Updated: Oct 22, 2019
Being Natural in a Mainstream World
It is hard. Plain and simple.
Choosing the more natural route for your family when pretty much everyone you know is mainstream.
Maybe you grew up mainstream and so your family doesn't get your choices. Maybe your best friend is mainstream and doesn't understand why you won't feed your kids boxed mac and cheese. Maybe your social network friends don't get why you post so much about your natural lifestyle and gentle parenting.
Parenting is hard work. Add in trying to live a lifestyle that is not supported as a norm and it gets really challenging.
It is hard being the mom that says no to sweets at a party. It is hard being the mom that homeschools. The mom that doesn't punish her kids with timeouts. The mom that bedshares with more than one kid.
5 Things You Wish Mainstream Moms Would Understand (About Crunchy Mommas)
We share information to help. When we share information on natural birth or baby led weaning or even on the dangers of not using a car seat safely, it is just that, information. We share in hopes that it will get someone else thinking about what is best for their family. The more that we know, the better we can choose to do.
Breast is best. This is not a fight because it is the truth. We fight for our rights to breastfeed and share information and even brelfies (breastfeeding selfies) to spread awareness. Breastfeeding is such a natural thing and yet we are told we should hide in a bathroom or that we are being immodest, or my favorite--"Can't you just pump and give a bottle?" Actually no, I can't pump. Until that ends, we will spread awareness. Also this is not at all to shame or bash people who use formula.
When we say our kid cannot have something that your kid can, stop feeling judged (and stop judging us). Many kids have sensitivities to sweets or gluten or even food dyes. We don't always want to get into it, and we don't want our kid to get a complex. So trust us that we do it, not to appear superior, but with our kid's best interests in mind.
Gentle parenting is not permissive parenting. Setting boundaries in a gentle, respectful way is not the same as permissive parenting. Sometimes you may see our children questioning or even negotiating with us and you may think they are out of line, but we are raising our children to be adult leaders one day and these skills are vital to adulthood, albeit challenging in children. Having our children simply obey is not our goal. We want to foster a relationship with them that is deep and filled with grace and love and respect.
Using cloth diapers is not gross! Okay, sometimes it is. But the cuteness way outweighs the gross factor. The patterns, the prints, and oh that fluff bum! We get excited about new diapers, we enjoy diaper laundry, and yes we don't mind getting out hands dirty. It is part of being a momma.
Obviously there are many things that can be added to this list. The point is we do what we feel is best for our family, just like any other mom does. What we do may look different, it may even seem counter cultural, but for us it is following our instincts and doing right for our family.
Just like no two people are alike, no two mommas will do the exact same things. Even among crunchy circles, some homeschool and some public school, some use cloth and others choose to use elimination communication, some use pacifiers and others don't. We are all different and our parenting styles reflect that.
Every choice we make is out of love for our children. No matter if you feel you identify as mainstream, or crunchy, or somewhere in between, make sure you do all things in love.