“What’s a Crunchy Granola Mom?” I asked. Apparently, it was the name for moms like me – moms who were crazy about natural childbirth, exclusive breastfeeding, attached parenting, and co-sleeping. Moms who obsessed over healthy foods, natural remedies, and homeschooling. Moms who bought ridiculously expensive, dye-free wooden toys for their babies to teethe upon, and encouraged their kids to run and play in the rain. Moms who wanted to raise children who think for themselves, even if that means going against the grain. Crunchy like the raw carrots growing in our organic gardens. Wholesome as granola.
The nickname made me smile even more so than the other labels for moms like me – Attached Parents. Neo-Hippies. Afterschoolers. Earth Moms. Whatever you want to call it, I had swallowed the red pill and become a member of the Crunchy Sisterhood. I spent many happy years wearing my babies in slings, serving my kids homemade, super-healthy meals, cloth-diapering, and setting them loose to explore the world in their own natural way, at their own natural pace.
It’s a funny thing, though. Now that my kids are older, that Crunchy Granola Mom title seems to have rubbed off. It’s not that my parenting style or ideals have changed that much. I still value wholesome foods, natural remedies, and being in tune with my children. I still encourage my kids to run and play in the rain. It’s just that labels just don’t seem to stick to parents of older school-age kids. When you’re a parent of young kids, your philosophy of child-rearing becomes your philosophy of life in general. It defines you, and determines where you belong in the parenting social world.
But there is a shift as the children grow to become more and more their own independent people and less a reflection of your parenting philosophy. It’s a strange thing, after spending so many years being Crunchy Granola Mom. Now I have learned to step back and bite my tongue as my teen chooses to eat chocolate Pop Tarts for breakfast instead of my homemade oatmeal-apple-raisin muffins. Because he is moving forward at his own natural pace, and thinking for himself, even if that means going against the grain. And, well, wasn’t that the whole point?
Ode to a Natural Child
Oh wild green branch
tender as the spring
let the rain be your first drink
let the wind be your song
and the sun drench your tangled hair
as you twirl, restless, dizzy
a kite set free
in the summer sky