Crunchy parenting. What?

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If I had to tick off boxes based on Are You A Little Crunchy Too’s “What is Crunchy Parenting?” post, I’d say I’m preeeeeeeeeety crunchy. LOL. Want to find out what being a crunchy parent means? Read on to find out!

Here’s a general list (found on the link above) of the things a cruncy parent would do. And I’ve put my answers (in bold and italic) next to the questions.

  • Attachment Parenting checked
  • Co-Sleeping checked
  • Baby Wearing checked
  • cloth diapering nope
  • Elimination communication barely there
  • natural birth checked
  • home birth nope, not thaaaat crunchy
  • water birth checked
  • delayed cord clamping checked
  • breastfeeding checked
  • extended breastfeeding checked
  • delayed vaccination checked
  • selective vaccination nope
  • vaccination exempt checked
  • holistic medicine checked
  • alternative health checked
  • Veg/Vegan nope
  • Tree Hugging drug free Hippy Mama 99% there
  • Homeschooling/Unschooling checked almost there with alternative schooling
  • Natural Products checked
  • Toxin Aware checked
  • Plastic Free 50% there
  • No Cry It Out checked
  • No Spanking checked
  • Peaceful parenting checked
  • Minimalist most of the time
  • Free Range Children checked
  • Child Led learning checked
  • TV Free almost there
  • Limited Media checked
  • Eco-Friendly Home 50% there
  • Buy WAHM checked
  • Buy Small Business checked
  • Buy Local checked
  • Travel Green (On foot or Bike or bus) *guilty* nope
  • Organic Gardening LOL NOPE, no green fingers here
  • Buy Organics First checked
  • Poison Free Homes almost there
  • Midwife Care checked
  • No Circumcision we have no sons but we don’t agree with circumcision
  • Handmade checked
  • Activism checked
  • Human Rights / Animal Right 50% there
  • Active Parenting checked

Now that’s quite a few “checks” there and add the “half way/ nearly there”, I realised I have somehow unknowingly fallen in to the “phenomenon” of crunchy parenting. To be honest, I never knew there was an actual term for parents like me, until I keep sighting the term in one of my parenting forums.

My parenting style has always been a “controversial” topic within my side of the family, alternative methods and mainstream ways don’t seem to get along somehow, but that’s another story for another day. Despite that, I have over time learned to trust my own maternal instinct. I didn’t just decide to jump on the crunchy parenting bandwagon, but most of what crunchy parenting depicts are what I’ve been practicing all along anyway.

I was having a meaningful conversation with a dear friend the other day and we got into the topic of parenting. She asked, “how do you know if you’re doing the best you can for your children?” If I was asked this question a couple of years back, I would have pondered on it, come up with a thousand ‘what ifs’ and begin doubting my capability as a mother. Fast forward 4 years, after numerous ups and downs in my parenting journey, I answered her without a second thought, and I said, “There is no perfect parenting, you just have to do your best to nurture them according to their natural needs, and that’s the best you can do for your children and as a parent. No one else knows your child better than you, not even your parents, your grandaunt, nor your doctor.” And I think that is exactly what crunchy parenting is about.

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All those baby wearing, breastfeeding, no crying it out, co-sleeping, etc are really about nurturing according to nature. Babies are born to be loved, cuddle close to mom (or dad), and drink human’s milk (of course if under unfortunate circumstances a mother is unable to breastfeed, she shouldn’t feel guilty about it, because life is never perfect). I’ve been told I’d be spoiling my babies by carrying and wearing them all the time, and not giving them enough nutrients if I extend breastfeeding (apparently nutrients in breastmilk depreciates after six months according to doctors… Well then, everyone should stop drinking cow’s milk because cows are milked for more than a few years in average, and mass market milk are filled with unnecessary antibiotics, pus and what not. Ugh. Again another story for another day).

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Co-sleeping is one of the best thing we’ve decided to do
Eating organic? It’s not that we’re being hippy or OTT, it’s about going back to what is natural, what is basic. Our ancestors have always eaten organically grown produce from their own farm, it wasn’t until not-so-recently that farm crops became heavily sprayed with unnaturally harmful chemicals and pesticides (and you wonder why more and more people are dying from cancer). If you ask me, I’d rather pay the farmer for health that comes naturally than pay the doctor for health that comes in a bottle or syringe. But but but, having said that, it’s not always affordable to buy organic, we just buy whatever we can afford to, and it’s okay to not eat organic if budget is a constrain. We just do the best we can according to our own budget.
Unschooling/ homeschooling/ alternative schooling. Why do crunchy parents aim to stay away from common education systems? Reason is because our mainstream education system does NOT nurture according to nature. It’s a one size fits all, and all size fit one concept. Ken Robinson said in his famous TED talks on education, that schooling kills creativity. Why? Because mainstream schooling is about learning within a specifically set boundary. Unschooling/ homeschooling/ and some of the alternative schooling systems like Waldorf, Reggio, and Montessori offer a wider scope of learning experience. These “other” schooling methods actually nurture according to nature, embracing that each child is different and that it is best to work according to the child’s passion and interest so that they will become the best they can be in whatever they chose to be, instead of being a jack of all trades and master of none, like most mainstream school children are.
And with regards to holistic medicine or alternative health care, I find from my personal experience that alternative health care practitioners are generally more knowledgeable about your well being than medical doctors are. No offence to doctors out there (and the one in the house). It’s not that medical doctors do not care, it’s just that they are not equipped with adequate knowledge about preventive health care. They are trained to treat, not prevent. Many doctors think it’s absolutely fine to take paracetamol (acetaminophen) for everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. I clearly remember (when I didn’t know better) the nurses at the hospital prescribed me twenty strips of paracetamol to help me with my postpartum recovery. My father is a retired doctor, hence I grew up taking paracetamol for a lot of things and it just didn’t occur to me that twenty strips of it is actually CRAZY! Too much acetaminophen actually causes liver damage according to a Forbes article (and numerous other scientific studies). And to think that I finished almost all of it except for one strip. Sigh, if only I’d bother to read a bit more on my own instead of relying on medical professionals who almost always view our body’s natural immune system as flawed when in actual fact, it can be almost perfect if you know how to care for it.

Crunchy parenting is, in my opinion, overrated because really, it should be the basis of all parenting practices. Why? Because crunchy parenting is what feels natural, it is a way of life according to nature. Dr Andrew Wakefield once said in a radio interview, “Trust your instincts, maternal instincts in particular. The reason we’re on this earth now, is because of maternal instinct. It is one of the most powerful forces of nature. It has equipped us for survival, far more so than any public health, medicine, or anything like that.” My maternal instinct tells me I’m on the right track being crunchy, and to see my little free-range warriors growing up healthily and happily is all the indication I need to know that I am doing the best I can for them.

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2 thoughts on “Crunchy parenting. What?

  1. “of course if under unfortunate circumstances a mother is unable to breastfeed, she shouldn’t feel guilty about it, because life is never perfect” Thank you, you beautiful, beautiful mama you. I was unfortunately one of these mothers, and it broke my heart. What made it worse, was the abuse I received from a lot of other “crunchy” mothers because no matter how green or earth conscious I was, if I didn’t breastfed, I wasn’t part of the “cool club”. This post really made feel so much better, so thank you.

    1. Don’t be too harsh on yourself dear. We all face different obstacles and we have no right to judge others without knowing the battles they have had to fought reaching that decision or situation. Hugs! 🙂

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