Sunday, February 26, 2012

I am Crunchy, but......

Welcome to the "I'm a Natural Parent - BUT..." Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.

image credit: Hybrid Rasta Mama- used with her permission
Pretty sure I confessed to all of these, but if not YEP I do them ALL.

I think of myself as a "Crispy" Mama.  Depending upon which friend of mine you ask, my crispness varies.  To my more  mainstream friends I am the crunchiest person they know and they are just waiting for me to announce that we are going "off grid".  To many of my hardcore crunchy mamas I am barely toasty.

It seems, in the world of crunchy parenting, it can quickly morphed into this "how crunchy are you" competition.  Most mamas get thrown into this world by making 1 or 2 crunchy choices and all of a sudden, to their mainstream friends, they are "that mom".  You know, the crunchy free spirited mom flashing peace signs and wearing tie dye.  For me those choices were co-sleeping and breastfeeding past 12 months.  But, once inside this world I quickly realized to most I was just a mildly toasty mama.

Over time my parenting has grown, morphed and shifted.  I have adopted a lot of the crunchy parenting ideals but I am far from the perfect picture of crunchiness.  That's why this carnival appealed to me so much.  I am not shy about confessing my noncrunchy ways, I confess them all the time in passing on this blog while joking that my crunchy street cred just got flushed down the toilet along with my REAL toilet paper.  I am excited to see what my fellow crunchy mama's confess though.

Often I think we are all guilty of putting mommy bloggers on a pedestal.  We tend to envision life in the home as tranquil scenes of picturesque cosleeping, where everyone is dressed in white and sleeps through the night.  Their cloth diapers never have stains, their babies never cry, tempertantrums are an unheard of word (obviously, since they practice every aspect of peaceful parenting perfectly and never loose their cool) and the recycling is always neatly sorted and never overflowing.  Ah, I can't wait to have these images shattered, can you?  Finally, we are all just real people letting it all hang out.

From today on we can all just be MOMS.  No more of all those labels following the title, just moms.  I consider myself a mom, I don't need to list all of my achievements behind that.  I might add a little "loving" before it, I am a "loving mom".  No offense to those who enjoy listing your achievements, I can understand feeling the need to do so.  Especially when you blog, you want to give new readers a sense of who you are.  I have to confess though I often feel like I am trapped in this weird competition where it's no longer good enough to just be a mom or even a "loving mom", instead we have to list all the awesome things we do to prove just how wonderful we are.
No more of the:
"I am Christy, a loving stay home, cosleeping, cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding, baby-lead weaning, baby-lead solids, extended rear facing, home birthing, recycling, mama cloth wearing, unpaper toweling, homeopathic using, non vaccing, home schooling, organic eating, vegan/vegetarian, baby wearing, intactivist, peaceful/attachment parenting, placenta eating, Instinctual mama" <--obviously I do not do ALL of these, I was just trying to list every possible title I could think of to show how overwhelming it can become.   I also do not judge/look down on any of these!

I used to be guilty of doing this, then one day it dawned on me that many may see it as a "I am better than you and here's why" list so I stopped.

So from today on I am Christy, a loving mom.  That's it!

On to my confessions....

I am crunchy but.....

... We are big milk drinkers in our home, we go through milk like it's water.  REAL milk, from a COW!  GASP!!  I can feel the hard core crunchies trying to not loose their lunch right now at the mere thought of real dairy.  Yeah, we like that white stuff from a cow, we go through a gallon every 2 days. 
I tried being a good crunchy and buying Organic, it lasted all of a month.  A reg gallon of milk costs an average of $4.19, we need one about every 2 days.  Organic milk runs (depending upon the brand AND store) $3.89-5.89 for half a gallon.  So doubled the amount we were spending and on a budget as tight as ours, we just can't afford that.
Out of curiosity I tried many milk alternatives.  I didn't do this to replace milk in our diets, even if I wanted to the Hubs would never go for it.  I did it just to try them, I am really into trying new food.  The ONLY one I like is Vanilla Almond Milk.  Coconut milk is "ok", Vanilla Soy Milk tastes fine drinking it but leaves a bitter after taste.  Regular Soy, Chocolate Soy, Chocolate Almond, Rice and Hemp all made me want to gag and throw up.  Especially the Rice and Hemp, by far the worst of what I tried.  If you love any of these milks please do not be offended, we all have different taste buds, they just were not for me.  I also happen to despise onions, doesn't mean I dislike those who enjoy them.  My kids wouldn't even drink the Rice or Hemp, it went down our drain.

