My old website was called “New Crunchy Mom“. I’ve talked a little bit about how I decided on that name previously, but the long and short of it is that when I got pregnant with my son, I was added to a bunch of online “crunchy groups”. They were all variations of the name “crunchy mom” and contained a lot of the same people since they were generally local groups. I’ve since left almost all of those groups and quit using the term completely, and a lot of people have asked me why.
I’ve often been asked, “What is a crunchy mom?” (most assuming it is something to do with food, which is a good guess). It is really different for everyone, but the urban dictionary nails it pretty well here:
“Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.” Source
The part that I actually fall under is really kind of narrow, actually. I’m not vegan, vegetarian, or politically left-leaning (far, far from it – I’m not particularly right-wing either). The reason I used the term was due to the fact that we fit with choosing more natural options in our household and eat very clean like many of the other crunchy mothers. I was told that I planned on doing a lot of things like breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, organic foods, and other things that fit the “crunchy” lifestyle.
Unfortunately, I was not told about the more left-leaning aspects and social justice warrior side of the “crunchy” groups and was unprepared for how large of a presence that would have in them.
Now, if I am perfectly honest, anyone can be a total butthead, from any political background. I’ve just found that this subset of the population to be insufferable. Not everyone in it, of course, I still have a few “crunchy mom” friends. In fact, when I decided to leave behind my old site, many of the nice crunchy moms that I know seemed a little wounded that I was separating myself from the name (because they call themselves crunchy moms) due to the negativity, anti-Christian and political focus that I saw at large. I continue to keep in touch with them though because they don’t see fit to breathe fire every time I talk about doctrinally sound Christianity,when I give my toddler canned baby or get angry that I have given up on attachment parenting.
I noticed that for all the talk of “support” and “inclusive community”, it is, at the base, simply a lie within these circles. Now, I don’t fault anyone for the exclusivity. I think that the social push for inclusiveness in every situation is a literal poison for relationships and social settings. Long story short, crunchy moms (or moms groups in general, really) groups in my experience are full of false advertising when it comes to support. Unless you fit the mold, you are gonna have a hard time.
I didn’t fit the mold.
Do I care? Not really.
My life is a lot less stressful without sanctimommies and fire-breathing, arm-chair politicians scrutinizing my Facebook profile. It wore on my health to be around people who were always offended, always angry and always looking for an opportunity to call someone ignorant.
All mommy groups are different, and I am still in several groups, but only one or two actual “crunchy” groups. I only tolerate the ones that truly believe in respecting other people and being helpful and supportive. I value my time and attention too much to give it to people who live for their next Facebook fight or political clash (while pretending that what they are all about is helping other moms).
Ultimately though, I am just not a fan of labels. Considering I studied Sociology in college, this may come as a bit of a surprise, but it is true. I’ve been labeled as so many things in my life, and taught that labels were important (and they are in some situations). I just don’t accept that for motherhood. No one is fully one type of parent or another and really, it doesn’t matter.
What matters to me, and the reason why I transitioned to this website, is that the only identity or “label” I want to be known by: Christian.
I don’t want to hang out in circles where I can’t say I’m a Christian without being blamed for things I had nothing to do with or being told that I am what is wrong with the world. That I “judge people” while simultaneously being “judged” based off of the fact that I have said I’m Christian. Talk about hypocrisy.
I don’t use the term crunchy anymore because I don’t like the things it is associated with. I don’t want to be included in a group of people who harass, bully, attack, create and thrive off of drama. It isn’t healthy, and I don’t want people thinking that I condone those things. I’d rather stand for the folks who have also seen this behavior and choose to distance themselves, or at least call themselves “Crunchy Christians”, rather than support these groups.
The world isn’t going to end just because I’ve chosen not to ally myself with a parenting style or camp anymore, though by the talk of some you might think it. To me, it seems like just one more way to complicated parenting and make it harder than it has to be.