Crunchy parenting is generally associated with home births, placenta encapsulating, cloth diapers, homemade baby food, breastfeeding, baby wearing, Co-sleeping or bed sharing, limited or no vaccines, home-schooling, organic food, limited or no processed foods, etc. You might read that list and think “huh, those sound like great ideas! I should try them.” or you’ll read it and think “Wtf? That’s crazy talk!” or maybe somewhere in the middle.
I’ve had people gawk at our parenting decisions because they seem gross or time consuming or just too much work. I’ve been called crunchy, but I feel like I need to clarify things: I’m not crunchy, I’m cheap.
Growing up, I was the second of four with a SAHM, meaning money was tight. We weren’t poor, but we were frugal. That’s normal to me. Clipping coupons, home cooked meals, and going out of my way to save where we can is all normal. I genuinely don’t understand people who spend more than they have to on things. I’ll go grocery shopping three times in a week just to save money. Why pay 2.50 for a gallon of milk at Kroger if I can go to Aldi tomorrow and get it for 1.59?
When it comes to our parenting choices, I opt for whatever works and is cheaper. We cloth diaper because it’s a hell of a lot cheaper in the long run. I spent about $300 on the diaper stash we have. Our oldest has been in them for 2 years now, and the baby officially switched to being exclusively in cloth at the start of the new year. He’ll be in them for a couple years too. We are saving literally thousands. Yes, diaper laundry can get annoying and tedious, but I’ll take that over late night trips to the store, spending money on diapers any day. Cheap. Plus, super cute patterns. As we speak, Connor has Spider-Man on his butt and Kylar’s is covered in circus animals. Freaking adorable.
Breastfeeding. Aside from the obvious statement “that’s what breasts are biologically designed for”, it’s 100% free! The female body naturally produces milk after (and sometimes during) pregnancy. The problem is that sometimes your body just doesn’t make enough, or quits before you and baby are ready. I wasn’t able to breastfeed Connor like I wanted. We were having to supplement from day 2, and it took over a week for my milk to come in. He was always on formula. I was never enough on my own. It was heartbreaking. (More on this later, as it is not the topic of this post.) We ended up spending upwards of $40 a week on formula. That may not sound like much, but think about this: That’s $160 a month (aka, the cable bill or the electric bill in the fall and spring in Houston). It’s over $2,000 in a year. My breasts seem up to the challenge this time, and Kylar has been exclusively on me for 4 months now. 100% free. Crunchy? Sure. FREE!!!
With Connor, I made our baby food. I received the Baby Bullet at my baby shower and I used that sucker until I burned it up (literally). I loved it. Fresh produce from our HEB, then I’d spend Sundays skinning, boiling, and puree-ing food for the next week or so. I lost my breast milk before he was 4 months old, so I felt like I was making up for lost time by making all this food for him myself. Plus, CHEAPER! Our fridge and freezer were always stocked full of apples, bananas, avocado, potatoes, bell pepper, etc. I couldn’t find a good mix to add meat though. It never worked out well...I’ll figure that out better this time around.
I love baby wearing. I don’t do this for financial reasons, unlike the rest. I do this for purely selfish reasons. I love cuddling my boys. Wearing is the best way to keep them close and comfy while also keeping everyone happy. Have you ever tried grocery shopping while carrying a baby keeping up with a toddler? It’s no easy task, but if you strap one of them to you, you’re golden. I wear Kylar far more than I wore Connor for 2 reasons: 1. I’m considerably more confident in my wrapping skills now than I was 2 years ago, and 2. I need my hands more. Connor doesn’t always understand why mommy can’t hold him or play with him because the baby needs something. If I strap Kylar to my chest, suddenly my hands are free to hold, help, or play with Connor again. Bonus: Kylar is happy as a little baby clam and passes out within minutes. Literally everyone wins.
I’m not a fan of bed-sharing because I’m terrified that Hubby or I will roll on top of the boys and smother them, but we do co-sleep for awhile. Kylar is in our room still, with one side of his crib taken down and flush to the side of our bed so I can wake up at 4 am and grab him to feed without ever having to get out of bed. Lazy mom win.
I took a “What’s your parenting style?” quiz recently, because why not, and they came out with this: