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Being “Semi-Crunchy” Doesn’t Make You Special

admin February 12, 2016

Being Semi-Crunchy Doesn't Make You Special

I’ll admit, this post is born of frustration.  But, with good reason, I think.

There’s a subset of “crunchy” moms who sometimes drive me crazy.  They are not, as always, the moms who say “this is what works for me.”  I absolutely support any mama for finding her vibe, for making the choices that really work for her, for ignoring labels and groups and just doing her.  That is not what this is about.

No, this is about a certain group of moms, moms who would probably describe themselves as “semi-crunchy,” who actually go around bragging about how smart they are because they’re crunchy…ish.  That is, they embrace some aspects of crunchy, but they’re also “smart enough” to trust the mainstream, or scientists, on certain topics.  They’re condescending about how this makes them better than all those too-crunchy, natural-or-bust moms (which is how they perceive us).

That.  That condescending, “I know better than you stupid natural mamas” is what drives me insane.

Being “Semi-Crunchy” Doesn’t Make You Special

As I said, whatever works for them.  Cool.

But, semi-crunchy mamas?  You’re not special.

Here’s what I’m talking about (and I’m not quoting anyone here; these are just examples of things I have read):

I totally love crunchy and natural.  I mean, I had my baby without an epidural.  I breastfeed.  I cloth diaper.  But I also vaccinate.  I’m smart enough to know that doctors and modern science aren’t the enemy.  I vaccinate my baby because I know that is the best thing.  The ‘crunchy’ is so backwards on this issue.

Look, natural remedies are great.  I’m happy to use a spoonful of honey for a minor cough.  But if my kid has a fever, or an ear infection, I’m going to use ‘real’ medicine to get it down, or call a doctor for antibiotics.  I love my baby, and I wouldn’t let him suffer like that.  Save the experiments for yourself.

I think natural birth is great.  I had one, in the hospital, with a midwife!  But I would not have hesitated to have a c-section if needed, and I would never have a home birth.   Birth is scary, and emergencies happen super quickly.  I think home birth is unnecessarily risky, and I just couldn’t do that to my baby.  My experience isn’t more important than his safety.

In all of these situations, the woman doesn’t actually come right out and say, you’re a bad parent and your choice was stupid.  But it’s pretty clearly implied.

Worse, because they supposedly embrace some aspect of “crunchy” culture, they’re often seen as “speaking for the group” (even though no individual speaks for the whole group!), and they’re seen as being right.  As being sane.  As shaking their head in embarrassment at all those mamas who “just don’t get it” because of their “dangerous” alternative choices.

Being Semi-Crunchy Doesn't Make You Special pinterest

Get Over Yourselves

Look, you can vaccinate your kid.  You can take him to the doctor.  You can have him in a hospital.  I really don’t care — that’s not what this is about.  Heck, I have plenty of friends who have done all of those things and wouldn’t do otherwise.

The difference is, many — including my friends — aren’t smug and condescending about it.  It’s all in the attitude.

You’re not better because you do something more mainstream.

And honestly, it’s pretty crappy to brag about how great you are because you did something “normal” or “typical.”  People who make alternative choices already face enough crap just for being different.  They face people who constantly misunderstand — purposely — why they make the choices they make.  They have to face people who say “You just don’t vaccinate because Jenny McCarthy” or “You want a home birth to prove something/because your experience matters more than your baby’s life/it’s trendy” or “You only feed your kid organic food because you’re afraid of chemicals you don’t understand.”

They really don’t need to deal with more crap from someone who claims that ‘natural is good, but…’ and proceeds to trash them for a specific choice they make.

Really, mamas.  You just aren’t special, or smarter, or better, because you made a different choice.

I have to say this does go for natural mamas, too.  We aren’t smarter or better because of the choices we made, either.  We did what was right for us.  And if you’re an advocate for ( breastfeeding, home birth, not vaccinating, etc.) people can’t and won’t hear you if you come off like you’re amazing and the people who don’t do things the same “aren’t awake” or “are sheeple.”

