and my jaw hit the floor. Let’s just say I’m not a fan and I will kindly decline an offer to attend one if the opportunity presents itself. Geez Louise.
What is a SILKY mom?
A silky mom is often referred to as modern and relies on convenient, conventional methods and products.
Here’s where I am on the crunchy/silky spectrum: I had a hospital birth, including a dose of Pitocin to induce labor, and an epidural. I nursed (breast fed) Kamden for a while before I began pumping exclusively. We’ve used Dr. Brown’s (albeit BPA-free) bottles from the beginning. I’m new to essential oils, but I use them, diffuse them, ingest them, and apply them directly to skin. I’ve made a few homemade cleaning products, but I still keep Clorox, Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, and Dawn soap in the cabinet. Kamden drinks breast milk, water (filtered from the fridge), and organic whole milk with DHA. I made some homemade baby food (purees) but, at the time, Kamden didn’t like eating from a spoon. Nowadays, he likes bananas (not organic), Cheerios (not organic), whole wheat bread or Mommy’s homemade yeast rolls (not organic), Goldfish (baked but not organic), Puffs (organic), yogurt (organic), and a green bean or carrot (not organic) when we can sneak them in his mouth. We use disposable diapers and wipes. The stroller is a must because Kamden is 26-plus pounds of deliciousness and too heavy to carry all the time. Kamden was circumcised at birth and has received all appropriate vaccines, including a flu shot. He finds crumbs on the floor and eats them, and I don’t always stop him. I love my front-load washer and dryer and I’m a devoted Tide HE detergent user. You’ll only find Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper in our home. Kamden slept in a Pack-N-Play in our bedroom for one month, then we moved him into his own bedroom where he slept in his crib and we all started sleeping through the night again. I won’t deny that there have been a FEW instances where we have slept together in the same bed or on the couch for a nap, but we do not co-sleep or bed-share. I like sharing a bed with one guy and one guy only: Husband. While my Camry is not as eco-friendly as a Prius, I have no shame about wanting a large SUV or crew cab pickup truck. I regularly wash my hair with shampoo and wear deodorant daily. I could maintain a chicken coop or garden, but I’m lazy. Kamden watches TV, particularly Looney Tunes (the original one) and Wheel of Fortune on a daily basis.
Before someone gets their tinsel in a tangle, I’m not saying being crunchy is wrong as much as I’m saying it’s not right for our family. But neither is silky, which is why I/we use a little of both and sit happily on the fence. I’m just a mom doing and trying my best. I love Kamden and Husband so much it hurts and my eyes light up when one or both of them enter a room. I have friends who are really crunchy and some who are extra silky. We can agree to disagree on things and keep on keeping on. I also have friends who, like me, are a little of both. We share some common ground, making it easier to talk about issues or bounce ideas off each other. Regardless, I don’t care if I’m labeled as crunchy, silky, scrunchie, or chewy as long as I am NOT labeled as judgmental. Being a mom is hard enough, I don’t want to add more difficulty and petty drama to someone’s life. I don’t care if you formula feed or give your kid jarred baby food or use cloth diapers. More power to you, in whatever you choose!
But I have to ask, if you’re a parent, are you more crunchy or silky or a little of both?!