Conversations with mom friends can be insightful and helpful. Actually, I’ve found my mom friends to be instrumental in my survival throughout this first year of raising my first child. Baby product recommendations, translating various cries, encouragement at crazy hours in the morning, and tips and tricks shared in an effort to lighten the load of raising a child have all proved invaluable to me.
However, I have noticed there is often a shift in tone and direction when certain topics are discussed.
“Crunchiness” is one of them.
There are two camps of mommas who have very devout followers: crunchy and non-crunchy mommas. As we scroll through our newsfeeds and see articles posted on either side of any issue, sometimes it can feel like a battle to not feel judged, insecure, or frustrated. We might witness moms feeding their children a certain way or using certain products and feel intimated to ask questions about it. We don’t want to sound like we are questioning another parent’s decision, or we don’t want to sound stupid because we are not up to date on the latest natural remedy.
We struggle with insecurity, vulnerability and feeling judged about our decisions and then we feel a need to defend them to anyone who may challenge the way we do things. Our children are our hearts living outside of our bodies. We take everything and anything that has to do with them with utmost seriousness (as we should).
But the sensitivity of this subject, in particular, can often hinder productive conversation with each other, especially as we often sit across the table from one another.
This article is not intended to put one type of mom above the other, but instead, my hope is to encourage dialogue and understanding as to why a mom may make certain decisions for her family.
I’ve had moms on either side of the fence anonymously submit questions and answers. I hope reading the responses gives encouragement and insight.
*Vaccines are off limits in this conversation to allow this conversation to be focused on the general topic.*
**The answers expressed by anonymous crunchy moms are the voices of a few, not all. No one mom is the same! While I tried to pick answers that were reflective of the at-large group, it is impossible to represent every mom’s opinion in one answer!**
General Crunchiness Questions:
How do you find reliable sources (not biased) for your research? How do you know which sources to trust?
- I generally look for three things: 1) The article, research, etc. must come from a credible organization.*** Has this organization’s work proved credible over time? How long has this organization been around? 2) Are multiple credible sources confirming the same facts? 3) Does the publishing organization have something to gain from this article/research/book? Does this compromise the accuracy and reliability of the facts? ***Organization can also apply to a scientist or medical professional.
How and why did you first become crunchy?
- I never made a conscious decision to be “crunchy.” I suppose I am considered crunchy because of certain lifestyle decisions my family and I are committed to. Over several years, I have eliminated chemicals from my home and processed foods from my diet because I saw the negative impact they were having on me and my family. I am always learning new things!
Why do you consider yourself crunchy?
- I have never considered myself “crunchy,” but my values definitely align with other “crunchy” mamas … so I guess that makes me crunchy!
What do you wish other non-crunchy moms knew about you?
- I don’t cloth diaper.
- I don’t recycle! Whoops….
How do you and pick and choose which crunchy lifestyles you choose and which you don’t?
- My main focus is about our health. So I weigh things with that in mind. Each family is different, so you have to figure out what works best for you and what you have time for.
- I consider the following questions: 1) Does this lifestyle change help my family or me to thrive? 2) Is this a change that we can maintain WELL with our given resources (time, money, energy)?
- I don’t think I’m a better mom because I do some crunchy things. I also don’t judge other moms, but I do just wish people would do their research and be educated about what’s going in and on their bodies because they really do affect the health of our families.
Is there anything you feel misunderstood about that you’d like to share?
- For me, this is not a “fad”, it is all about the health of my family. I have no desire to make others live life the way we are, but I am very passionate about sharing everything I have learned so that others know and can make their own decisions.
What are some loopholes in being a crunchy mom?
- I only do what works best for my family. That means convenience and cost play a big part in the decisions I make. If it’s not going to have a direct consequence on our health, then why not simplify?
How do you do it all?!
- I definitely don’t do it all! I just try to make the choices for my family that I think is best and for me, that means eliminating as many GMO’s, chemicals, toxins, pesticides etc. that I can!
- I can’t do it all. It’s a good thing for every mom to acknowledge this. However, I do want to make the most of my time and resources, so this requires lots of planning (meal planning, budgeting, scheduling, etc.).
