I was browsing facebook yesterday looking up a support group for a friend in another part of the country, and I ran across a group called “Crunchy Emerald Coast Moms.”
When I think of the word “crunchy,” I think of hippy-type homeschooling moms with eleven kids who wear long skirts and longer braids. Crunchy moms mill their own organic flour and have a compost pile next to the vegetable garden outside. Or maybe they live on a farm. They recycle and reuse everything, never wear make-up, use natural remedies for sickness, and their children are always perfect obedient angels who say, “ma’am” and “sir.”
I hereby apologize to anyone who was just offended by the above misinformed generalization.
But then I read the description of the “Crunchy Mom” facebook group. It said, “The ‘crunchy’ way of life! (Breastfeeding, baby wearing, co sleeping, cloth diapering, etc!)”
Wait, is that what it means to be a crunchy mom? Because if so, I am falling dangerously close to this category. I definitely did not set out to be so… “granola.” Every decision I’ve made in the past year has been either for convenience or finance, and ultimately, what would glorify the Lord the most. And yet, somehow, I end up at 9am on a Thursday morning looking at facebook groups that have the word “crunchy” in them.
Let me back up. I grew up in a very metropolitan area. The concrete jungle is my kind of turf. I’ve been camping maybe once, have a Target, Publix, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart within biking distance of my house, and rarely go anywhere that doesn’t have wifi. I use paper towels instead of a washcloth to wipe down my countertops, and (confession here) I’m really bad at remembering to recycle. I am anything BUT a hippie. So anyway, I got a good degree or two, had a career that I loved, and then followed the higher calling of full-time motherhood, fully expecting to blend into the high-tech metropolitan mom world.
This transition into motherhood came with some decisions. The first one revolved around what kind of birth I wanted to have. I did a lot of research. A LOT. And became slowly convinced that although a lot of science and tax dollars had been invested in all of the medical interventions that often accompany normal hospital births, I believed that they interfered with the way the Lord had designed my body to work. So, I had a natural childbirth (in a hospital, to be on the safe side), completely spontaneous and unmedicated.
I even sewed my own hospital gown.
The second decision had to do with feeding my baby. There was no question in my mind – not only was breastfeeding so much healthier for my baby than formula, it was also waaaaaay less expensive and super convenient! I am not suggesting it was always easy – I had more than my fair share of difficulties, especially in the first few months – but I never gave formula a second thought. Julia only drank mommy’s milk until she was six months old, and now as she’s starting solids, I’m looking forward to continuing to nurse her for at least a year.
Thirdly, where should baby sleep? Some people put their newborn in a crib, some let the baby sleep in their beds, but I felt most comfortable with Julia in a rocker beside our bed. Enough distance to make the transition to the crib easy, but convenient enough to nurse her in the middle of the night. After 4 months, she moved to her own room with no problem.
Then, of course came the question, “So, when are you going back to work after the baby is born?” Well, I believe that motherhood is a calling from the Lord, and He has uniquely made me the best person to take care of the child He has given me. So, instead of letting someone else raise my child, Mr. Poole and I decided that I would be the best person for that responsibility. Full-time. So, I became a stay-at-home mom, which has been the biggest privilege and blessing ever! I’m so grateful for a husband who supports me in this calling!
But staying at home means the loss of an income. And as I am the one who is now contributing very little to the bank account, I am acutely aware of how much I spend. If I am going to have the blessing of being a full-time housewife, I need to be an expert steward of the resources that my husband works so hard to earn! So when it came to diapering our child, and I did the research and discovered how many thousands of dollars I would save by using cloth diapers, that is the route I took, and I’ve been loving it! I don’t mind the extra laundry (if I am going to be staying home, I might as well do a few extra loads a week, right?) and WOW are there some cute and convenient cloth diapers out there!
So if you haven’t caught my drift, I have so far made five big lifestyle decisions that fall into the “crunchy” category. The sixth decision, babywearing, is something that has been more of a gradual process. At the moment, I don’t think I’d call myself a “babywearer,” but I think that some of my non-crunchy friends would assign that term to me. I’m actually pretty sure I don’t agree entirely with the “attachment parenting” worldview, which is the battle cry of most babywearers. Using a wrap, in my opinion, just makes life easier. Up until a week ago, all I had was a Moby wrap and a hand-me-down Baby Bjorn carrier, but I used the Moby every day. It was purely a convenience thing – why hold a baby in your arms when you can wrap her up and be hands-free, right? The Baby Bjorn is pretty uncomfortable for both of us, but the Moby has been a great blessing, especially during that dinner-making hour in the late afternoon when baby is fussy and mommy needs to keep things going in the kitchen.
But the Moby wrap is really meant for infants, and it’s been getting a little uncomfortable for Julia, especially when I have to sit down with her in it. I was counting on her being content in the Moby when I started helping out with the school’s spring musical, but now she complains and arches her back when I sit down at the piano. So, I did my research again, sloshed through the unending baby carrier market, and ended up taking the cheapest route I could find – making my own woven wrap. This way, I could carry Julia on my back or on my hip without squishing her when I went to play the piano. I actually had a lot of fun finding the fabric on sale, serging the edges, figuring out where to put little loops for toys, and adding some decorative stitching. So far, Julia has really enjoyed it! We took a walk with her on my back the other day, and she was asleep within two blocks!
With this new wrap, I feel like I have definitely crossed a line. Am I a crunchy mom? I don’t know. But it doesn’t bother me anymore. I am confident that every decision I has made has been the right one, for the right reasons, and I am constantly in prayer that God would give me wisdom to know how to be a good mom and a faithful wife. I have to trust that He will answer this prayer, no matter what stereotypes I end up becoming!