Crunchy, But Not Crunchier Than Thou

February 26th, 2012 by Dionna | 36 Comments
Posted in Carnival and Special Series, Compassionate Advocacy, natural parenting

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Welcome to the “I’m a Natural Parent – BUT…” Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.


I have a confession. When my NPN friends visited me last fall, I had fun beforehand stocking up on these pretty organic soaps, lotions, and body washes to put in the guest bathroom.

Here was my reasoning: when my friends peeked into my cabinets and saw the processed food, when they saw me roll my eyes or heard me raise my voice when Kieran freaked out at their children playing with his toys (some of which are plastic and many of which are sold in large, brightly-colored stores that feature backwards R’s in their name), when they reached for a compost bin and found a trash can . . . they would remember my pretty organic soaps and body washes and think, “aw, it’s ok, she’s still one of us. She has organic soap!”

It made sense at the time.

Seriously, though, I know I’m not the only one who gets stressed out wondering if my crunchy friends will think I don’t have enough crunch. Sometimes, I’m merely chewy.

But why do we spend so much time worrying if we’re going to measure up to all of our friends? There will always be someone who excels in ways that you and I do not. Someone who only throws away a bag of trash once a year. Someone who lovingly sews, knits, and carves every one of her family member’s toys and clothing. Someone who raises her own organically hand-fed, cosleeping cow for meat.

I’ll let you in on a secret, though: you’re crunchier than some of your own friends, too. {gasp} I know! And do you judge your friends for not doing everything that you do? Let’s hope not! We’re all working with the tools we have at the moment. No one has the same information, the same resources, the same income – we’re not the same people, so we’re going to do things differently. And that’s ok.

So go ahead, give yourself permission to be as crunchy as you can for right now. And the next time you find yourself starting to judge someone for doing things differently, remember to be crunchy, but not crunchier than thou.


I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that “natural parenting” means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

36 Responses to:
"Crunchy, But Not Crunchier Than Thou"

  1. Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction   MBJunction

    I laugh at this, but I know I totally would have done the same thing: a last-minute trip to Good Harvest to buy some organic soaps for the bathroom.

    When I feel like we are expending too much energy comparing ourselves to others, my husband and I often have this conversation: the only lives we can live are our own, and they are what we make of them. We define our “us” and our family. That usually centers us for awhile.

  2. Christy @ Adventures in Mommyhood   MommyOutnumber

    I want my own “organically hand-fed, cosleeping cow for meat.” lol!! Seriously though, love this post!! I often feel like a crunchy outsider since I do not do very much, I like to call myself “crispy” or “lightly toasty” ;)

  3. Kate

    Several of the links are broken. Did people already have to take their posts down due to negativity?

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      No! We ask authors to send us updated links by 12pm so we can update the links list. Often it is hard for people to figure out their URLs ahead of time, so they appear broken. If you have time to read now and don’t want to wait for the correct links, you could try going to the blog’s main page (click on a link and delete anything after .com) – the Carnival post should be the most recent one :)

  4. Too funny! Restocking the bathroom! Sounds like something I would do–or maybe have done at times, hee hee.

  5. Amy   anktangle

    I think sometimes we think people are judging us, when really we are silently judging ourselves. That’s been my experience, anyway, that I’m much harsher on myself and I have far higher expectations for myself than anyone else seems to.

    It does seem, though, that with the anonymity of the internet, the judgment can come out very strong and harsh sometimes. I hope your words reach into the hearts of many, and help them to reconsider before passing judgment on (themselves or) others.

  6. The co-sleeping cow sounds like a nightmare. Would you sleep in the barn with the cow, or have it in your room?
    I was watching my more crunchy friend’s child so she could move once, and I got so hungry while I was trying to get one of the kids to fall asleep in the car that I stopped at Taco Bell. He was of course, wide awake, and wanted some of what I was giving Moira. When Mom came to pick him up I shamefacedly admitted that he had had cheezy mexifries, and she probably needed to wash the straps on his car seat now. She just laughed at me. She now feels huge quilt because she is not cloth diapering her new baby like she did her first. I guess we really can’t do it all.

  7. Lani @ Boobie Time Blog   boobietimeblog

    I love your pep talk! And I want to meet this someone who raises her own organically hand-fed, co-sleeping cow for meat. :D

  8. Love it! I know I am extremely hard on myself but not so of other people.

  9. Sooo true, I hid my unnatural bath soaps when my friend came over. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  10. Ha! co-slept cow. Hehehehe. I love your graphic, by the way. I hate the “crunchier than thou” people. Drive me nuts.

