Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Crunchy Granola Wannabe

In honor of Earth Day, I feel it is only appropriate to dedicate this post to our environment. To the Mother of all Mothers: Mother Nature.

The theme of today's post is crunchiness.

If the title perplexes you, don't worry. I'm not referring to rolled oats. Instead, I am referring to an idiom describing a non-traditional lifestyle and parenting method.

crunch-y [krŭn'chē] - adj. - "green"; environmentally-friendly; environmentally-conscious; used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to strongly lean left politically and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.

Let me begin by saying, for the record, that I do not consider myself "crunchy". I strive to be but I'm just...not. I actually look up to and respect "those moms". I think I have some "crispy" qualities that stop me from being lumpish pudding. But I am far from the epitome of crunchy granola.

I have deduced this from the following:

1. I drive a Jeep Liberty. An SUV garnering an unimpressive 20 mpg on average. Hardly fuel efficient. However, now that I am dwelling in SAHM-dom, I no longer have to commute daily. Most of my trips are now local so I won't be guzzling as much fuel. I'd like to think this earns me some points. Just a few.

2. I use disposable diapers. The third largest consumer product piling up in our landfills. I was open to the idea of cloth diapers while pregnant. Especially the AIOs like Bumkins, BumGenius, Swaddlebees or DryBees that are almost as convenient as sposies. And lest we forget, they come in irresistible, super cute patterns. Who wouldn't want to match a diaper to an outfit? But DH scoffed at the idea of washing poo diapers so Pampers it is.

3. I vaccinate. On schedule. I considered selectively vaccinating based on Dr. Sears' recommendations but after performing extensive research and interviewing several pediatricians to get their take, I decided that vaccinating on schedule was the best option for our family.

4. Epidurals are heaven. I am intrigued by stories of waterbirths or homebirths. Even Hypnobabies peaks my curiosity. But I don't think I could ever trust my body enough to relax and go with it. Maybe it's the whole IF thing but I always feel as if something is about to go horribly wrong and it makes me more comfortable personally to know I am in good hands if that were to be the case. I should note I did make it to 8cm before getting meds. Despite my awareness of the risks, I do not regret my decision at all.

5. I make an effort to buy organic/locally grown produce when possible. But I''m often unable to do so due to budget constraints. We do, however, have our own little garden out back where we have planted our own tomatoes and peppers. DH has quite the green thumb so we will be cultivating more vegetables in time.

6. If you've followed along since the inception of this blog, you'll know that I heart cosleeping. Deep inside, I am very pro-attachment parenting (AP). But there came a point in time when Nate grew restless and all of our sleep began to suffer. Although painful, it was time to move him to his crib. I miss him but I do enjoy spending that quiet time with DH, rekindling our intimacy as we cuddle next to one another.

7. I love babywearing. No, I lurve babywearing. My Ergo is quite possibly the best baby item I have purchased. If I was a rich girl, I'd have a different carrier for every day of the week.

8. I shop at consignment stores weekly. And I check out Ebay regularly. I would much rather buy something in excellent used condition (EUC) than brand new. Saves me money and recycles clothing.

9. Speaking of recycling, we don't have trash pickup in our neck of the woods so as much as I'd like to salvage our plastics and glass, we often just go to the dump with our trash. We do use our yard clippings as compost occasionally.

10. We circumcised. A very sensitive topic, no doubt. Several of my older male relatives were uncircumcised and had severe urinary complications that led to a painful, memorable circumcision later in life. I did not want that for my son so we opted for the circ.

11. I plan to chart and use Natural Family Planning (NFP) in the future. No more birth control for me. When we feel our family is complete, DH may get the Big V but we want to be 100% sure before we make any final surgical decisions.

12. I breastfed exclusively for 6 months and plan to breastfeed along with solids for one year. Possibly beyond that but I can't see myself going much longer than that. Most importantly, I would like to start weaning around one year so we can prepare to TTC #2. I am open to tandem feeding during pregnancy but would want to completely wean before birth.

13. I do use homeopathic remedies like teething tablets and gripe water. But I still rely on medication like Motrin or Tylenol, and I see a doctor regularly. Some of the possible/unknown side effects of the homeopathic treatments make me nervous so I prefer to go with something that has been proven to be safe and effective.

14. I have no plans to homeschool my children. I want them to attend public or private school mainly for the socialization aspect.

15. I attempt to purchase natural cleaning supplies. Two of my recent favorites are my dishwashing detergent and my all-purpose cleaner.

16. I actively seek BPA-free supplies for Nate. I will go out of my way to find plastic alternatives. And I own many cloth/wooden toys.

I could go on and on but I'll end the list here.

I'm not totally mainstream but I'm also not unconventional. I fall somewhere in the middle. Story of my life. I have good intentions but I fall drastically short of the "crunchy" line.

In all honesty, I secretly desire to be the neo-hippy mom. The one who breastfeeds until the child self-weans, even if it means into toddler years. And out in public because they just don't give a damn and the baby needs to eat. The woman who does yoga or pilates to stay fit and eats a fresh, healthy, free-range diet. I envy their conviction and gumption. They all just scream "kick-ass" to me when they talk of their lifestyles.

I look at my list above and wonder how many of my responses are influenced by social norms and expectations, rather than my actual desires. Perhaps I'm subconsciously concerned by what others will think if I chose to follow through on some of them.

I think I've made strides in the "green" department since I conceived Nate. While I haven't altered my lifestyle completely, I can say I'm more aware of the world. Infertility has given me a new perspective. I'm much more conscious of the things I purchase and how it affects the earth and our health. I think all of us want our children to experience the world in its purest form. We naturally want what we deem is best for them. And I think that realization - that motivation - is a step in the right direction.

Are you a crunchy mom?


Rachel said...

I really like this post because it's a very honest description of how you reconcile your ideal environmental stance with reality. We do co-sleep and cloth diaper and have yet to purchase any baby clothes so most of ours come used, but we also do a number of things which are awful for the environment (flying all the time is at the top of our list) and I always dislike how people jump to conclusions from a single choice we make.

Fertilized said...

this is a wonderful post. I do consider myself so much more crunchy than I thought I was since MT has arrived. But still in the main stream aspect. great to read

Holly Crosley said...

I am a semi crunchy. I love me some baby wearing, organic foods(specifically dairy), I breastfed for 13 months (exclusive for 6 months), shop consignment regularly, and I also use NFP. However, I do use disposable diapers, vaccinate on schedule, see a pedi regularly,drive a gas guzzling SUV, wear leather jackets, and use tylenol and motrin sparingly. So lets say, I am jello with some granola mixed in.

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

I'm about as crunchy as you. I would love to be more so than I am, but working full time does not lend itself to clothe diapers and the like. I've got to do what's best for Lemy, but when it comes to matters of convenience that don't impact her directly, I've got to do what's best for me.

MrsSpock said...

I have a crunchy edge, but have to reconcile reality with my ideal as well. Most of us do, I think. I do cloth diaper, recycle, bring my own bags, refuse to circ, and buy used about 50% of the time, but will be getting a gas-guzzling minivan next, flunked at breastfeeding, vaccinate on schedule, and can't risk natural family planning because of my medication.

I will say the Ergo sling was worth its weight in gold! I use it now in the back carry, and my little toddler loves it!

Geohde said...

So politically incorrect of me but egads, no, positively uncrunchy.

But honest.


Jeff9 said...

Even better than recycling; Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time...yes! Get serious and add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. Available at with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt with prudently but please remember that in the big picture the industrial water users always far exceed the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways.