Monday, March 1, 2010

A "Crunchy" Mama

(I started this post a looong time ago, then I got morning sick, then I didn't get around to finishing it...but I still wanted to post it so here goes!)

So, I labeled myself as a crunchy mama, then Jenn over at BabyMakinMachine asked me what it meant, so I tried to explain, and it led to her writing this post in which she pondered crunchiness and whether it was for her. That post then led to nearly 50 comments (most of them lengthy and some of them quite heated)... and I concluded that I was gonna just lay it all out.
I think Jenn put it quite fairly when she suggested that perhaps there's a middle level, somewhere between 'crunchy' and 'soggy' (or mainstream) which might be called 'chewy.' I find myself chewy in a number of things, because I'm not nearly so far off the beaten path as many of my uber-crunchy friends. On the other hand, I'm pretty far off the beaten path!

My reasons for being crunchy (or chewy) come from one main thing, and that is that I believe in questioning the status quo, and doing my own research about things, so that I can make my own decisions about what is best for me and my family. Again and again I discover that mainstream practices were born of the greedy side of capitalism (not that capitalism is evil in and of itself, but the associated greediness certainly is...) and that the things that really seem best are falling into this category called "crunchy." Here are my few basic tenets:
  1. I believe in not messing with the way God made things.
  2. I believe that Godmade is better than manmade, and should be utilized if available.
  3. I believe in avoiding unnecessary interventions/chemicals
  4. I believe in respecting people and the Earth.
  5. I believe in logic
  6. I believe in making things cheap, easy, and comfortable unless there's a good reason not to (you got it folks, I'm lazy!).
So what does this mean?

I believe in not messing with the way God made things
  • My body gives me signs every month of what is going on with my fertility, so I observe them and take notes rather than trying to control or change them.
  • My body makes milk for my baby, therefore, I should give it to the baby.
  • God made baby boys with foreskins. End of discussion.
  • If you're gonna drink cow milk (which is actually made for baby cows you know), then at least drink it whole, or even raw. Its vitamins are fat-soluable, so if you want the nutritive benefits of it, you'd better be getting the fat with it. Oh, and the low/no-fat versions have petroleum in them, just FYI.
  • God made some people women, and some people men, and then He gave them each bodies built to fulfill certain roles, therefore I birth and nurture children and keep our home, while my husband provides for and protects our family.

I believe that Godmade is better than manmade
  • So infant formula is only for emergencies, not for the average baby.
  • Food out of the dirt or off a tree = good, food out of a box = not so good.
  • If there's an herb that fits the bill, then I don't want some chemically formulated pill. Ideally I'd like nothing at all.
  • I think HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is bad news...I'm trying to restrict it in our diet, though I doubt we'll manage to remove it entirely.
  • Partially hydrogenated anything = evil
  • I believe in butter. Margarine is the devil (also it tastes like BLECH).
  • I've recently found that I vastly prefer natural fibers (cotton, wool, hemp, bamboo) over almost all of the synthetics. Especially now that Eagle seems to break out when he wears synthetics.
  • I don't typically wear makeup--I wear the face God gave me.
I believe in avoiding unnecessary interventions and chemicals
  • The vast majority of women's bodies can give birth without intervention, so they should be allowed to do so.
  • If my child is exploring, I don't get in the way unless injury is imminent.
  • If (older) kids disagree, I try to help them work it out, rather than stepping in and taking over.
  • I think that antibiotics are making superbugs, so I don't use antibacterial soaps or products in my home, and would not seek (or take) a prescription for an antibiotic unless there were a good reason for it (such as post-surgery).
  • I don't wear makeup (most of it is toxic to some degree)
  • I don't use scented soaps/lotions/shampoos/detergents.
I believe in respecting people...
  • I try to boycott companies that treat their employees badly (such as Walmart)
  • My children do not call adults by their first names. If an adult is more than a few years older than myself *I* usually do not call them by their first name.
  • I think it's offensive to do cosmetic surgery on an infant boy's private parts without his permission.
  • I follow my infant's schedule, rather than demanding that he follow mine.
  • I don't let a small infant cry. I don't let an older child cry for long.
  • I try to be gentle and respectful in my parenting.
  • I try to take care of myself by eating (relatively) well and dressing modestly
  • If I can tell that my infant needs to poop, I often remove his diaper and hold him over the toilet. There's no reason to force him to sit in his own waste for even a moment if I can help it.
...and respecting the earth
  • I try to support local farmers, and sustainable farming practices
  • I recycle
  • I buy second-hand if I can
  • I re-use or re-purpose things because I don't throwing away good fabric/wood/etc
  • I try to be minimalist
  • I try to stock my kitchen (and my kids' toyboxes) with things that will last--things made from wood, metal, or glass.
  • I use recycled packaging when I mail things
  • I use cloth diapers, wipes, rags, etc. (I do use cloth pads, but this was a very secondary reason for it--the primary reason is below)

