Crunchy Mom, or No? Why Labels Shouldn’t Define My Motherhood

Crunchy Mom – a mom who is an advocate of natural birth, non- or selective-circumcision, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, not (or delayed) vaccinating, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, homeschooling, organic living, and attachment parenting.

I’ve never considered myself a “free spirit” or thought of my personality as hippie-ish. But in a world of #labels, it turns out that I’m a crunchy mom. It wasn’t something I planned.

When I was pregnant with my first child 11 years ago, I didn’t even consider an unmedicated birth (I don’t do pain). Cloth diapers weren’t on my radar (are those things still around??). Heck, I didn’t even know what baby-wearing was (don’t people just HOLD their babies?). But over the last decade, I’ve slowly grown more crunchy.

It started when my first child was about to eat solids. As an avid breastfeeder (who struggled with major latch issues because my baby was born with a tooth), I was too bullheaded to throw all my hard work out the window and simply give her food in a cup. So I researched timing, portions, and what not to do. In the end, I settled on making my own organic baby food. In my brand new $300 blender. (Thanks, Costco!)

After that, the spiral just continued.

Unknown to me, co-sleeping was a crunchy mom way of life, as were delayed vaccinating and baby wearing. But I never felt like a crunchy mom. Not even when cloth diapering became an obsession of fabrics and adorable fluffy bums. I’d always assumed that to be a stereotype in a category, you had to embody all parts of it, which I don’t. I’m on pregnancy number five (baby number seven), and the thought of an unmedicated labor sounds horrific. Maybe it’s my tailbone injury and the awful back labor I have, but by 7 centimeters I cry “Uncle!” Every. Single. Time. It’s just not for me.

Identity is huge.

When you’re a mom, you begin to lose your old identity and morph into someone new. For me, that means eating more food that I grow in my aquaponic garden and far less Taco Bell. It means extended breastfeeding through toddlerhood and learning to deal with the fact that my body doesn’t belong solely to me while I do. Although I’ve changed into someone I like, I don’t like the label that’s come with it. It’s not that I personally have anything against crunchy moms – or crunchy people for that matter. Heck, if my hubby let me, I’d sell our crazy expensive house and move off grid to raise goats. But labels in general feel very suffocating to me.

Growing up, I was labeled as “odd” because I had an overactive imagination and read constantly. In high school, I was labeled “nerd” because the reading continued and I added choir and theater into the mix. The years between 18 and 23, I was blissfully label free before becoming a “mother,” which is my favorite label ever, by the way. However, at 24 I wasn’t quite ready for “mother” to be my sole identifier. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that people like to put others into categories.

Some of this categorizing is a learned behavior. Some labels are more routine, like the information I fill out on forms – age, gender, marital status. But some labels, like “crunchy mom,” left me questioning if the label really fits.

“Mom” is my favorite label because it fits me so well.

But when someone added “crunchy” to the front of “mom,” it felt like a pigeonhole I didn’t ask for. As opposed to “loving wife” (another label I’m cool with), the label of “crunchy” makes me feel like that’s the only kind of mom I can be. Like if I stop at In & Out and admit I’m not a fan of Brussels sprouts, I’m suddenly being disloyal to my label.

When it comes to labels we all need to be more like Taylor Swift and play any genre of music we like. One day we can be country, and the next we can be pop. If you’re content being a one-category mama, that’s fantastic. However, if the last ten years has taught me anything, it’s that my parenting style is constantly growing, changing, and evolving. Maybe one day I’ll be crunchier than fresh granola, but today I’m only a little crunchy and that’s the way I like it.

Editor’s note – the definition for “crunchy mom” at the beginning of the post came from here, where you can read about the differences between Silky, Scrunchy, and Crunchy moms. At Wine Country Moms Blog, we do not believe that there is ONE correct way to raise your child(ren).  Just like we believe there isn’t ONE correct method of schooling, as discussed in this article.

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