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What is a “Crunchy Mom,” and Are You One?

What is a crunchy mom and how do you get that label? Today we will explore what it means to be a crunchy mama and discuss how this parenting style compares to other modern parenting philosophies.

Image of woman holding a baby in a body wrap, holding a bouquet of flowers. Text: What is a crunchy mom?

What is a Crunchy Mom?

The term “crunchy mom” has been tossed around for years, but what does it even mean?

Well, it really comes down to who you ask, but the general definition of being a crunchy mom can be summed up as this:

A mother who values her natural instincts as a parent, and works hard to live an environmentally responsible lifestyle that supports both her family’s health and the planet for future generations.

Some of the most common traits include breastfeeding, natural childbirth, using cloth diapers, making baby food from scratch, and homeschooling.

That being said, being “crunchy” or “granola” is a spectrum, and depending on your parenting choices you may be considered to be moderate or an extremist.

Basically, some crunchy moms are what you would consider being “crunchier” than others.

It’s all about what you do and what feels right for your family.

It is simply a label that applies to parents who choose natural parenting methods over mainstream practices like formula feeding or disposable diapers.

While there is no initiation process for the Crunchy Mom Club, there are many parenting choices that are considered to be “more natural” and therefore may earn you the label of crunchy mom whether it’s warranted or not.

Related Post: Enjoying Motherhood [How to Love Being a Mom When it’s Hard]

A mom holds her baby in a body wrap, standing in a field with soft sunlight.

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21 Signs You’re a Crunchy Mom

If you’re wondering whether or not you are a crunchy mama, take a few minutes to answer the questions below.

The more questions you answer with a yes, the more likely it is that you are a follower of this all-natural parenting lifestyle.

I like to call this game, “You Know You’re a Crunchy Mom If…”

1. You Prepare Homemade Baby Food

Making homemade baby food is a crunchy mom staple, and one of the first signs that someone may be considered to be on board with natural parenting methods.

While many moms today are purchasing store-bought purees for convenience’s sake, those who choose to make their own from scratch using fresh ingredients typically do so out of concern for what exactly is going into their baby’s body.

2. You Use Cloth Diapers

There are a few reasons you have chosen to do this- the first being that you believe cloth diapers are better for the environment, and the second being that they reduce your baby’s exposure to chemicals found in disposable diapers.

3. You Hoped for a Natural Birth at Home

A crunchy mama is more likely to choose all-natural home birth over a hospital birth when there are no contraindications. Perhaps you hoped for a home birth, but if that wasn’t possible you did what was best for your baby and chose to give birth in a midwife-led birthing center that is staffed by a team of certified professionals.

4. You Believe in Attachment Parenting

This philosophy encourages parents to form close and loving bonds with their children using techniques like baby-wearing and co-sleeping.  The Attachment Parenting Style is hallmarked by what is known as “responsive” or “gentle parenting.” Instead of letting your baby fuss in their crib, you hold them close to you and comfort them when they cry.

5. You Breastfed Your Baby for as Long as Possible

You firmly believe that breast milk is the best possible nutrition for your baby and you did what you could to nurse them until they were ready to wean.  This could mean breastfeeding until they were six months old, a year old, or even longer!

6. You Follow Baby-Led Weaning

Most kids are introduced to solid foods at the age of six months, but those who practice baby-led weaning believe that there is no need to start solids before a baby’s first birthday. The philosophy is that if you give babies what they want (when they show signs of being ready to eat solid foods) and what they need (it’s what mama is eating), then there will be no picky eating.

7. You Believe Co-Sleeping is Best

Co-sleeping is common around the world, but it’s not quite as popular in the US.  This is because many Americans believe that a separate space to sleep will help babies and parents. However, many crunchy moms believe that this practice helps babies feel secure, and can even improve parent-child bonding.

8. You Use Coconut Oil for Everything

A moisturizer for the skin, as an oil pulling agent, or a deep conditioning treatment for your hair – you love the stuff! You’re concerned about the toxic chemicals in many bath and body products and their impact on your delicate baby’s skin. You also love the anti-fugal and anti-viral properties of this all-natural ingredient.

9. Your Family Eats Organic Food as Much as Possible

You know that what you eat has a direct impact on your baby’s health, so you’re doing what you can to give them the best. This means that your family eats organic food as much as possible- not just because it’s better for you, but also because you feel it is better for the environment.

10. You Use Essential Oils

You’ve made the switch from using what you find on store shelves to what your grandmother used in essential oils. You use them for cleaning, treating minor skin irritations, and even to help you relax after a long day.

Related Post: How to make your Laundry Smell Really Good, Naturally

11. Your Kids Are Exposed to the Outdoors Daily

From a young age, you’ve been exposing your kids to the outdoors. This could mean going on walks in the park, taking nature hikes, or even just playing in your backyard. You believe that being outside is crucial for a child’s physical and mental health.

12. You Make Your Own Non-Toxic Cleaning Supplies

Your home is chemical-free and you do what you can to keep it that way. To clean your bathrooms, kitchen, and floors, you use what you make yourself. Your pantry is your go-to place to find cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda.

13. You Have a Garden

You’re what some people call a “foodie” and you believe it’s important to grow your own food.  You have a garden where you grow your own vegetables, fruits, and even some of the herbs you use in homemade remedies. You know what goes into each plant that grows in your garden, and you can be sure that they’re pesticide-free.

