When I first became a mom, I tried hard to fit in with the crunchy crowd. I tried baby-wearing, bed sharing, and breastfeeding, but I got some serious side-eye because I vaccinated my kids, didn't buy organic, used formula, and sent my kids to day care. So, I tried to be a modern, silky mom, but they silently judged me for my 10 baby carriers, peaceful discipline, and plant-based diet. I learned there's a name for moms like me — scrunchy — as well as a few things us scrunchy moms should say to the haters.
First and foremost, enough with the judgement already. Being a new mom is hard enough without the constant fear that you're not doing the "right" things the "right" way. Trying to be a "perfect parent" is freaking exhausting, especially since everyone seems to have their own definition of "perfect." I'd much rather be a hot mess mom, and by "hot mess" I basically mean a human being. In so many ways, being a mom is like finding your table in the high school lunchroom. Only, there are so many mom groups so set in their ways that when you dare to do something differently they take one look at you and say, "You can't sit with us."
I honestly have no desire to try to fit in with the cool kids anymore. I am a grown-ass adult. Besides, if there's one true thing about parenting, it's that what works for you,might not necessarily work for someone else. I've found that being a mom is so much easier when I do what works for me and try not to judge other people. The haters from both extremes might dislike me, but that's OK. I have a few responses prepared, including the following:
"Fed Is Best"
Seriously, fed is best. Breast milk and formula are both awesome. I have breastfed, formula-fed, combo-fed, pumped, used a supplemental nursing system, and used bottles. Please don't judge me, whether I whip out a breast or a bottle to feed my baby. If I choose to feed my baby in a way that is different from you and your choice, it in no way implies that I think your choice is bad. It just means that what works for you probably doesn't work for me.
"Kids Are Humans, Too"
Every time I post on the internet about my children having bodily autonomy, the comments are bad, you guys. I have no clue why it's so hard for some people to wrap their heads around the idea that kids deserve to have complete control over their bodies, with few exceptions for health and hygiene. I don't spank my kids, didn't circumcise my sons, don't make my kids give hugs or kisses, and I won't even pierce my daughter's ears without her permission. Haters think that means we have no rules or my kids control the house, but that's not the case. It just means I respect my children as human beings.
"Why Do You Care?"
When a silky mom learns that my partner and I use cloth diapers, she almost always say one of two things. It's either, "Ewww gross," or, "Did you know that cloth diapers are not good for the environment?" When crunchy moms realizes we sometimes use disposables, she almost always tell me about chemicals and landfills.
My response to both? "Unless you're offering to change him, why do you care what my baby poops in?"
"Don't Be So Afraid"
So many crunchy moms (that I know, at least) live in so much fear. I get it, because as a new mom I was scared, too. However, please trust me when I say that life is so much better when you can relax.
Plus, I am so done with people fear-mongering about things that are really not worth worrying over. Everything is a chemical (literally), GMOs are safe (check out this report by National Academies of Science), and according to this research from Stanford University, "organic" foods are not healthier for children, just more expensive. Formula is safe and healthy. Sugar won't make your kids hyper and diet soda won't make you fat. Don't believe me? Hey, that's cool. Go ahead and live in fear, I will be over here drinking a diet soda and eating a pop-tart, completely relaxed while I feed my healthy baby formula.
"Why Work Harder When You Can Work Smarter?"
B*tches get stuff done. Sometimes, they put their baby in a sling and write articles, and sometimes they put their baby in a jogging stroller and train for a half-marathon. Sometimes, they hand their baby to their partner, because they seriously need a break. Scrunchy moms have all kinds of tools in their parenting tool boxes, because we are too smart to limit ourselves for the sake of "fitting in."
"Health And Safety Come First"
It doesn't matter what is "trendy" when the health and safety of my kids is on the line. That means my partner and I vaccinate our kids and take them to the doctor when they get sick. It also means that we rear-face their car seats until they are too big for the weight and height limits. We don't bed-share anymore, because research shows that it can be dangerous (and also, it really sucks to be kicked in the face at some ungodly hour in the morning), but we still sleep with our baby in the same room, because according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, co-sleeping has been shown to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
"It Takes A Village"
Scrunchy moms know that it's not only OK to send our kids to school or daycare so we can go to work, it's also OK to stay home and interact with other badass moms on the internet. It takes a village, and that village might look different at different stages, and different than our mother's village.
"All Births Are Badass"
Birth is badass, no matter how you do it. Haters might look down on me for having a certified nurse midwife, but it was really the best of both worlds. Other haters might say I was weak for getting an epidural, but my epidurals were empowering and made me feel strong. Unmedicated births are awesome, but so are the the inductions, the births with epidurals, the births assisted by instruments, the planned and emergency c-sections, and everything in between.
"Stop The Judgement Already"
Don't judge me, and stop judging each other. Seriously. I hear so much judgment and mom-shaming from my crunchy and silky mom friends. As a scrunchy mom, I can tell you that you will be way happier if you stop associating your parenting style with a perceived "ideal" motherhood, just because it happens to work for you. There's more than one way to birth, feed, diaper, nurture, and love a child. It's time we all recognize that we're just human beings, trying to raise tiny humans in an imperfect world.