In a phone conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago, this was declared to me: “You’re way crunchier than you even know!”
Taken slightly aback, I had to do some research on what that even meant. As far as words go, it’s a little rough around the edges if you ask me. I wasn’t sure if I should be honored, offended or just roll my eyes.
CRUNCHY MAMA ~ Mother who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc. One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foods.
While that doesn’t describe me in every essence, it definitely hits home more than I thought it might. The truth of the matter is that I am not the parent I thought I would be. While I wasn’t one of those people that had my life all planned out when I was 15, I was (and shamefully maybe still am) quick to make judgements and come to conclusions on my own. I knew I wasn’t ever going to “be like that” or my kids were definitely going to “never do that.” Don’t even try to put me in a box. Mom and Dad – if you are reading, I know you’re laughing. Roll with me here…
But, here’s the truth about parenting – I don’t care how great of a parent you are, how carefully you plan and how wonderful your life seems – we’re all figuring this having-kids-thing out on our own day by day. It’s the reason why there are 50 zillion “Mommy blogs”, why the articles and books about parenting practices are so well-read, and why there is such a thing (ridiculous as it is) as “Mommy wars”. Everyone is trying to figure out the best way to bring up these little ones and do it without messing them up too bad. It’s daunting and epic and the hardest thing we all may ever accomplish.
We’re all trying to figure out what we believe in and how to make the world a better place (all while stumbling through days alternated by sleepless nights.) It’s impressive really that we accomplish anything at all.
As someone who firmly believes in the fact that life is better when we spend time active and outside, I come back to the simplicity that our society has fallen strikingly far from. Yes, I aim for a chemical-free home. Yes, I recycle and cut down on waste dramatically by cloth diapering. Yes, I believe that we are over medicated and there is great wealth we have forgotten over the years in natural and organic medicines.
But, I didn’t intend to co-sleep at all with my babies, that just happened (even if it is just a couple hours a night) by a pure attempt at survival. In fact, I was quite against it. But having my babies sleeping in their bed right next to me helps me get more sleep and therefore I can handle life better.
I didn’t intend to wear my babies either. I didn’t even know what that meant. I just knew that I somehow had to continue on with life, especially when Baby #2 came along and wearing them was the only way to make that happen. Now I can’t keep my mouth shut about it, even if I don’t always love it.
I didn’t intend to homeschool, but that is apparently going to happen (at least for now) here too. I’ve found peace in the fact that I can teach my child from home and not send him away for 9 hours (we just switched to a 4 day school schedule here) as a 5 year old.
I didn’t intend to cut out most processed foods – it just happened when I realized that I loved to cook and bake and I could make healthier options. Oh, and it’s a lot cheaper too. And the decent grocery store is 70+ miles away. Sometimes when you need a bagel or graham cracker, it’s worth getting a little creative.
Sometimes all this parenting, “crunchy” or not, stuff is downright overwhelming. It’s a day-by-day, hold on to your seat, take-a-deep-breath-and-go process. It’s the reason I escape to the fresh air and mountains around me. It’s there that all the have-tos and should-dos melt away and I don’t miss them at all. Even when I am out on the trail for an hour with my kids, I forget about what I would have been doing otherwise. I don’t care about the emails I need to return, the Facebook notifications or, quite honestly, writing the next blog post. I can live in the here-and-now. I can turn off my brain and be completely present to my children and honest to myself. My creative juices are built back up, my smiles come easier and more genuinely and I don’t question if we all are going to make it to the end of the day alive.
Maybe I am “crunchy”. Maybe not. I don’t care. My decisions are made as I walk through life, as I love my husband and children, and get to know myself more.
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