I sat on my friend’s couch as my then three-month-old daughter napped beside me. I stared across the way at another mother who had also joined us for the play date. A question about cloth diapers eventually led to a discussion about mothering styles and the people who often become our worst critics.
My friend mentioned that she was part of an online group for “crunchy/granola” moms.
I couldn’t quiet my confusion.
I interrupted her, and asked what it meant to be crunchy.
She went on to explain that anyone who is “crunchy” shares a lot of her beliefs. Since I was very familiar with her beliefs, I understood exactly what she meant.
Soon I was hearing the word everywhere, and seeing it all over the Internet. I spotted memes and cartoons depicting stereotypes associated with the mothering style. A Facebook friend even posted a link to a quiz that would define your level of “crunchiness”.
So like any avid Facebook-er, I took the quiz.
I had a natural childbirth, and would give birth at home in a heartbeat. Check.
I am a baby wearer, and own four different carriers. Check.
I cloth diaper, and have used cloth wipes. Check.
I bought my child an Amber Teething Necklace, and make her wear it daily. Check.
I usually skip shampoo in favor of cleansing conditioners, and other organic products. And I do the same for my daughter. Check.
By the end of the quiz, I had a little more than half of the list checked, proving that I was in fact a little crunchy.
For a while, I started to like having a group I could identify with. I even tried to write an entire blog post dedicated to my so-called crunchiness. But I couldn’t — because deep down, I didn’t want to be defined, or add to the existing division between mothers.
I actually got the courage to write this post — the post I really wanted to write — after reading a blog post by Lisa-Jo Baker. She mentioned the judgement that can often ping pong between working moms and stay-at-home moms, or homeschool moms and public school moms. She also wrote about moms being offended, and even resenting each other.
In fact, I’ve seen this ping ponging go further among breastfeeding moms and formula moms, and the moms on both sides of the attachment parenting and vaccine debates.
Truth is, I don’t want to debate.
I don’t want to judge.
I just want to embrace my place in a sisterhood of mothers, and talk about this beautiful mess called motherhood.
In my mind, it’s a place where I watch your children grow and learn about this great big world, as I watch mine.
It’s a place where there’s empathy.
It’s a place where there’s encouragement.
It’s a place where there’s love, and respect.
So I may be a momma who cloth diapers and baby wears, but I refuse to let it define me. I’m just a mom like every other mother out there.