This week, I came across the term “crunchy parenting” for the first time, referring to hippy parenting (“crunchy” like granola!) As far as I can fathom, crunchy parenting may include, but is not limited to, breastfeeding (especially over the age of one,) co-sleeping, cloth nappying, buying organic, babywearing, not using cry-it-out, baby led weaning, homebirthing, homeschooling, and possibly some form of vegetarianism or veganism.
Having just started using Twitter, I am amazed at the amount of people whose bio basically repeats the list above. I think that’s amazing, and I can’t imagine how much effort goes into maintaining that sort of lifestyle. I have always thought of myself as a hippy sort of soul, but when it comes down to the everyday stuff, I am fairly mainstream, to be honest. So, just for fun, I am going to formulate a quiz, and try and place myself somewhere on the continuum of crunchy, and the opposite, which I shall call “chewy.” Let’s see where I end up…
Criteria 1- Milk Feeding
I am a breastfeeder, but it always seems weird to me when people congratulate me on it. I’m really really lucky that I’ve never had any soreness, or problems with supply or latch, so it’s just what I’ve always done. I expect to feed past the age of 1 (can’t see the point of giving up when I go back to work, if I am only feeding morning and night.) But I am not adverse to giving the odd formula feed if I’m going out, and am certainly not a militant type that will crusade for everyone to breastfeed, whatever it takes! It’s none of my business. Crunchy score 4/5
Criteria 2: Solid feeding
As I’ve posted before, we are doing baby led weaning, and I love it. I also really love meat, and am definitely not vegetarian. I occasionally buy organic, but not if the price difference is significant. Overall, a bit crunchy, but not much. Crunchy score 3/5
Criteria 3: Attachment Parenting
Ok, time for some confessions. I have used CIO, and it saved my sanity. I have let my baby sleep in my bed, but I didn’t sleep a wink. He was in his own room at 10 weeks. I bought a carrier, and got the straps twisted, forgot about it, and never used it out of the house. I have no intention of home schooling. It surprises me a bit that I haven’ t done any of this stuff, because it sounds like something I would do, it just didn’t turn out that way. I suppose the only way to find out what sort of parent you are is to suck it and see. Crunchy score 1/5
Criteria 4: Nappies
Disposable. Sorry. I never really looked into the eco-friendly options. I really wish I had, but I didn’t. So I am chewy, chewy, chewy, like a treacle toffee. I feel lazy now! Crunchy score 1/5
Criteria 5: Birth choices
I had a hospital birth. I would have liked a water birth, but I was too high risk (more on that another time.) I did just have gas and air though… I sent for an epidural but the baby moved faster than the anaesthetist and it never happened! Next time, I would love a home birth, and I’m reasonably confident that I could handle just gas and air again. It would be lovely to move freely, and not to be strapped to monitors and surrounded by an ever-changing sea of faces. So, my experience has been mainstream, but I wasn’t keen. My ambition for next time is crunchy as hell. Don’t tell the husband though, he thinks we’ve finished at just the one! Crunchy score 4/5
That puts me firmly in the middle, and I bet that most mums are. Kudos to you if can manage to go the extra mile, wash those cloth nappies, and get through those patches of sleeplessness without either sleep training, or going bonkers. Kudos too, if you make confident and balanced choices that make your family happy, and encourage your children to shine- whatever path you take.
I think this highlights the sheer number of decisions parents have to make for the tiny people that depend on them. Quite often it feels like a minefield, but we muddle through. As long as our babies are happy and healthy, we should be proud of the choices we have made, for surely that is the only goal- and there is no easy way to parent!