(Stop.saying.”wake up!” and stop.saying.sheeple.)

Let’s Be Supportive Instead

Rather than trying to speak for a whole group, or rather than bragging about how great you are because you ______, just stop.

Support other mamas.  They don’t have to think like you, or make the same choices you do.  That’s okay.  Stop thinking they are uninformed, uneducated, ignorant, or bad people.  Stop saying that they are, either directly or indirectly.  Just trust that all mamas love their babies, many choices are okay, and everyone is doing the best they can.

Also, it’s cool to say “I did ____ and it really worked for me.  Are you interested in hearing more?”  or “Did you know ______ is an option?”  There are respectful ways to offer new information.  We can and should talk about other ways.

It’s just the irritating, smug attitude that needs to go.  Immediately.

Do you think being “semi-crunchy” makes you special — or any particular parenting choice?

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8 Comments

  1. I see your point in not appreciating the judgy condescending nature of some moms, but you realize that with a post saying “semi crunchy moms aren’t special”, you’re just joining the ranks of the judgy and condescending? Choosing kindness over angry blog post isn’t easy, but wouldn’t it be better suited to help reach the goal of united, supportive mothers?

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  2. I feel like this is the exact post I’ve been meaning to write for forever! Well done!

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  3. I consider myself “semi-crunchy”, and your berating generalizations are frankly not true across the board. What I do with my child is NO ONE’S BUSINESS but mine and my husband’s. We use elements of eastern and western medicine as each situation warrants and often in tandem, but we don’t brag. We don’t condemn others or pass judgment. We do what works for us. I would never say what we do is BEST, only that it’s BEST for US and OUR daughter. I find your comments quite ironic in light of the gentle parenting posts you have previously made. You claim your way is best and often sound as though you believe all other ways of parenting are borderline child abuse. I might be wrong in my perception (I’m open to that possibility), but I have yet to see any reason to doubt my impression. When I comes to your info on homeschooling I really appreciate what you have to say. You’ve given a lot of great info. However when it comes to parenting advise you tend to come across as an elitist and too often a high school mean girl. I support other mamas and their ability to find what works for them. I support you in all that you do for your family – but like you said “It’s all in the attitude.”

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  4. This really bugs me too! But not just semi-crunchy (because I think I’m that?) but just everyone in general who is condescending to people who didn’t make the same perfect choices they did. It really irritates me. There is more than one right way and in fact there are very few “wrong ways” IMO.

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  5. Great article, Kate! Thanks for sharing. It’s insight to a very common sense and natural way of living for you and your family.

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  6. Totally agree that attitude is everything. I do stop short of saying that certain decisions are a matter of “doing what’s right for you”. There is NO way on God’s green earth I could ever tell someone that vaccinations are in that category. I shut my mouth unless they ask, and post things to my own page only (so if they don’t like it, they don’t have to look). But I will never ever say that if you choose to vaccinate, then that is what’s right for you. The only reason I am pro parental choice is because we need to be able to say NO. It isn’t really a “right” to inject your children with risky, worthless chemicals, but until we can expose the pharmaceutical companies for their fraudulent and criminal activities (which realistically may be never) then protecting freedom of choice is the best we are going to get. The real issue isn’t stopping (or forcing) parents vaccinating, it’s stopping the companies from making fraudulent claims in the first place.

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  7. I find plenty of all the way crunchy moms are just as judgemental. I’m too crunchy for the mainstream, and they think I’m stupid for not medicating fevers and for using cloth diapers and mama cloth and family cloth. I’m too mainstream for the crunchy, and they think I’m stupid for vaccinating my kids. You can’t win, but I don’t think the sort of crunchies are the problem. A total lack of support for moms in general makes us all feel the need to defend our choices. Because being “just a mom” is no longer good enough, we all feel like we need to be the best at whatever new label we can give ourselves.

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  8. The examples you used were a poor example if you wanted to show an example of semi -crunchy mamas being rude .Why is everyone so hypersensitive these days?

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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