I Think I’m A Little Crunchy – Are You?

Did you know there’s a type of parent that’s called “crunchy?” Crunchy as in “like a hippie,” not crunchy as in crispy like a cracker. I only found out about two years ago that “crunchy mama” is an actual term, that it means someone who tries to raise their kid in a natural environment marked by organic, chemical-free foods, cleaners, and personal products. They also tend to reuse/repurpose items and are generally trying to keep a healthy, low-impact home.

I think crunchy people used to be called hippies, in a pejorative sense, but now the term crunchy is more positive.

Thank God, because I think I’m kind of becoming a crunchy mom. Sort of semi-crunchy, like a graham cracker left on the counter during the summer.

I never thought I’d be like this … but here I am jumping on the “coconut oil is good for everything bandwagon and all that. Here I am … are you crunchy, too?

When I was a kid, if you got a sunburn maybe you got some aloe rubbed on your burn to soothe it … then again maybe you just waited until it peeled and moved on with life. Now, any time I or my kids burn (and they burn very rarely, probably due to the SPF 50 sunscreen – paraben-free, nanoparticle-free, carcinogen-free – I lather on them anytime they’re in bright sun for more than half an hour) I smooth coconut oil on the burn.

(And hot damn, by the way – coconut oil is the ultimate salve for sunburns, who knew … thanks for the tip, sis! That takes the redness away overnight!)

Maybe one day coconut oil will cure cancer – maybe right now some people think it might? – but for now crunchy moms everywhere use it for everything from homemade sunscreen to a butter replacement in cooking to homemade lotions. It’s kind of a parody … but also kind of true.

Organic milk

Organic cows – do they smell better, too?

I grew up drinking the milk that was available in the grocery store; there was no choice. Now scientists and activists and so many others have learned what hormones fed to cows do to the milk produced for people. You can readily buy hormone-free (rBST-free) milk, which I insist on. But I don’t buy organic milk, even though I feel guilty about not getting it every time I “just” get the rBST-free milk. Should I? Is that a bit sad?

We use paraben-free, sulfate-free, phalate-free shampoo and lotion for my kids, but we use regular soap for our hands and dishes

I buy organic carrots, spinach, and apples but our strawberries, green beans, and everything else are laden with pesticides, I’m sure.

I bought naturally-dyed sprinkles for my kids (because they love sprinkles on their weekend bagel, crazy kids) instead of the terrible horrible no good sprinkles laced with Red #40 etc., just so they don’t get ADHD and all that’s predicted if they’re inundated with artificial food dyes.

Whenever I can, I make toys and crafts for my girls – partly for cost reasons but also so we don’t end up buying cheap, plasticy-smelling crap made in China. I also don’t want our home overtaken by toys. Yes … mostly this is a pipe dream, but the intentions are there.

Is it enough?

I think parents always think that, don’t we? I think this “crunchy mama” movement has come about because we’re trying so hard to give our kids the best they can get. (And let’s face it – we know what wins the pesticides vs. no pesticides game.)

Maybe I resent the term because I don’t want to be thought of as a hippie. I’m more rural recluse than berserk Berkeley. I just want to be healthier and raise healthy kids. (Don’t we all?) I guess, maybe based on my childhood experiences, that I’d never be like this. (And who knows what I’ll be like in five years?!)

While I don’t want anyone to call me crunchy, I’ll keep trying to buy organic when I can and get or make natural products. Raw, local honey, anyone?!

Where do you stand on the crunchy spectrum? Are you soft or crunchy? Do you like where you stand?

22 thoughts on “I Think I’m A Little Crunchy – Are You?

  1. I think I’m probably a goldfish that you found between the booster seat and the chair that’s been there for an undisclosed period of time. We use expensive(ish) skin products, but just because he’s had skin issues before. I’m not picky about milk, as long as it lasts more than a couple days. Our fresh veggies *may* be tainted with polluted water, but I try not to think about it. We all gotta go sometime, right? And if that’s while eating the freshest tomatoes in Italy, then okay.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have thought about this a lot. On one hand, I had natural childbirth–including one homebirth–exclusive and extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, I stayed home for at least a while, I babywore instead of using a stroller for at least the first few months, and I at least tried to be into natural foods, toys, and personal products. On the other hand, my kids are fully vaccinated and attend public school, and I went back to work full-time before the younger one was out of diapers, and we’ve had, at best, mixed success with the natural foods and toys and personal products.