    Hey… if they drive me nuts, does that make me crunchier than them? ;p


  11. OMG “Someone who raises her own organically hand-fed, cosleeping cow for meat” just about made me fall over laughing. Oh wait, maybe you know someone who’s done that and it’s not a joke. Oh well, still hilarious and illustrates that absurdity of crunchier than thou.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thankfully, no, I do not know anyone who sleeps with her cows – but wouldn’t that be a hoot?!

  12. Charise@I Thought I Knew Mama   ithoughtiknewma

    LOL – When I had the New England NPN ladies over the other day, I was seriously thinking that they probably remember the posts about the NPN gathering at your house last year and would be disappointed in the crunchiness of my house compared to yours ;-) Thank you for this! <3

  13. Fine and Fair   fineandfair

    Even though I’m a vegetarian, I got a hearty laugh out of “organically hand-fed, cosleeping cow for meat”. :D You hit the nail right on the head Dionna, we all do the best we can with what we have and know in the moment. <3

  14. your cows don’t cosleep? for shame! ;-)

  15. Janine @ Alternative Housewife   thejaninefowler

    Thank you for this carnival! One of my new years resolutions is to unfollow blogs (especially parenting ones) that make me feel bad about myself. As a lifestyle blogger myself, I should realize that people tend to only show the good & the successes when they post, but it’s easy to start comparing yourselves. I not-so-secretly love knowing that bloggers (like you) that I look up to have stashes of processed food in their cupboards too!

    I have to LOL at the backwards R on toy boxes… That is exactly the kind of stuff I can’t stand, but it’s impossible to keep it out of your home! I’m not proud of the fact that I frequently donate toys based not on how much they are actually played with but by the way they look. Even a wooden toy that is literally collecting dust is never going to make it into the yard sale pile. And I absolutely get your mentality with the organic soaps and trying to imprint a certain image of yourself on your friends. I’m even worse when it comes to showing off my ‘crunchiness’ to my own mother.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Janine – I definitely try to keep things upbeat, but I am no better than anyone reading!! I have off moments I’ll try to remember to share them more often :)

  16. Amy   Amy_willa

    Oh, Dionna, I love this post. . . I love this carnival in general, really. As you’re fully aware, I am a huge perfectionist and truly way too self critical. . . and as terrible as it seems, it’s really refreshing that every one of my NP friends has a processed food eating, antibacterial soap using, brightly colored, lights flashing, tv watching skeleton in their parenting closets! ;)

    I think that the most inspiring blogs and people are those who are truthful and authentic, and I love that this carnival opened us up and reminded us to always be that way!

  17. Terri   onelovelivity

    Dionna this is so funny! Thanks for revealing this ‘non-perfect’ side of you!! You are so right – we all have our degrees of crunchiness with strengths in some areas and ‘weaknesses’ (often our own perception and not reality) in others. I have a good friend who would not even consider herself a crunchy Mama but it’s a non-issue because instead of focusing on our differences I admire the ease she has with her kids and being around her definitely makes me relax more with mine. So what if she doesn’t cloth diaper, breastfeed or whatever else, she’s a great Mum, a wonderful friend and has been my reminder to keep my crunchier than thou mentality on a permanent hiatus. Thanks for your post which does the same…but maybe I should try co-sleeping with our carrots to give me more natural parent credibility?!

  18. Kelly   BecomingCrunchy

    Tee hee…cosleeping cow.

    Awesome post Dionna – thank you! We’re all on this journey of non-perfection together and it’s always great to have the reminders :)

  19. I love your sense of humor about this. It’s so easy to take our parenting role/decisions too seriously sometimes and lose the fun of it.

  20. Wolfmother   FabulousMamaC

    Wow, I’ve so been there but thankfully am getting much better at not judging myself or others so harshly anymore for how they appear to be. I’m definitely not the poster child for crunchiness myself and it is important to realise that everyone is on their own path in life and that is okay.

  21. Meemoo

    Co-sleeping cow. Absolute gold. And a nice reminder not to get to holy in our crunchiness!

  22. I love this! I was just saying to a group of friends when we were talking about feeling judged by other crunchy mamas, “Some people use plastic cups for their parties, and that’s okay!”

    Cosleeping cows made me laugh out loud.


  23. April   blackheartbetty

    This makes me happy. I am always comparing myself to other crunchier moms. I still have a looooong way to go. We are learning as we go. I know I make a lot of concessions since I work full time. Sometimes ease has to win…

  24. Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama   hybridrastamama

    I remember your little “freak out” about your guests finding out about your less than crunchy ways. I also remember everyone else freaking out about the same thing. HA! And it all turned out beautifully. XO We just do what we can to get by….crunchy or not!

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