You've probably heard of crunchy moms — moms who try to do everything the "natural way." And you may have heard of silky moms, too — moms who value convenience. I've found that I, like most moms, fall somewhere in the middle — or what's called "scrunchy" moms. Most of the time it is pretty awesome to be a scrunchy mom because, well, it's the best of both worlds. Until you encounter a die-hard crunchy or silky mom, of course. Then it seems like you can't win. There are definitely insults all scrunchy moms have heard, and they usually come from people on both sides of the crunchy versus silky aisle. Yes, it's about as pleasant as it sounds.
At different times in my parenting life, I have been on both sides of the so-called mommy wars. When I first became a mom, I was an organic vegetable-growing, herbal tea-drinking, hybrid car-driving, midwife-birthing, documentary-watching, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth-diapering, baby food-making, smoothie-drinking, health food-eating, crunchy mom. That is, of course, until I realized being a crunchy mom just wasn't for me. It was exhausting.
Then I became a science-loving, formula-feeding, sleep-training, disposable diaper-using, research-driven, let-my-kids-have-screen-time-and-cereal-for-dinner silky mom. I realized that I didn't perfectly fit in with that crowd either, though. I still did too many things that made silky moms roll their eyes like raising my kids vegetarian and practicing peaceful parenting.
You would think that having one foot in each camp would mean I would have more mom friends, but I found the exact opposite to be true. Honestly, I have received judgment and mom-shaming from crunchy and silky moms alike. In a perfect world, every parent would be free to raise their kids in a way that works best for their family. Unfortunately, that's just not the case. So, as a result, scrunchy moms can't seem to please anyone and end up hearing the following:
"You Can't Sit With Us"
With a few exceptions (mainly child abuse, spanking, shaming your kids, and not vaccinating), I pretty much think you should "do you" and let me "do me." Unfortunately, there are other moms who don't agree. It's so hard to be unfriended or excluded because I don't really fit in. It's like high school all over again.
"Breast Is Best"
People think they are being factual when they say this, but they really aren't. Yes, breast milk is different than formula and has some advantages for some babies. But in the long-term, there's not much difference at all between formula-fed and breastfed babies. When it comes to individuals, the only person who can decide if breast is best, is you.
"You're Doing It Wrong"
Every day I hear how I am doing something wrong. Honestly, though, parenting is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. I can't possibly be doing it wrong all of the time, right? For instance, people have called me heartless for sleep training, naive for co-sleeping, and reckless for bringing my baby to bed when I am desperate for sleep. So which is it? I sometimes do all of these things during the same night. Does that mean I am heartless, naive, and reckless, or just trying to survive?
I have been called lazy for doing silky things, like letting my kids have screen time after school so I can get a break, and for doing crunchy things, like letting my kids crawl in bed with me so I don't have to take them back upstairs in the middle of the night. I am not lazy, I am tired. There's a difference.
It honestly doesn't matter to me if you are shaming me based on bullsh*t research you did online or a documentary you watched. I really don't care if you think I am doing something that goes against guidelines you have read. It's none of your freaking business. It's honestly not your place to say something, no matter how "uniformed" you think I am.
"Your Kids Should Learn To Respect You"
Meh. Obedience is not a value I hold, and respect needs to be earned. I want my children to learn to be kind and do the right thing because they want to, and because it is the right thing to do, not because they fear me or fear punishment. My responsibility as a parent is to help get them there, not condition them to "respect" me.
"You Failed At Natural Birth"
I wish the phrase "natural birth" would die in a fire. Childbirth is not a competition, and everyone wants and needs different things to get through it. If it was right for you, you were totally doing it right. All births that end with healthy babies are beautiful. Besides, my epidurals weren't natural, my friends. They were totally supernatural.
I've honestly gotten to the point where I unfriend people who comment on my baby's picture asking if he is rear facing in his car seat or why he's sleeping in his stroller. You have no idea about the context of a photograph you see online, and besides, seriously? Leave other moms alone. Unless I ask, I don't want to hear your opinion.
"You Must Not Love Your Kids"
This is about the worst thing you can say to a mom. So, um, could we not? I am so done with the idea that unless a mom parents in the exact same way as you, they are failing. Parenting is like an exhausting, confusing, exhilarating, and joyful "choose your own adventure" book. There are a million ways to do it right, and countless opportunities to try new things and ditch the things you try that don't work. It doesn't matter if you are crunchy, silky, or somewhere in the middle.
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