In-Between Parenting.

I will cloth diaper. I will breastfeed exclusively and let my baby wean herself. I can’t wait to babywear. I am having a homebirth. I have a midwife. I have a doula. I am a doula. I love infant massage. I teach infant massage. I’m having my placenta encapsulated (AND turned into art AND into a tincture AND into a broth). I enjoy a good Tibetan singing bowl cd. I like to meditate. I make my own cleaning products. I compost (sometimes). If we have a boy in the future, we won’t be circumcising. I make my own paper. I toast the pumpkin seeds of my jack-o-lanterns every October. I drink nettle infusions and pregnancy herbal tea. I only drink almond milk. My second home is Goodwill, lair of bargains. I love birth art. I love acupuncture. I collect books. And cats.

However…

I eat sugar. I use a microwave. We are vaccinating. I use Pond’s Cold Cream. Since getting pregnant I have begun a pretty serious affair with paper plates. My cats get whatever litter is on sale. I hate green tea. We have a TV (and BASIC CABLE). I eat, and enjoy, meat. Sometimes I forget to take my prenatals, and I don’t stress over this. I ate a brownie for First Breakfast yesterday. We only buy organic when we can afford it (See: rarely). I don’t own any crystals or keep crystals in my birth bag… I don’t carry much in my birth bag at all actually, because I believe my most effective tools are my eyes, hands, and heart. I wear hand-me-downs… but some of those hand-me-downs are WalMart brand. I don’t own a Vitamix. Whole Foods is far too expensive (though being there does make me feel fancy and I will say their hot, spicy chais are worth every penny).

It seems I’m just not crunchy enough to be… crunchy.

It has been recently been made clear to me by a few “natural mothering” advocates that I am just not crunchy enough to be a part of their “clubs.” (I’m calling them clubs. They’re more like “websites”).

And I will admit, this stings a bit.

Nevermind that my hairbrush “smells like bread” according to my husband, because I decided to go shampoo-less and used a yeasty concoction of corn starch and baking soda instead. Nevermind that I am battling the aftershock of a major breakout because I so desperately wanted the oil cleansing method and Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (yes, with ‘the mother’) to work for me. Nevermind that because of me, and me alone, my husband now makes, eats and LOVES spinach, turnip, mustard, and collard greens with dinner. Nevermind I use coconut oil for everything under the sun that doesn’t involve my face. Nevermind that I truly believe my teenaged niece has “Bird Energy.” Nevermind that I support our local farmer’s market, would totally only buy fair-trade coffee and chocolate if we could afford to, and vow to someday own and operate our own hobby farm and cat rescue. I own more than 30 mason jars of varying sizes, damnit.

I’m a “everything in moderation” person. I consider myself to be a realist. I want our daughter to eat healthy, fresh, real food but also enjoy sugary cake and ice cream at birthday parties, if those foods agree with her. I love to hike, and I also love a nice drive. I’m not a natural birth advocate, but I am a respectful-birth advocate. I love birth art… I’m not a fan of chanting. I love tai chi. I don’t like yoga. I intend to follow the gist of attachment parenting but also feel I have something to learn from every parent.

And I’m so okay with all of these things. I’m not a true hippie, and I’m certainly not modern. I’m an in-between. I live in the gooey nougat center of pregnancy and parenting. We’re a middle class family on a budget, doing the best we can. Sometimes I live on beets and kale. Sometimes I eat waffles for dinner.

shrug.

If you’re in a similar boat, please allow me take the pressure off of you right now. You don’t have to be crunchy. You don’t have to be not-crunchy. You can be whatever you want to be. You can wear your baby in a sling on Monday and push the baby in a carriage on Tuesday. You can feed your baby in whatever way you feel is best. You can diaper however you want to diaper.

What’s important is putting in the time to research things you have questions about, trying different things, having the right support, and then choosing what is going to be the best for you and your family. “Best” is relative and subjective. What works for your sister, friend, mom, aunt, internet pal might not be the best for you– BUT isn’t it great that we get to change our minds?

Learning, trying new things, and finding what works for us comes with what some of us deem as “failure.” Sometimes, things just don’t work out. You try a brand of clothing detergent only to find out that your kiddo has sensitive skin. You try to grow your own herb garden and then find that gardening is not your forte in any way, shape, or form. You put an expensive thingymabob on your registry that came recommended by everyone you know and your baby just flat out hates it. You choose to vaccinate or not vaccinate, and then 5 years later you meet someone who impacts you and you can’t turn back the clock. That’s not a failure, that’s just life.  Whether you consider yourself more or less crunchy than most, it’s all good. If you’re an in-between parent, that’s good, too. At the end of the day we all just want the best for our families, don’t we?

If you love and respect your child, and you’re doing the best you can with what you have, you are doing a fantastic job. This is me giving you a virtual hug. Doesn’t that feel good?

So, where do the quasi-crunchy mamas live on the internet? Where do the meat-eating vegetable lovers lay their heads at night? How do the label-less explain themselves? How do the in-betweens connect?

If you can relate to any of this, let me know. I know there are more of us out there, lurking in the pregnancy forums of the intrawebz, gasping at the price of pink Himalayan sea salt, biting our nails with anxiety as we, deep into the night, compare every stroller, baby food maker, wrap, diaper, and vitamin we’ve ever heard of.

In-between parents, UNITE!

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