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:
- I believe in not messing with the way God made things.
- I believe that Godmade is better than manmade, and should be utilized if available.
- I believe in avoiding unnecessary interventions/chemicals
- I believe in respecting people and the Earth.
- I believe in logic
- I believe in making things cheap, easy, and comfortable unless there's a good reason not to (you got it folks, I'm lazy!).
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.
- 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 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.
- 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 dangers...so the ones we get we get on a spread-out schedule.
- 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.
Come back tomorrow and hear about my "soggy side"