The Cult of Crunchy

February 8, 2010

I was so thrilled last week when my post on SIDS was featured on one of my very favorite blogs, Peaceful Parenting. I’m really trying to get in the writing habit and being able to share something that I wrote has helped keep me motivated.

However, as I was waiting for my piece to post on the blog, I was consumed by a strange fear… Am I crunchy enough? What about the times when I have been far from the model AP model? What if someone found out that I was a fraud? Surely the PP readers were far crunchier than I was, and who was I to tell them anything?

I had to tell myself to get a grip. Yeah, I rarely co-sleep these days. I eat too much junk food. Sometimes I let Calvin watch cartoons in the very early morning while I lay passed out on the bed. I don’t babywear nearly as much as I did six months ago (did I mention that Calvin is closing in on 30 lbs?). These are just some of my sins. Do they negate my AP/crunchy status?

While I love AP philosophy, I think that one problem APers tend to face is that of groupthink. We become so focused on accepted methods that we tend to forget the underlying philosophy. There are those who will overthink the use of strollers. There are those who will act like co-sleeping is the only right way to sleep regardless of circumstances. There are some who will look down upon you for night weaning. These are just a few examples – there are certainly many more. We all have strong views and that truly is great, but we must be careful as we balance what is absolutely important (parenting our children in a respectful way, fostering an atmosphere of trust) with what are undeniably good things but may look different between individual families (co-sleeping, extended nursing) with what really is entirely preferential (unassisted birth, elimination communication). To quote one MDC poster: “I think there’s a lot of judgement about what is or isn’t AP, when in reality I think the main goal is to listen to our children while we try to make it through every day.”

I think that good AP philosophy should meet us where we are. AP isn’t a list of rules but is rather an attitude – an attitude that will slowly but surely permeate our family’s psyche. I’ve witnessed this transformation especially with my husband. (It started when he agreed to leave our son intact. It continued when he began to understand why I wanted a natural childbirth. And as of late he’s even become a bit of a lactivist!) We should never have to worry that we aren’t AP enough, as though parenting perfection is somehow within our grasp if we just use certain methods. We should be careful to not view natural living as a competition that we can somehow win; we’re all on this journey to varying degrees. 

The great thing about attachment parenting is that much of it is evidence-based. If we lose that and are instead AP just because it is the thing to be, then we have really lost the main justification of AP over other philosophies. If we start to succumb to this type of groupthink then all we’ve done is create another set of cultural norms that is based in certain methods rather than an all-encompassing philosophy.

So if I ever come across as crunchier-than-thou, then please accept my apologies. I assure you that I am not. Remember that some elements of AP / natural family living are a process and not an overnight goal. I’m still working on it and I hope you’ll join me.

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One Response to “The Cult of Crunchy”

  1. momromp Says:

    Wow…I love your writing! And your thoughts. Nice post, great blog. Looking forward to following it!


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