I believe in logic
  • I make milk + baby is hungry = give the kid a boob!
  • I need sleep + baby needs sleep + baby needs to eat during the night = let's all sleep in the same place
  • Babies like to be held + mommy needs to get stuff done = babywearing
  • Children learn by example, therefore I should be gentle with them if I want them to learn to be gentle with me or anyone else.
  • I see the sense in some vaccines (though not all) but I also see the the ones we get we get on a spread-out schedule.
I'm lazy, frugal, and like my comforts
  • I use cloth pads and cloth diapers because fabric is more comfortable than plastic on tender parts.
  • babywearing is cheaper and easier than strollers and carriers (and doesn't require smooth sidewalks, of which we have precious few here!)
  • I re-use or re-purpose things because I don't want to spend the money to buy new ones.
  • I don't wear makeup--I've got the face I've got and if you don't like it then don't look, I'm not going to paint it for anybody.
I'm sure there are other things, but this is what comes to mind off the top of my head. ☺

Come back tomorrow and hear about my "soggy side"


Mallory said...

LOVE this post!!! As I read through it, I was saying to myself, "yep, yes, me too"...etc. There are some differences (like, we usually shop at Wal-Mart, because it is close and convenient...apparently my lazy side wins out on that one!) But I love how well you explain your reasons to be "crunchy"! They are so simple, and they make absolute sense!

Carrie said...

I agree with you on most of those things, but then again, I am pretty chewy on some things where you are crunchy, and yet, we can still be friends. Amazing!

Sprgtime said...

Love this post. Aside from just 1, I could have written it myself!

By the way, have you tried a menstrual cup instead of pads? LOVE mine (although, huh, you're probably not in need of one in the near future...)

Mommy Bee said...

Sprgtime~Yep, I've used a cup too. I used it for several months before my first baby, and a couple of times between the kids...I find I like just pads sometimes too though. And you're right, I don't have need for either one very often. LOL!

Janeen said...

I agree with most of the above though I do on occasion wear make-up but it's VERY rare and make-up I buy tends to sit for years (though, not as long as make-up my mom bought, some of it was older than me!). More and more though I find I hate it.

There's a lot we're still working on and some of it will have to wait until we're back in the US, especially the food bit which has been frustrating.

The one that is a hard one for me is the circ one. I don't totally disagree with you on circ, I'm actually kind of on the fence about it but DH is VERY much for it due to his religious beliefs (a lot of which are Old Testament beliefs including not eating pork, following Jewish Holy Days, etc). I'm hoping for another girl so that I don't even have to deal with the issue but if I have a boy, this one is going to be a hard one to fight him on.

The work one is another one that I struggle about because DH and I have almost reverse personalities. He really does shine in the home and taking care of things at home including our daughter whereas I would probably do better working out of the home than he currently does. It's a hard one, especially in this current economy and leaving the US hasn't helped much in that regard either because I find myself not really have anything to do. When you're in a foreign country, your options end up kind of limited.

But I'm sure it's something that's going to get tweaked as time goes on, just right now, there's a lot that's kind of out of sorts due to where we are.

Christa said...

love the post! But when I was reading the comments my heart sank...for myself.
My newest bundle is 8 weeks old, and I exclusively breastfeed, ever 1.5-2 hours 24 hours a day 7 days a week. But when she was 3 weeks old I staeted my cycle, I thought maybe it was just a fluke, but then at 7 weeks I had it again right on schedule.
Has anyone else had that happen? I just thought I would have it for atleast several months.

Mommy Bee said...

Christa, I know people who EBF and still get their cycles back very early. Some women just do. One friend of mine was exclusively breastfeeding TWINS and still had it back by 2 months. Going 20 months like I did is unusual too--especially for someone still in her 20s. The average (for nursing on demand not-night-weaned) is 14 months w/o a period, but if that's the average then obviously some people go longer and some go shorter...

nicole said...

I've had 4 kids and I'm prego with my 5th, and I've exclusively breastfed all of them. My period usually returns between 2 and 3 months after delivery. I read once that we have higher levels of estrogen, but all I know is that we're especially fertile! If you're not careful, you could end up with 5 kids ages 6 and under like me. :) I love this, but I know that this many young kids is not for everyone. Each woman's cycle is different, so no worries.

Jennie said...

Do you have a source anywhere where I could find more information about the petroleum in low/non-fat milks?

Sue said...

I agree with you on many of these points, and where we disagree I respect your opinion. One thing's for sure, you sound like a dedicated mom!


Thomasin said...

I'd forgotten to comment! Just wanted to say I think this (and the next "soggy" post) are my favorites of yours to date! I like learning more about the why along with your hows. Thank you for sharing!

Mommy Bee said...

Jennie, you can google about petroleum in milk, but you won't find much with those search terms. What you can find is that artificial colorings, flavorings, BHA, BHT, and TBHQ are all made from petroleum. Search for one of those terms along with milk and you will turn up something!

A couple of sites to get you started:

Busy Bee Momma said...

I absolutely love your post about being crunchy! I had a midwife tell me I am learning to be crunchy and didn't know what it meant. I am learning:) I just had a friend ask what does that mean..I could have told her but directed her to your blog...perfectly crunchy explanation! Thanks for informing people that crunchy is really about being more green, listening to your body and using what God gave us!!

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