It is common knowledge that everyone’s experience of motherhood will be varied: every pregnancy is as different as the children those pregnancies yield. But what about mothering styles? There’s the crunchy mom, the high maintenance mom, the helicopter mom, the tiger mom, the elephant mom, the dolphin mom, and the kids can raise themselves mom . . .
Every time I scroll through social media, I find myself looking at (and low-key judging myself against) how other people are raising their kids. Scrolling through, I notice one kid’s eating her fifth Happy Meal of the week (it’s Wednesday), and another kid is wearing gender-nonconforming clothes and happily nursing at three-plus years old. This pattern alternates down my newsfeed and Instagram feed simultaneously.
I see tons of parenting practices that mimic my own and others posting things that I’d never desire to do, which makes me realize something. We know about crunchy mom1 and all that personality entails, as well as the hot-mess mamas who own that proudly: so where do those of us who are in-between fall?
Signs You Might Be a Crispy, Not-Quite-Crunchy Mom
If you find yourself not finding identity in one or the other, then you, my friend, might be a crispy mama. Not quite a crunchy mom, but not all the way . . . floppy, either.
1. You’re Not Really Anti-Anything
It’s exhausting to be a mom—heck, it’s just tiring to be a human being with responsibilities. You don’t have the energy it takes to exert the amount of effort others use to be against something all the time—and you’re glad they’re doing it enough for all of us because sometimes you nod with them and agree, but turn your focus elsewhere: they’ve got this.
2. You’ve Tried It All
Cloth diapering? Check. Supplementing with formula? Check. Doing the “whatever it takes to get through parenthood alive and well thing?” Double. Freaking. Check. You’ve tried everything in the name of figuring out what works best for your family—meaning you’ve done some things neither the crunchy mom nor “let them raise themselves” mamas would ever do, and that’s okay by you.
3. You’re Juuuust Anal Enough
You’re cautious but not rebellious. You are wary of things others fear, but don’t let that stop you from doing your own research. You’ve turned to Dr. Google, but also have faith in your pediatrician. You tell yourself you’re not worrying too much while knowing a few parents who could stand from worrying a bit more themselves.
4. You Don’t Have Facebook Frenemies
Remember that whole “not really being anti-anything?” It’s true for Facebook, too. Rather than feeling the need to correct every mama doing it differently than you are, you do this magical thing where you just keep scrolling. You might smirk, you might comment, but you don’t make it your business to try and change their minds: it’s never worked on you yet, you figure, so why bother?
5. Maybe You’re Both, Depending on the Day
Perhaps you didn’t try to breastfeed but also didn’t circumcise your son. Maybe you don’t believe in co-sleeping, but babywear all day long. Just because you aren’t diehard about things doesn’t mean you don’t feel strongly about all things parenting—it just means that you’ve resigned yourself to understanding certain things work for your family and others don’t.
Conventional wisdom would have us believe people tend to gravitate one way or another in every facet of life, from politics to parenthood. For many of us, the reality we live in looks a lot different from what we imagined for ourselves while pregnant or otherwise expecting. It looks and feels different than what we thought were the values we’d cling to when raising this child. Your daily modus operandi will even differ from child to child within the same family because, above all else, your values and belief system cannot be more important to you than the safety, health, and well-being of your child.
Crispy mom, you know it takes a village to raise this sweet little one, and your feet are not-so-firmly planted somewhere in the middle of it all. Love the crunchy mom, embrace the floppy, and know that your crispy moderation is serving your family just fine.