What makes up a "crunchy mama"? And on which side of the fence do you play? Here's the definition I found at naturemoms.comCrunchy Mama:
Mother who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, gentle discipline, etc. One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foods.
So let's see (with some explanation) where I fall in this category:
Supports Homebirth - Check. Prissy Pants was born to an incredibly ignorant mom who did everything her "been there, done that" friends and Dr.'s told her to do without questioning what was best for her and baby (ugh, she makes me mad - so glad I'm not her anymore). PP was born with the whole medical hoopla, the hospital, the OB, the monitors, the drugs, the invasion, etc. But Praise The Lord she was born healthy and absolutely beautiful! I was slightly more educated with Z Girl and tried to go without the meds with no success. One of the nurses pestered me about getting them and I caved in my fragile state. Grr. Z showed signs of distress and had a little more trouble coming out but in the end was born healthy and beautiful! Praise the Lord! So by this time I was convinced that birth shouldn't be so medical (when mom and baby are both healthy of course) and tried finding a midwife for my first homebirth - not much went according to plan here but that story is entirely too long for this post. When all was said and done Funny Bones was born drug-free and the experience, while dramatic and intense, was also pleasant and fulfilling! I would have preferred to have all 4 villains at home but it just wasn't in the cards each time. I am, however, still very happy with Gargantuan Boys' birth at the birth center and would definitely use them again if the situation called for it! The jacuzzi tub helped me get through the toughest part and after much anticipation our 10 1/2 lb boy was here! It was amazing!
Breastfeeding - Check. I did the best I could as a new mom with PP but dried up a few weeks after returning to work (it still makes me sad) - we made it 2 1/2 months. I was determined to make it work the second time around with Z, and did make it a little longer but, sadly, I stopped prematurely because I felt vulnerable and not supported (I'm a firm believer in support for every area of life!) - we made it 4 1/2 months. Third time's a charm, right? Right! I was triply determined with FB and what do you know, success! However, at about 9 months I developed what I thought was thrush and NOTHING was fixing it, the last 3 months of breastfeeding were physically excruciating but like I said, I was determined - we made it to a few weeks after her 1st birthday! Now it's the boy's turn and by golly I'm gonna go until he self weans (which I so wanted to do with FB)! I figured out, all by my big girl self (although too late to have a do-over), that the problem I had with her wasn't thrush at all, but an allergic reaction to Lanolin, easily fixed by, well, NOT using Lanolin! So with that bit of pain-free knowledge under my belt, as well as the confidence and support one needs to be successful, breastfeeding the fourth time around is going wonderfully!
Babywearing - Check. I carried PP and Z in one of those carriers you get at Wal-Mart, the Snugli, and while my heart was on the right path I was barely scratching the surface of "babywearing" - I was only "baby-carrying". While pregnant with FB I found "babywearing" and decided to give the wrap a try. After her birth I bought a few yards of gauze material, cut it in half lengthwise, sewed a hem around the entire thing, and "wore" my baby! It was wonderful! We both loved it and stayed close to each other more often than not. A few months later I convinced Intelligent Man to let me buy a nice wrap from Germany called the Didymos and to this day I can't live without it! The support and comfort is incomparable! It does get pretty toasty wrapped up in it with a sweaty baby in our humid TX climate, but it's still a lifesaver. I'm finding new adventure in the world of "babywearing" and as I'm typing this, am in the middle of sewing up a new carrier called a Mei Tai. I'm so excited to get it done and try it out! I'll let you know how it goes!!
Co-sleeping - Semi Check. I probably ride the fence on this one. I keep the kids in the room next to the bed in a bassinet for at least 3 months (FB was in her crib in our room for nearly 9 months because we had a massive bedroom that would allow it). I keep them close in the beginning but always put them in their own bed...to begin with. Occasionally I'll be too tired to put up a fight and a baby will end up sleeping with its head in my armpit, curled up next to me. As a matter of fact, it got cold a few nights ago and I grabbed up the boy and snuggled with him for warmth - and it worked - he's a heater! There is also a big kid in our bed every so often and I don't usually send them packing until after I've cuddled a little and now they're kicking me or grinding their teeth. I foresee a toddler taking her turn in the mommy/daddy bed soon as she transitions from the crib to the "big girl" bed. And that's ok with me... for a while.
