The world of online forums, message boards, social-media networks and blogs would have you believe there are two types of mothers — silky and crunchy.
Silky moms may be seen as more traditional; they prefer hospital births, believe in vaccinating, and use disposable diapers, formula and store-bought baby food. Their babies sleep in cribs and usually attend school outside the home. Crunchy moms prefer home or midwife births, use cloth diapers, are against vaccinations and typically nurse their children into toddlerhood. Crunchy parents sleep in the same bed as their babies, often choose homeschooling and believe a child cannot be over-coddled.
I suppose that I — probably like most other mothers — would be a combination of both: a “scrunchy” mom. And as a scrunchy mom, I am a little annoyed by these categories and the women who loudly preach the benefits of strictly adhering to one side or the other. I do think a hospital is the safest place to welcome a little one into the world; I do nurse my daughter, but also supplement with formula; I steer clear of jarred, store-bought baby food, but will not hesitate to fill my shopping cart with Pampers. My daughter sleeps in a crib and will head off to school when she’s old enough; however, I have decided on a slightly modified vaccine schedule — although she will receive all the major immunizations. I do not subscribe to the “cry-it-out” theory, but I am fine with putting my baby down once in a while, and I do plan to foster a sense of independence in her. Children do need to be able to think and act for themselves.
Thanks to online interactions, I’ve encountered mothers from both sides of the equation, although most of my friends are “scrunchy” like me. The conclusion I’ve come to is that listening too intently to devotees of one side or the other leads to serious feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy, not to mention the desire to jump to my own defense and over-explain my parenting choices to anyone within earshot.
So, I’ve decided to stop listening to women who never miss a chance to climb up on their soapboxes and herald their practices. I’m happy these women are confident in their decisions and have found methods that work well for their families. I’m sure they’re good parents who only have their children’s best interests at heart, and I hope they’ll realize the same is true of those who don’t necessarily agree with them on every last principle.
Raising a family involves countless personal choices, and often only a parent knows the factors that led to a particular decision or preference. I don’t feel that it’s my place to judge or attempt to influence anyone’s parenting style. I do, however, appreciate moms who love their children.