- I would say start out slow, pick something and start doing it, and you will be surprised how easy it becomes, and then you are ready to add in something else! You just have to take it one step at a time. It’s really not as time-consuming as you would think.
What’s the most time-consuming part of being a crunchy mom?
- I spend a big part of my day prepping, serving and cleaning up meals and snacks. My husband and I believe that a balanced diet has a big impact on every aspect of our lives (physical, emotional, spiritual), so I prioritize meal planning and prepping.
- At times it seems like all the research. Making things does take up time but honestly, I don’t feel like it is too hard or takes up too much time. It’s also fun to get the kids involved in helping make these things. They are learning a very important skill and also getting one on one time with mommy.
Do you judge the way I feed my kids/family?
- Absolutely not! I don’t want to be told how to raise my children so I wouldn’t ever force my ways on others. But what I have come to find is that most people don’t even realize the toxins they are consuming and exposed to every day. So I love sharing what I have come to find with others and then let them do what they want with that. I feel that some moms may not want to know so that they don’t have to have any guilt in the choices they have made. I say don’t let that guilt scare you! There is no need for feeling guilty about decisions you made when you didn’t know the risks or potential harms. It’s never too late to start making changes!
- I feel VERY strongly about encouraging every mom to steward their families well, and I firmly believe that each mama knows what best for HER family. There are enough stressors on us moms, worrying about what someone else thinks should not be one of them.
Why do you think there is often tension when crunchy lifestyles (and aspects of it) are discussed?
- Is there anything more personal than our spouse and children? Us moms take our role as caretaker, home-manager, and nurturer seriously. We take it personally if someone challenges the wisdom with which we care for our family. Also, I think pride plays a big role in this. It’s easy to become prideful in something we believe we are doing well, and that can make other women feel belittled.
Would you eat food at my house if I invited you over? Even though it’s not organic, etc.? Why or why not?
- Absolutely! The blessing of fellowshipping and building relationships trumps all-natural and organic. We are honored to be invited into someone’s home. If I am invited to share a meal with you, I will gladly bring the pizza or ice cream!
Do you feel like you have to sacrifice time with your kids in order to prepare organic foods?
- Definitely not! Kids can help! Plus, you are showing them how important health is and that taking time to prepare a healthy home cooked meal is so important.
- This is where prioritizing takes over. My son needs an engaged mom more than he needs a perfectly balanced diet. However, I want to incorporate my children in the preparation of our food, so that they can develop a healthy understanding of a holistic diet and (hopefully) continue caring for their bodies even after leaving my home.
- Not at all! It’s super easy and fast to cook with whole organic foods!
Do you ever cheat and eat non-crunchy?
- Yes, of course, but not very often. And the more I learn the less I want to “cheat.” For me, things are turning from “I can’t have that” to “I don’t want that!” So eating things I know isn’t good for us is becoming harder and harder. Also knowing that we are “voting” with our money on the things we buy and eat so I want them to be healthy choices so that more healthy choices will become available (like they are!).
- For sure! My husband’s grandmother is a wonderful cook, but there is nothing clean or all-natural about her cooking! However, the time we spend sharing a meal with our family is a treasure and a worthy exception to our nutritional preferences.
- Yes! It’s really hard. Especially when you go out to eat or go to friends’ houses that don’t eat the way we do. We try to limit our eating out and try to make some of those (nights out) Chipotle because they are non-GMO.
Summing it all up
In my experience, crunchy moms are just doing what they think is best for their family and following a set of values they feel led toward. They’ve committed themselves to this lifestyle because of a personal conviction and dedication to doing what they think is best for their family. They’re not out to convert you or make you jealous or feel judged – they’re just doing what they think is best. Aren’t we all just trying to do our best?!
As mommas, when we strip off the labels we so easily assign to each other, we can see through a clearer lens. And, most likely, what we will see is another woman who is trying her hardest to parent the best that she can. I think we all have a desire for authentic and meaningful friendships not based on agreeing on everything.
I hope that these answers encourage you to lovingly and respectfully ask “why” when you are genuinely curious or have maybe felt hurt by a statement made by a friend. Crunchy or non-crunchy mommas, let’s continue breaking walls, opening dialogue, and figuring out how to best support and encourage one another!