... I just can't do family cloth.  I use my hubby as the perfect excuse because he would never go for it, not in a million years but in all honesty I never could do it either.  Again, no offense to those who do it I am envious of you for being able to.  We use reusable everything else when it comes to paper goods.  Cloth diapers, cloth napkins, cloth towels for cleaning and even mama cloth for me (there I go making a list!) but there will always be real, disposable toilet paper in this house.

... We eat fast food.  Its not "frequent" but that's really all perspective isn't it.  We do not do it frequently in our eyes, others may see it differently.  We do some sort of fast food, usually McDonalds or Pizza Hut, once every 4 weeks on average.  We almost always do the Pizza Hut night for Teddy's school (missed the last 2 months because we couldn't afford to eat out that night) and we do Happy Meals about every 4 weeks on a night that they are only $1.99.
If I am being 100% honest we would probably eat out more often if finances allowed for it.  I know it's bad for you but I also get very lazy in the kitchen, I only learned to cook when I absolutely HAD to because we could no longer afford to eat out all the time.

eating a hot dog and drinking Capri Sun at a school activity-I do
not buy these things for our home (in all honesty I do occasionally
buy the 100% juice Capri Sun and Kosher hot dogs but not often)
but I do not tell my kids they can't have them on fun/special
occasions such as this either.

... I also buy prepackaged foods.  In the interest of being honest, I have to confess I still buy many canned/packaged foods.  I am totally freaked out about the ideas of GMO's and fully support transparency and labeling of these products so I can at least TRY better to avoid them.  For now though, we can't afford to buy Organic all the time.  I buy what I can when I can.  I try to be smart and read the labels.  Sometimes I just have to close my eyes and pretend like I never heard of GMO's though.  There are some things I just can't make myself, such as spaghetti sauce, that I just blindly buy and 'hope" it's a good non GMO product (although I am sure it's probably not).
 I cook from scratch a lot, although once again it's mostly out of necessity as we can't afford all the prepackaged convenience stuff.  Sure, I could probably make my own spaghetti sauce but I already have so much on my plate I just don't want to.  Does that make me lazy, call it what you will, I figure at least I am aware and I TRY.  Trying is better than not right?  I sure hope so.  I see it as the same as fast food, all in moderation.  Until we reach a point where they either stop using GMO's (NEVER gonna happen sadly considering it's in 90% of our food supply now) or require clear labeling the best I can do is what I am doing now.
I do plan on utilizing farmers markets a lot more this year, I couldn't before because our van is such a POS I can't drive far.  We will be getting a new one soon though (gotta love tax returns!) and I will be able to drive longer distances without the fear of breaking down and being stranded with 3-4 kids.

... Rounding out the subject of food.  I am a total Soda-a-holic.  I often find myself feeling "superior" to many of my fellow Soda-a-holics in the fact that I "at least" choose soda made with real sugar (as opposed to HFCS or artificial sweeteners) BUT, seriously, does it make that much of a difference?  Especially when I often drink 2-3 a day.  At least when I was drinking the full on HFCS laden Dr. Pepper I only allowed myself 1 everyday/every other day.  I am sure there are plenty of other things in soda that are awful for me.  Shhhhhhh, don't tell me, I do not want to know.

... I am an epic fail as a peaceful parent.  I keep plugging away at it but it's just not working.  I yell, sometimes I yell far too much.  I leave my kids alone in their rooms to throw their tantrums.  I will ground my kids, and have grounded my oldest already from things on an age appropriate level- not allowing him to play video games for a day because he got in trouble at school, that sort of thing.

... We watch TV.  A LOT of TV.  WAY TOO MUCH TV.  I grew up with the TV always on and sadly I am passing that on to my kids.  Something I swore I would never do yet here I am doing it.  I HAVE to have the TV on, even when no one is watching it.  If it's not on I get anxious, it's the craziest addiction I have ever heard of.  I have tried a radio but it's not the same, it doesn't work for me. 

because sometimes this is the only way mama can get anything
done!  I DO NOT let them stand this close, this was a day
they were fighting over who was in who's way.  I kept telling them
to back up.

