How to Become an Un-crunchy Mom

Last summer I spent a good portion of my time cooking vegetarian dinners with vegetables made from my mother’s garden. I specifically remember layering an eggplant lasagna and sprinkling the top with fresh basil and rosemary.

I became a member of my local health food store, went to yoga classes almost weekly, and ranted about Monsanto’s unethical business practices. I even brought home a New York Times article which outlined the different foods we buy at the grocery store that aren’t “real,” made copies, and distributed them in my parents’ home (you might want to check out what your grated cheese is made from…).

That same summer my husband and I began talking about having a baby and I was certain I would carry over all of this wonderful knowledge and passion about food and the environment into motherhood with me.

And just so I’m clear…

It's easy to be a crunchy mom

For those of you wondering what a “crunchy” person is, I would describe them as a natural living enthusiast, interested in things such as organic gardening, ethically produced clothing, environmentally friendly practices, and conscience consumerism. There’s more to it that I’m missing, I’m sure, but that’s the gist. For an awesome description, and a take on a new breed of mom, check out this article from mom-to-be, Felicia, at Word Vomit Mom Blog.

Along with these practices, I also had a strong aversion to some modern medicines and doctors in general and had plans to give birth naturally; no drugs, no drips, no injections, nothing. I’m pretty sure my OB laughed at me after I left the office that day. I really thought, within my heart, that I could go without any pain management.

Which is just tremendously hilarious.

This is not to say that crunchy moms are wrong, or that what they’re doing is a waste of time. Actually, I feel quite the opposite. I admire their dedication. I wish I had the enthusiasm I once had for things like cloth diapers or compost piles. I wanted to do these things, but now that I’m in the thick of it, I simply cannot.

Here’s where I started to un-crunch: The delivery room.

Nothing, absolutely nothing can prepare a first time mother for the pain she is about to endure with her first delivery. And rightly so. I’m not sure I wouldn’t have done it (No, I totally would’ve).


I’m holding tight during labor (really tight; my husband and mother’s hands were about to wither away from my grip) while the nurse is explaining the way an epidural works. She tells me it’s an injection in the spine and it will make the lower half of my body numb. It will take 15 minutes to set up and will last about four hours.

I waited about another hour before I finally could not take the pain anymore, as if every moment made me stronger by not accepting a medicine that could reduce this pain. I know now that this is nonsense, but I had convinced myself that for me to be a real woman, I had to deliver naturally, without any help. I wish I hadn’t put that pressure on myself.

And then, I got the epidural and although it didn’t take away all of the pain of labor the entire time, it did change my mind about medication in general. It’s amazing, by the way. The relief is indescribable. And I am not any less of a real woman for accepting it.

Further un-crunching: Food

I so wish I had the time to drive to the health food store in town and pick out locally sourced, organic vegetables and meats and cheeses like I once did. I wish I had the money to buy only organic food. I wish I had the time (or the desire when I do have the time) to create tasty, time consuming meals. I do not. At least not right now.

I consider eating Grape Nuts without sweetener a victory these days.

In all honesty, this part is getting better and I can definitely see my old crunchy self coming back to this portion of my life.

But, still, you’re not going to see me picketing in front of a Walmart or Sam’s Club anytime soon in the name of processed food. Maybe after my membership runs out though…

The last of my crunch, gone: Minimalism

The last two months of my pregnancy were a flurry of documentaries on tiny houses and minimalist living. I was excited by the way these people, (mostly artists) lived and I found their driving purpose alluring: to create instead of to consume.

I donated books, I threw out old Christmas presents, and I eliminated trinkets I hadn’t used or looked at in years. It was cleansing. In fact, I even wrote about minimalism on this blog.

Now, I am still very much into this idea of living. But, a baby makes it a little more complicated to live with the bare minimum when they need quite a bit. And also, I had a dynamite baby shower where everyone bought me not only the things I needed, but things I didn’t even know I wanted, which flung me into full “I WANT ALL THE THINGS!” mode.

Honestly, how many onesies does one baby need? The answer: SO MANY. SO MANY cute onesies.

I can’t imagine the stuff in my house dwindling with a baby year after year. I imagine a house full of clothes and toys and sports equipment and whatever else. And it will be a lovely chaos.

Although I feel the crunch still within me, and I really believe some of it will come back (it already is, slowly) I know I will probably never be that mom with homemade clothes (a la Sound of Music) or 100% sugar-free lunches or several goats in the backyard (a long time dream of mine since I was a girl). I will be half a crunchy mom. 

We are all doing the best we can and if that means un-crunching a little, it’s okay. I still have Tibetan sound bowls, sage leaves, and yoga blocks lying around the house to remind me.