Believe it or not, "scrunchy" moms aren't actually named after those beloved fabric elastics for our hair we wore in the '80s, although it would be amazing if they made a comeback. Scrunchy moms are not quite crunchy moms (think natural living) nor are they silky moms (think modern conveniences), but a mixture of the two. I hadn't heard the term before last week, so I was delighted to find a word to describe how I parent. So, on behalf of mamas like me, I'll share some things every "scrunchy" mom needs you to know.
"Take what works for you and leave the rest" has been my motherhood motto from the very beginning. Frankly, I don't think any parenting method is an "all or nothing" proposal. At least, I'm not going to look at it that way. Plus, when it comes to individual kids and their unique moms, there's no such thing as "one size fits all." I'm going to do my research and figure out what's best for me and my family. As a result, I breastfed and supplemented with formula. I made my own baby food, but I use disposable diapers. My grocery cart contains both organic strawberries and frozen pizza.
Scrunchy moms generally prefer that their children's environments be natural and organic, but they realize that's a tall order so they are not above making necessary compromises. Sure, I guess you could call that lifestyle choice "noncommittal," but I say it's having the best of both worlds.
We Weigh The Costs And Benefits Of Unmedicated Childbirth
I always assumed I'd get an epidural. When I attended my birthing class, however, I learned that an unmedicated birth would allow me more freedom during labor and help me avoid medical interventions. Pushing in a standing or squatting position sounded pretty good and, yes, natural to me.
However, scrunchy lady that I am, I never took anesthesia off the table. I ended up being very glad I didn't, too, because my labor was 29 hours long. After 20 hours, I'd had enough and I asked for the drugs. It made the rest of the experience a whole lot more pleasant.
We Think Fed Is Best
I don't think you'll find a lot of militant breastfeeders or hard-core formula moms in the scrunchy crowd. In general, I'd say scrunchy moms favor nursing because of its many benefits. However, if they have low supply, baby isn't gaining enough weight, or breastfeeding just becomes too physically and emotionally draining, they won't hesitate to offer a bottle of pumped milk or formula. In fact, plenty of moms rock the breastfeeding/formula combo.
We Embrace A Cloth Vs. Disposable Compromise
I totally get the appeal of cloth diapers (both the environmental benefits as well as comfort for your baby). Once I learned that cloth diapers involved some kind of a toilet stick, it was a no go. However, convenient disposable diapers can also come with a large helping of guilt. Scrunchy moms who want to split the difference often opt for eco-friendly options.
We Buy Organic As Much As Possible
We want to protect our kids from pesticides and other harmful chemicals, but we're probably not as strict as granola moms. I always buy organic dairy, meat, and fruits and veggies that make up the "Dirty Dozen." I don't worry about bananas because they have such a thick peel.
Sometimes my budget doesn't allow for all organic purchases, so I have to prioritize. I'd love to buy more local, but our farmer's market only has four stands (and one of them is a wood-fired pizza food truck).
We Use Slings And Carseat Carriers
I had a full car seat and stroller system, as well as a Baby Bjorn and a Moby. I never felt really secure with a wrap, and the Bjorn offered the structure I was looking for. I loved having my baby close to me, but it was also nice not to have to wake her and just plop the whole car seat carrier into the shopping cart and go on our merry way.
We Do Co-Sleeping And Crib Sleeping
I knew that the safest place for my baby (at least for the first six months) was right next to me, but I was concerned that bed sharing might be dangerous. We kept our little girl in a bassinet by our bed for the first half of her first year, at which point we transferred her to a crib in her own room.
We Probably Won't Homeschool
Yeah, I'm scrunchy, but I'm also a former teacher. I still believe the public school system has a lot to offer and, until proven otherwise, is the best option for my child. I think socialization is important, as well as time apart so that my child can learn what the world will eventually be like without mom by her side each and every day. I want to be involved in my daughter's education, but I'd rather volunteer to chaperone a field trip than be headmistress of her one-child schoolhouse.
We Vaccinate Our Kids
Most scrunchy moms vaccinate their kids and according to the Center for Disease Control schedule. We know that vaccines don't cause autism, and that the study claiming that correlation has been widely discredited. We see outbreaks of measles and mumps and shake our heads. We don't take everything our pediatricians say as gospel, mind you, but we know our kids are better off protected from devastating, life-threatening, and totally preventable disease.