... I had an epidural, actually I had 3!  I am a big baby when it comes to pain and the idea of giving birth at home both fascinates and terrifies me at the same time.  I am too much of a big baby to ever do it.  I admire, respect and envy those moms who can.  I wish I had their strength but I know myself and I know my body.  I FIGHT the contractions, I just want them to stop.  I don't progress.  I get the epidural and I go from a 2-3 to a 10 in a flash!  Seriously from a 2 to a 10 in less than 2 hours with Kimmy.  I need something that allows me to relax so my body can do what it needs to do.

... I vaccinate my kids.  I do it on a delayed schedule and don't start until 12 months.  At 12 months we only do 1 shot at a time, allowing a few months to pass in between each shot.  By 1 shot I mean 1 round of the typical shot they would give at baby's monthly check ups.  I have yet to find anyone who will do say JUST measles or JUST whooping cough. 
I also do "selective" but the only ones I avoid are the rotovirius, chicken pox and seasonal flu.  I just recently discovered that chicken pox was added into 1 of the group shots so I can't even avoid that anymore.  I imagine they added it in because a lot of parents were skipping it. 
This is what works for MY family.  I chose the best option for my kids and do not judge parents on either end of this debate.  You want to vax your kids on the CDC schedule, more power to you.  You want to skip every single one, more power to you.  This is what I choose for my kids, so more power to me right.

... I was NOT offended, upset, or outraged by the recent viral video of a dad trying to teach his daughter a lesson.  In fact, I secretly (not so secret anymore) rooted for the dad.  Click here if you have not seen it.
Do I think he was right in everything he did, NO.  Personally, as someone who is far too poor to ever even own anything that nice I would NEVER have just shot up a laptop.  I would have sold it for $$ or in the least donated it to someone in need if I no longer wanted my child to have it.  I also do not agree with some of the language he used, such as calling his daughter a "lazy ass', that was totally uncalled for.  I can see his side though and the anger, frustration and hurt I would have felt upon discovering my child had posted something like that about me on FB for all her friends to see.
My approach would have been different, I would not have made a video or as I already stated shot the laptop.  I would have assigned even MORE chores to my child around the house, so that way they could see how hard it really is to keep a house clean.  Then I would have signed them up to volunteer at some animal/homeless shelters and grounded them from all technology for a long time so that they could learn to appreciate the things they have.  That's just me though and I have already confessed I am not the ideal perfect peaceful parent.
I stood behind him from the very first time I saw the video, again not agreeing with it all but the general idea and sentiment behind it of spoiled kids not appreciating what they have, but I like him even more after reading his official response (you can see it here)

... I will ground my kids when they are older and do currently take away things as consequences to their actions.  I see this much different than just a punishment which are typically meant to only shame/harm an individual and have no real learning value to them.  That's my personal view on it, many see it as another form of punishment.  Don't want to pick up your toys, you don't get to play with them for awhile.  I feel this teaches responsibility, again that's MY view.  This goes along with the one above.

... I tell my kids things like "Good Job", "You're Pretty/Handsome" and "I Love You" and never worry I will somehow "screw them up for life" by doing so <-- Yes I recently read (and now I can't find to link of course) a post about how you should tell your kids you LIKE them and not Love them because saying "I love you" is seen as a obligation (or something to that effect) and saying "I like you" is more effective.

... I LOVE Disney movies, Superhero's, Disney Princesses, Cartoon Characters, the color pink and pretty much every other commerical aspect I am "supposed" to shun as a good little crunchy <- said with sarcasm, please no one freak out.  Obviously there are not REAL rules on what you can/cannot like as a crunchy mama but often there seems to be a majority view on these things that they are "bad".

Disney Princesses are a-ok in our home

... Speaking of which we also love Santa in our home.  We do not see it as a "lie" but instead a gift of magic and later on in life a gift of truly understanding giving.  I was so going to write one of those "Why we Believe in Santa" blogs this past Christmas complete with a letter to my kids to someday read them on WHY we did Santa and what I hoped they get out of it.  I planned to include the true story of St. Nicholas and the idea of giving and not receiving, all that good stuff.  Then another blogger posted almost exactly what I planned to write and I scrapped it because I didn't want to look like a copy cat.