    What this means is that I am not crunchy by Internet standards, but I am crunchy by real-life-parent standards. I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I usually avoid the labels after seeing how they’re used in mom groups, “This makes me a better mom than XYZ” type thing.

    But if I had to label myself, I’d call myself “stale granola” on the crunchy scale. We buy the hormone free milk, are trying to shift to buying foods/snacks that aren’t artificially colored (some things still are, but we’re more conscientious of it…not that I’ve seen any differences with my ADHD kid), more whole grain foods, organic produce where we can (since sometimes it might be too expensive). We still have McDonald’s and crap like that (just not as much), and I’d never do cloth diapers, so definitely very stale granola on the crunchy scale.

    One thing I’ve done differently with the toddler is stay away from battery powered toys as much as possible. Outside of a few items purchased by grandparents, everything she has to play fuels her imagination, rather than entertaining her.

    Now I’m off to get some of this coconut oil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Best response ever!!! 🙂
      I wish I’d thought of your description for myself: stale granola on the crunchy side … yep! You are exactly describing where I am.
      I really like your plan to avoid battery-powered toys. I see that making a huge difference as my oldest ages. Her imagination is HUGE and she’d rather do role-play than anything else (or ballet, of course). I see Squish getting addicted to technology already because she sees her older sister sometimes use it – and my in-laws give her their phone to play with all the time.

      Coconut oil is actually the for real deal!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • We had so many battery powered toys for LM. This was when the Baby Genius stuff was big, and half the toys had English and Spanish versions. While it probably isn’t fair to compare since kids are so different, the difference between their creativity/imaginations at the same age is astounding. BG gets to watch some TV and play on my phone some, but it’s very limited. And yeah, my MIL believes she should get the tablet ALL the time, which has caused some issues!

        Liked by 1 person

          • For real. I can always detect a mood shift whenever BG spends more than her allotted 20-25 minutes watching a TV show/screen time. My MIL tries to say that the’s mad because I’m taking away her control, which is why she should apparently get unlimited screen, but there is plenty of research that shows how screens can have a drug-like effect on the brain. Same with LM, even when he turns it off himself, he’s always moody when he plays/watches too much. I read an article earlier this week talking about how parents are doing their kids a disservice by limiting screen, since it apparently will put them behind since tech is the way of the future *rolls eyes*

            Liked by 1 person

            • Wow …Good for you for standing your ground! Now that you mention it, I see my oldest getting a bit pissy, for lack of a better word, when she’s had too much TV time. Sometimes I let her watch 2 Sofia episodes, so that’s 46min. Oops. That’s too much!! Usually it’s when I’m trying to get something done (cleaning or writing an email, ugh… bad mommy). Mostly she wants to play pretend after watching TV – acting out what happened in the episode or movie, but sometimes she gets snippy!
              I’m sure kids will be able to handle tech as they grow up… We still want their brains to grow properly!!

              Liked by 1 person

              • It’s funny, because if they watch a movie rarely do they get all moody, but it’s different with TV shows/games. Maybe because the later is jumping around from topic/focus so much? Hmm.

                Haha, sometimes we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do to get a few minutes. As much as I dislike too much screen, we have more when I’m sick or having a bad mood day. (But still nowhere close to MIL levels.)


                Liked by 1 person

                • Yeah, some days you’re just like, “holy eff, I need 15 minutes to prepare dinner/clean up this mess/etc and you guys are going to drive me to insanity if I don’t quiet you down via screen time.” We all need that “break” sometimes!!! :/ It’s life….

                  I find the same thing with movies versus TV shows… weird!!

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. My other mom friends consider me to be crunchy, and for awhile I referred to myself as a crunchy mama. Recently, however, I have started to think maybe leaving a label off of myself will be encouraging to another mama who maybe doesn’t know where she falls on the crunchy scale.

    In the end, whether we’re crunchy, scrunchy, or silky, we are all just mamas doing the best we can for our babies.


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