This year, I spent Christmas Eve baking homemade bread, wearing Davey in his Moby wrap, and browsing cloth diaper sites. While my dough was proofing, I started hearing something. And it wasn’t the sound of footsteps through snow–not this year. But it sounded similar. It was the music of a subculture that I’m just getting to know.
Like every other millennial, I’ve always hated the idea that I might be normal. But I didn’t think I’d end up in a weird off-the-beaten-track hipster category along with millions of my peers.
Last summer I intended to write a post about knitting. I had just finished a pair of socks I wanted to show off. If I had written the post, it would have certainly said something about how knitted socks are better than cheesecake, oversized hoodies, and flavored coffee combined.
Before I had the twins, I fell prey to the cloth diaper addiction. It’s a thing. Cloth diaper collecting is not unlike collecting handbags, high-end candles, or essential oils, but it’s arguably more useful and economical. It makes me different (except for the other tens of thousands of moms who also decided it’s a great idea and brought it back into vogue). It saves me money (for now), makes more sense to me, and keeps my babies’ bums comfortable (who wants to wear paper underwear?).
I also discovered that I can’t really get through a day without wearing my babies–at this point, it’s usually in their Moby wrap, though I’ve decided I need a soft structured carrier like a Tula. And possibly a few ring slings, for good measure. Babywearing makes it possible to cook, clean, do laundry, and even write my articles while holding a sleeping baby (they almost inevitably fall asleep when they’re wrapped). Which means that babywearing enables me to keep more of my sanity than I would otherwise.
Last summer Manny and I bought a farm share and drove thirty minutes once a week to pick fruit and veggies and collect our massive box of fresh, locally grown organic goods. It just made sense. We also drive another twenty minutes out of the way to a local dairy/ice cream shop to get a couple of gallons of raw milk every week and a half or two weeks.
Once, shortly after the twins were born, we ran out of raw milk and didn’t feel like driving all the way to Amherst to collect some. Crisis. So we bought organic homogenized milk from the store. It was disgusting. Seriously, after getting spoiled on the super-creamy, fresh raw milk from Cook Farm, neither Manny nor I could stomach the storebought stuff. We ended up throwing it out.
For all the trouble I went to during adolescence to try to avoid labels, I’ve stumbled into a big one without even realizing it. It turns out that my particular combination of “logical” choices identifies me as a Crunchy Mom.
What does that even mean? Urban Dictionary has a helpful entry. There are even quizzes you can take to determine your level of crunchiness. Apparently I’m only somewhat crunchy because I’m not politically liberal, I like to travel by car, and most of my decisions have nothing to do with greenhouse gases or landfills.
Somehow I’ve fallen into the new trendy subculturey group of cloth diapering, baby wearing, homebirthing, raw-milk-drinking, crop-share-buying, knitting, intactivist, who-knows-what-else mothers. They call us Crunchy. The fact that I practically live in Birkenstocks (with handknitted socks in cold weather) adds bonus points in my favor. In fact, the only thing going against my crunchy status is my unrelenting love of frozen pizzas and my fairly conservative worldview, which I’m sure most hard core crunchy moms would frown upon.
All I need is a set of these bumper stickers to finalize my admission to the Crunchy club. And here I thought I was avoiding labels.
The struggle is real.