...I shop at, DUN DUN DUN, Walmart.  Yep, I admit it.  I live in the sticks and it's Walmart or an over priced grocery store where things are often double the price (and I can't tell you how many times I have bought items from them that have been spoiled/bad/past expiration date by WEEKS!) and on a very tight budget every penny counts.

... I send my kids to public school.  Well, I send my kid I should say, I only have 1 old enough to go to school.  This is 1 area I actually planned to do the opposite in BUT that was before I ended up with 4 so close in age, 1 with SPD.  I just do not have the time I would need to devote to Teddy and it would be unfair to him at this point.

... I do not boycott Nestle.  I do not actively seek their products out either but I never think to actually boycott them.  Bad crunchy!!! Bad crunchy!!!

... I know there is more I planned to include but they are lost to me now so this list will have to do.

Hmmmmm, perhaps it would have been simpler for me to list the crunchy things I DO.  Then again, that would have been me making a "lookie at all the cool things I do" list and the complete opposite of this carnival so perhaps not.

this only ever so slightly toasty mama,

I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that "natural parenting" means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 26 with all the carnival links.)


  1. Dude. You saw how pissed I got this fall at that zoo lady - you can imagine that I sometimes lose my cool with my family ;) I like your idea of just being loving moms!

  2. I 100% refuse to leave Disney in the dust for crunchy cred. I love Disney and feel too often the naysayers just aren't looking at it from the right angle. I'm glad there is another mama out there who I can trust to pass on the Magic. :-)

  3. :) thanks for sharing. I think we all have to choose what "crunchy" things are most important to us, we cant do them all, 100% of the time or we would go crazy.

  4. Good confessions! I think you are right-on in saying that there can be a bit of one-upmanship when it comes to Natural Parenting and it's important to know that none of us are "perfect."

    -Kerry @ City Kids Homeschooling

  5. Your list is AWESOME! This ought to make every mama feel so much better. And I agree...why do we have to be a certain "type" of mom? Can't we all just be MOM? Great list! You are still amazing in my book! ;)

  6. Christy, you are so great. Seriously. I really really loved this list, and admire you for going into detail about discipline. I almost had an anxiety attack submitting mine and all it said was "I like time outs." I like your delineation between punitive and consequence based discipline, which is something I felt but couldn't articulate. I don't punish to shame, I enforce boundaries to teach/guide. I totally agree with you!!
    I try and not pull the experience card with other parents, but when I hear of non punitive approaches (ie, explaining and explaining and teaching with words rather than consequences and words), I think, "They don't have a Matthew." Because they don't. He's solidly attached and emotionally secure and he lies frequently and tests boundaries like they are going out of style. He's not trying to be bad or garner attention, he's just... a boundary tester. (along with lots of learning problems and etc) This will make him one of those cool adults who really live life to the fullest, sky diving and inventing new things and leading people well. But it makes him hard to parent, AND he is kinetic so talkity talking at him just doesn't fit his learning style. AND he had hearing issues and speech/language problems for years so even less with the talkity talk. It is far more effective for me to teach him something, and then after I'm satisfied he knows the information, to enforce with consequences when he pushes those boundaries.

    Without time outs, I'm positive I would lose my temper and do far worse than have him sit on a chair for 3 minutes. ANd I almost deleted that for fear of judgment, but you know what? It's the I'm a Natural Parent BUT.... carnival, so I'm going to leave that in there.


    Thank you for writing this and for participating, it has been amazing to finally feel like I'm not the only one who doesn't fully fit the NP bill. =) You are awesome.

  7. And p.s. the births? You do what you need to do, girl. We all do. =)

  8. Haha!! This is hilarious. And one thing I'm learning about the posts in this carnival is how some of the non-crunchies view us. I never knew we were thought of as crazy as much as just annoying. haha! I guess some of my friends do think of me as *that* mom and I guess I have to be okay with it. Great confessional post and don't worry, we still love you. :)

  9. I love love LOVE the part about Nestle and being "bad crunchy!" That was hilarious.

    And not telling our kids we love them?? WTF? Our generation is going to raise some fucked up youngsters.


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