Cloth Diapering - Check Minus. Here's where I start to take a turn for the other side. With FB I had every intention of cloth diapering and failed - prefolds and covers are not for me! It's my own fault, I decided to cloth diaper for the wrong reason, I simply wanted to do it because they are so stinking cute! I care about the landfills but it's not in my thoughts nearly as much as it is other cloth-diapering moms. I don't even mind the washing as long as baby is breastfed, but the whole dumping and swishing thing is the pits, especially when your toddlers poo is always smushy and not easily dumped. TMI? Sorry. I thought I'd try again with the boy and had a little more success than with FB. LOVED his pockets when he fit in them, but now he's outgrown them, yet he's not big enough for the bigger pockets I have, so the only option I have right now is, again, prefolds and covers, and as we already established, those are not for me! He'll grow into the bigger pockets eventually and I haven't really decided whether or not I'll dive back in to cloth, but if I don't, I'm not gonna beat myself up about it. I can't afford to buy the really cute ones anyway, and if my reason is fashion then I have no more reasons for doing it! I enjoyed sewing them WAY more than I enjoyed using them, so I'll sell my stash and make a little money off of it!
Gentle Discipline - Semi Check again. I don't under any circumstances condone abusing children, physically or otherwise! Show me a child abuser and I'll show you a mom who wants to rip their arm off and beat them with it! Then give me that precious little soul to hug and love on!!!! However, there are times when a swat IS in fact called for. I'm not talking about a slap in the face or on the head, I'm talking about a "completely in control of your emotions" spanking on that cushy part of your body, you know, the one you sit on. I believe in redirection, good behavior rewards, positive reinforcement and all that jazz, but it doesn't work for everyone. Some situations and some individuals call for a good swat to drive the message home. I try my best to use it as a last resort and to use it without negative emotions. I love Dr. Kevin Lemans book titled "Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours". That and "Creative Correction" by Lisa Welchel have helped me tremendously to get through to the kids without losing it. Though I do fail - I do have those days where I feel I've raised my voice way too much. It's a work in progress, and frankly, it will remain that way until the last one leaves home! So anyway, no one ever died from a strictly discipline based swat on the butt, and I know quite a few kids who could benefit from it!
Questions Medical Authority - Check. When appropriate! I know there are Dr.s out there that have their own selfish agenda and treat patients as numbers, but it's our responsibility to find the ones who don't! Especially when it comes to the Dr.s who treat our children. Our kids can't speak for themselves when it comes to health care. Not every little ailment needs a Dr. I try not to run to the ER every time one of them does something out of the ordinary health-wise. However, I do trust them to know what's best for me and my kids when there is something serious going on. If my baby is hurting and the solution is beyond me then I trust our pediatrician to do her best to help. As far as vaccines, we have decided to get the big ones as scheduled since we believe that those diseases are only controlled because of vaccines - if no one gets a polio (for example) vaccine then we believe it could become an epidemic again. I'm also very grateful for the rotavirus vaccine, it wasn't out when PP was a baby and when she gets a stomach bug it rips her to pieces. Z may puke once and she's done, FB has never even had a stomach bug, I believe the rotavirus vaccine has something to do with that. Now, when it comes to seasonal vaccines we've decided NOT to participate. Some viruses are beneficial for the immune system and we feel those are it. If at any point one of my babies ends up in the hospital severely ill because of the flu, I may reevaluate, but for now this is what we're comfortable with.
Vegetarian/Organic Foods - Nope. And "meh". We are meat-eaters here and I don't see that changing any time soon. After watching the documentary "Food Inc." I was disgusted about the way our meat is handled and gets to us, and even had the fleeting thought of becoming a vegan, but here I am, still eating animals. God said I could. And even though I don't agree with the way my meat is handled I trust God to help me make wise decisions when purchasing and preparing it for my family. Organic! I'd so love to buy whole/organic foods! But buying them for a family of six is financially impossible for us at this time. I want a garden with succulent fruits and veggies, maybe even some chickens, but that'll all have to wait until we are able to own our own place someday. Besides, whole/organic foods means more prep work for momma, and I just don't have the time or energy!
Looking at the definition of "crunchy mama" I'd say I fall into the "slightly crunchy" category. I got a bulls eye on some marks and completely missed others. I'm comfortable playing on both sides. So tell me, how crunchy or soggy (lol) are you? Here's a quiz I found, take it and let me know! http://themoralesfamily.us/granola.htm
None of this was meant to start a debate - so no debating allowed! As long as you and your family are happy and healthy then wherever you are is just right!