What crunchy ISN’T…

Last year I described what crunchy meant. My family calls me “the hippie one”, some people say granola, and I’ve heard allusions to attachment parenting. Basically, crunchy is a lifestyle where you may or may not eat all organic (I don’t!), cloth diaper (not anymore but a huge CD enthusiast!), breastfeed, babywear, make your own baby food, natural and/or homebirth, stuff like that!

Here’s the thing, though. Crunchy is NOT supposed to be synonymous with judgmental. When I say I’m crunchy, I am NOT saying that you suck if you don’t do what I do. That would be pretty terrible and I would be more a jerkface than crunchy. Now, to the “crunchy community” I’m really not that crunchy but to everybody else, just admitting you’ve consumed your placenta gets you the crunchy label! So you might be wondering why I label myself at all.

Sometimes I say it almost as a warning: “Just so you know, I’m into some alternative things that might seem pretty odd to you.” Sometimes it’s because I’m trying to find someone like-minded that I can sponge advice off of because they can tell me what is best to get doodie stains out of my cloth diapers (sunning!) or how to kick my cold quickly without having to lug myself to a doctor. I called myself “The Crunchy Mom Next Door” because I wanted to say I’m just like anybody else, just with some alternative ways.

The thing about thinking you’re better than someone is that the minute you think it, you aren’t. The better person wouldn’t be comparing themselves to those around them. The “mommy wars” (I’ve always hated that title) are like that. If you’re engaging in this kind of combat with your sisters, your fellow women, you’re teaching it to your children. My two older girls were constantly competing with each other. At breakfast, lunch, getting into the car, getting dressed for bed, everything was a contest to be won. I explained to them that by dividing themselves and working against each other, they were giving no time to grow together as sisters and someday they’d regret that. They have since stopped competing and on the occasions where one tries to start up, the other reminds her that it’s a bad idea.

Another good example of how competition affects bonds would be my sister and I. Always trying to win the affection of our dad, we would constantly be trying to one up each other. There is no time to develop a relationship when you are trying to be better, faster, stronger, smarter, prettier, the list goes on. At 21 years old, my dad told me that she’d defended something bad she did by talking about something bad I did and BAM! I finally realized it. This competition was ruining our relationship, we were always focusing on each other’s flaws and seeking to destroy each other to get to this invisible and pointless pedestal. Ever since, we have never taken the bait and we have loved each other through whatever life has brought to us. Through the mistakes, through the accomplishments, through the good and the bad.

How a mother feeds her child, whether she works in or out of the home, if she births her child through cesarean or at home in a tub, why do these have to be competitions? First of all, most of them are already done so nothing is changing except the way you’re making the other person feel. Secondly, why can’t we just have faith that a mother is doing what she believes is best for her child and be proud of her for trying to be the best mom she can be? I think that’s what defines a good mommy, personally, someone who does what she feels is in the best interest of her child and family.

We should be encouraging and supporting each other in every way we know how. You know how difficult it can be to make any decisions as a parent, so how can you ridicule someone for not making the same ones that you did?

The bottom line to my post is please, don’t think that I’m judging anybody else’s lifestyle because of my own. I’m a bit alternative but that doesn’t change the way I feel about anybody else around me. I couldn’t tell you which of my friends feed their babies with what and whether or not their babies shared their beds or slept in a crib. It’s just not worth it to waste your time competing when you could be learning from each other and bonding with your fellow moms over all of the things you do have in common. In the mommy wars, nobody wins. Nobody gets a cookie for doing it “right” and there really is no right way to do anything, with every family’s unique situation. I’m not singing Kumbaya to be cliché, I genuinely believe that the best way to live life is by making friends and being happy. You’ll see that this will be the general idea of many of my posts! I live happy for a reason, I’m worth listening to! 🙂

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