14. You Love Baby-Wearing

You’re what some people call a “crunchy mom” and you have the baby-wearing part down. You never leave your baby’s side without them being close to you. You’ve worn them in a wrap, sling, or carrier since they were born.

15. You Might Be Selective When it Comes to Vaccines

You’re not what some people would call a “vaccine skeptic,” but you do believe that parents should be selective when it comes to vaccinating their children. You believe that some vaccines are necessary, while others might not be as important.

16. You Use Natural Remedies to Treat Illnesses and Ailments

Your go-to for treating illnesses and ailments are natural remedies. You might use essential oils, herbal remedies,  or what you find in your pantry to treat minor medical issues and sicknesses. You avoid over-the-counter and modern medicines whenever possible.

Related Post: The Best Immune Support Boosters for Kids

17. You Homeschool Your Children

Traditional school isn’t what you want for your children and that’s why you plan to homeschool them. You believe it’ll give them a better education than what they would get in a public or private school. You also feel that it’s important for them to be around their siblings and spend more time with you. Plus, you can learn math, literature, and science through everyday activities like cooking and playing.

18. You Limit the use of Electronic Devices

You believe that kids should spend more time playing outside, not glued to a screen. You limit what electronic devices your kids can use on a daily basis, and what they’re allowed to watch on TV. You encourage them to get up from their screens every once in a while for some screen-free “outdoor playtime.”

19. You Avoid Plastics Whenever Possible

You might use stainless steel water bottles or glass storage containers instead of the plastic ones you find in the store. You might even avoid microwaving food in plastic containers or using straws and utensils with BPA. You do your best to be plastic-free and you encourage others to do the same.

20. You Recycle Everything

You do what you can to limit the amount of waste you create. You recycle what you can and even reuse household items, like old t-shirts as cleaning rags or packing materials when shipping things to friends and family.

21. You Support Environmental Causes

Reducing your carbon footprint, conserving energy, and preserving our planet’s resources are important to you. You might support an environmental cause, like the Sierra Club or Greenpeace. Or, you might volunteer your time to help clean up a local park or beach.

Frequently Asked Questions – Different Kind of “Mom Styles”:

What is a Silky Mom?

A Silky Mom is a mom who follows modern commercial trends.

She is all about products that make her life easier without a second thought about what it’s made from or where it came from.

She follows the advice of her pediatrician without second-guessing a thing. In fact, she leaves most decisions up to whatever the current experts are saying and doesn’t feel the need to research every aspect of each decision along the way.

She knew she would have an epidural before she even got pregnant and believes breastfeeding is only something they did in the olden days.

Obviously, this is an over-exaggeration, but in short, a “silky mom” is someone who does what is popular and easy without much consideration to anything else…basically the complete opposite of a crunchy mom.

What is a Scrunchy Mom?

A “scrunchy mom” is a new phrase used to describe moms who are party silky and part crunchy.

They are okay with using modern and natural methods when taking care of themselves and their families.

Scrunchy moms don’t subscribe to one parenting style, but instead, use what works for them on a case-by-case basis.

Some days they might be all about the organic food and homeschooling, while other days they may let their kids play with an iPad for a few hours.

They aren’t afraid to try new things and don’t feel the need to label themselves as one type of mom or another.

Also known as semi-crunchy.

Conclusion:

As you can see, being a crunchy mom is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

How these choices play out in real-life will vary widely from family to family.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as what it means to be a crunchy mom can vary from family to family.

From breastfeeding to baby-wearing, and homeschooling to recycling there are so many decisions for modern parents to make.

The most important thing we can do as moms is to support each other no matter what. 

Using labels leads to division and judgment, which isn’t helpful to anyone.

Instead, we should work together to make all moms feel like whatever decisions they make they are doing what’s best for their families.

2 Comments

  1. Wow. I just found your site and I gotta tell ya, I won’t be back. Your explanations for these terms were full of judgements, in my opinion. Very high horse. Then, you throw in right at the end how we shouldn’t label because it leads to judgment and division.

    I’m pretty crunchy myself but I didn’t use to be because I didn’t know any better. No one in my family or circle of friends did things this way & we’re talking pre- internet explosion. Idk what I would have had to do to learn this stuff then since I had no female mentors to help guide me to the natural or old ways of doing things that I absolutely love now.

    Sometimes people learn things the hard way or follow a different path that leads them exactly where they need to be in the end. They don’t need to be mocked or criticized for their journey.

    Best of luck to you. May you continue to grow & learn.

    1. I am saddened that you felt this article included any judgement whatsoever. My goal was simply to share some commonalities that some mothers have who seek this method of parenting and way of life.

      I was actually surprised by your comments since I felt that this article was very positive and helpful – I consider myself a “crunchy mom” and based this post off of the things that I did as a young mother that many people did not agree with.

      If you refer to the opening of the post I share my personal definition which was, “A mother who values her natural instincts as a parent, and works hard to live an environmentally responsible lifestyle that supports both her family’s health and the planet for future generations.” – To me that seems very positive and supportive.

      I wish all mothers the best regardless of their parenting choices and my desire is to support any woman looking to simplify their life and enjoy parenting more. No judgement, just love – Wishing you the best!

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