Crunchy People Aren’t Always Crunchy
“Hi, I’m Johnna and I breastfed my child for 26 months. Now, where’s my medal?”
I’ve never said this. I usually only tell people when asked about it. I don’t really think about it all that much until people have a discussion about breastfeeding or formula feeding. For some reason though, when it is mentioned, I get some really weird responses from some people.
“I didn’t breastfeed because unicorns on tuesdays wear purple and I hate purple.”
“I didn’t breastfeed because my boobs like to sparkle and breastfeeding diminishes their shine”
OK great, I’m glad you didn’t breastfeed. I would have been happy with “We just decided formula was best for us”, as more than likely, I’m not going to question why you formula fed, because it’s not my business. I love to judge people, but not for things like that. If you like Justin Beiber, I’m probably going to judge you, because UGH.
People mistake me as crunchy. I babywear. I breastfeed. I cloth diapered. I like attachment parenting. I own an amber teething necklace. No, I don’t think amber teething necklaces work, but I thought it went with the bohemian chic I was going for with my daughters tie dye onsies.
So now, I’m crunchy, and now my decisions I chose for myself; that do not impact others is an affront to some of those who chose not to do those things. It’s kind of annoying, and I’m tired of the parenting wars, because everyone seems a bit crazy.
I learned early on to avoid parenting websites and message boards. Maybe I don’t like other parents, but I just don’t do well with sanctimonious bull, I don’t care what point of view you have.
“If you don’t use a Britax car seat, you don’t care about your child!!!”
“If you don’t breastfeed, your child will suffer!!!”
“If you don’t use this fancy brand bottle, your children will be exposed to cancer!!!”
Yeah that kind of stuff angers me. I don’t do well with it, and it runs rampant in the parenting world.
I want people to quit making assumptions about my beliefs based upon what they think I do with my kid. I want people to quit assuming I like horoscopes and listen to Phish and Bob Marley because my kid on occasion wore a tie dye onesie. Or that I somehow hate formula feeding moms because I breastfed. Or I judge you for owning a stroller. Or using disposable diapers. I am really into science. I’m really not into homeopathy. I don’t think breastmilk will cure all things that ail you. I don’t think that formula is made of poison, nor do I avoid vaccinations. The research I did for myself indicates this is what is great for my kids.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m SUPER LAZY and CHEAP. I’m also a little vain. So I babywear with wraps I think are cute, and I find it super easy to carry a baby in a wrap than I do to haul a heavy infant seat around. I cloth diapered because cloth diapers had really cute prints, I like the fact I never really run out of diapers, and I don’t like PAYING for diapers. The amber teething necklace was a gift. I purchased a nicely reviewed car seat on sale. Part of the reason I breastfed was I didn’t want to clean bottles or check the temperature of formula. I stay at home because I didn’t really like my job and I had the privilege of being able to afford to do so.
Guess what else? As long as you and your kid are happy, I want you to be happy too. I don’t care how you guys achieve that happiness because, as long as you’re not hurting others; you’re probably an awesome parent.
So can we please now stop with the Parent Wars and making a bunch of assumptions about strangers we don’t know simply because they have their kid walking around with an amber teething necklace on tie dye onesie day?
Breastfeeding is definitely easier for me, but breast pumping is hard and I wish I didn’t have to do it sometimes. As a WOHM, disposable diapers are easier for me because it’s one less thing I have to do at home. Most decisions I make now are based on the fact that either I enjoy something or it’s easier than the alternative, now that I think about it. 🙂
The most important thing is, do you like Justin Beiber? If so, I’m judging.
I only like him now that he’s a douchebag. I gotta have standards, you know.
I’ll accept that and reserve my judgment for someone else 🙂
I listen to Phish, and my wife nursed each child for over a year.
Until now, I never suspected that they might be related.
It is related. Phish and breastfeeding go hand in hand, it is like a law you have to listen to Phish while breastfeeding, otherwise the breastfeeding does not count.
I did cloth diapers because I’m cheap. I would have breast fed my son even if there were no other advantages, just so I didn’t have to fumble with a bottle in the middle of the night. So yes, I get the cheap and lazy thing. 🙂
Cheap and lazy is pure awesome. I prefer to do most things this way 🙂
Thank you for adding this perspective!
As charged as these conversations can get, we should be discussing differences with facts, respect, humility, and nuance. Stereotyping large groups of people without acknowledging the massive differences that can exist within that group will ALWAYS get us into trouble.
We did cloth diapers with the girls, but quickly abandoned them when the Grommet arrived because he was capable of creating his body weight in pee every hour.
I made most of my own baby food. Because I’m cheap. I looked at those expensive little jars, and the ingredient labels would say “peaches” and I thought, “Well why would I pay those kinds of prices for something I can do myself just as well?’ So I invested in a Cuisinart, and a few ice cube trays, and soon my freezer was full of containers saying “peaches”, “sweet potatoes”, “carrots”, “peas”, and later on “Spaghetti-Os” and “chicken noodle soup”, etc. I only bought the dry baby cereal. The best advice I ever got from a pediatrician was “feed her what you eat”, so that’s what we did. We didn’t worry about “organic”, I just take what I’d usually get for me, and toss it in the food processor, pack it in an ice-cube tray, and into the freezer. Worked great, and a frozen cube of baby food in a little Tupperware container tossed in the diaper bag in the morning was usually defrosted and ready to go by lunchtime.
Nursing was great and cheap, as long as I was able to stay at home. (Pumping was awful.) And I never had to worry about it being the right temperature, or remember to bring bottles along on an outing, or wash bottles, or anything, so it was cheap and lazy, both.
Huzzah!!!! Thank you so, so much!! I’m just starting to realize how bad this is as people I’ve never met have decided that I really want to know what they think of my Baby Bjorn carrier in the most hyperbolic language available they can muster without getting arrested.
WTF? What’s wrong with a Baby Bjorn carrier?
Or…what do they think is wrong with it?
I was probably not paying enough attention to relay this accurately but it was something like “I don’t want my kids getting hip displacement” (or something). Honestly after the opening salvo, I had trouble hearing her over the headphones I’d turned up to max.
I know! People are so angry about Bjorns!
Delagar, In baby wearing circles the Baby Bjorn and other carriers like that are referred to dismissively as “crotch danglers” and are a big no-no because of the hip dysplasia that Chris mentioned. The thing is, when I was feeling ornry in parenting communities and asked about evidence about that, people would always point me to blog entries and expert articles. . .not actual, oh I don’t know, evidence-based studies. May there are some, maybe not.
I had a baby bjorn and a Maya Wrap, and my little guys just happened to prefer the wrap, so out the bjorn went. Now I use this baby hawk mei tai thing (and I am sadly not referring to the delicious drink of a similar name) with the wrap, and they love it. But I really hate it when people talk to me as if I’m somehow a better mom because I happen to use the same carrier style they do.
It’s all so ridiculous.
When I was pregnant and told everyone I was doing breastfeeding, cloth diapers, making my own baby food, etc… everyone thought I was some crazy hippie and treated me like one. I was like, damnit, no, I’m just a cheap bastard!
Cloth diapering was the best conversation though. Everyone would get grossed out by the laundry (you put FECES IN YOUR WASHING MACHINE?!) or would explain how much extra work it took, and I’d be like.. I’m… my baby vomits and pisses and shits all over his clothes, too… do you just throw your baby’s clothes out whenever this happens? If I had had a bunch of kids the extra laundry would have probably been a pain, but I just did the diapers and his clothes together (couldn’t let any of them sit too long or they’d stain or get moldy, so it isn’t like I ever had a full load just on clothes). I did end up mixing it up with cloth diapers and disposables and eventually switching to disposables in his second year and now for his night time, but it worked well when he was younger. He peed so heavily, cloth and disposable didn’t contain him. I also never went exclusively home made on the food or breastfeeding. Just whatever gave me the least stress at the time, ya know?
I submit “Selfish” to add to “Cheap” and “Lazy”. When I was at home after number 1 (and now that I’m at home ALL THE TIME after number 2) I do all the cutesy crunchy mommy stereotype thingies because I AM BORED and it keeps me busy. When I was working like an insane person while Rose was 1-4 years old I did none of those things. Because, really, half the time it’s about what mommy wants and makes zero difference to the child (not all the time, but half the time at least). I draw the line at cloth nappies though – just not my thing.