Why I Don’t Talk About Being Crunchy in Public


This is going to be a bit ramble-y, but it’s a Monday, so bear with me. :-)

At a recent doctor’s appointment, both the nurse and the doctor asked me about my children. The conversation went something like this:

Nurse: So, any plans for the weekend?
Me: *fibro-fogged* Umm, what day is it?
Nurse: Friday! Aren’t you excited about the weekend?
Me: *laugh* I’m home with two small kids – most weekends are the same.
Nurse: Oh. How old are your kids?
Me: 4 & 2.
Nurse: Aren’t they in school?
Me: Erm..

The conversation with the doctor was even more stilted, because this was for birth control, and she was getting down my past medical history, including pregnancies. The minute the words “home birth” slipped from my lips, I could see her zoom in like a diving hawk.

Doctor: So why did you have a home birth?
Me: *mentally running through 35 reasons to have a home birth* Oh, well, the spouse-unit was born at home, and.. you know..
Doctor: So your husband wanted a home birth.

I remember my pre-kids OB/GYN frowning at me six years ago and saying, “I don’t recommend home birth for any of my patients.” This was a completely different doctor, I still felt like I needed to be on guard while discussing my family choices and how we choose to parent. The conversation continued amicably though, and we managed to agree on how hospitals were for sick people and that pregnancy isn’t an illness.

I’m so afraid to tell people that it’s not a parenting style; they’re just doing it wrong. 

Parenting, birth included, is one of the ultimate taboo subjects these days. I have friends I wouldn’t think twice of talking sex, money or politics in front of, but I cringe at the thought of talking about parenting. In spite of my fears of conflict, I try not to let that stop me. I happily loan out slings and wraps, give bags of cloth diapers away to friends considering going cloth, and slip books like The Baby Book and You Are Your Child’s First Teacher to expecting friends.

We have these kids, these children we know and love, and other children we know less, but still love. We all want the best for them, and it’s possible that makes us hyper vigilant to look over at the next child and parent combo and wonder, “Are they really doing the best they can for that child?”

Do you talk openly about how you parent? Are there places you feel less comfortable talking about parenting, like your child’s school, or around family? Does your reluctance to criticize ever keep you from speaking out about respect for children in parenting?

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4 Responses to Why I Don’t Talk About Being Crunchy in Public

  1. Helen HorstmannAllen (@horstm22) October 2, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    It’s funny that anyone would question why your children aren’t in school at 4 and 2… among my 6 sisters, we collectively did 1 year of school before kindergarten. Certainly, there are many more kids in school earlier now, but it’s still incredible how quickly things go from the norm to something you might get questioned on by your health care providers.

  2. vahnee October 2, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    I know. The tough part is that it’s expected that your child goes to day care at some point, and from there, it’s on to preschool and then regular school. I have a friend that plans to go back to work by putting her 3-month-old in day care. For some reason, that concept feels like the end of childhood to me. All children want is to be physically close to their parents for the first 3-6 years.

  3. Crista Hebel October 5, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Thank you for this post (and for your crunchy blog)! I’m new to the term crunchy but as a home-birthing, cloth-diapering, whole foods plant eating mama I’m no stranger to the content :) I am definitely timid when talking about crunchy parenting choices in most places. First and foremost being with my parents and parents-in-law :/ unfortunately…

  4. Vani Raja October 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    Thanks, Crista. It took me a while to get my mother on board with some of our crunchier choices, but she’s admitted to me that once she saw how content and creative our kids were, she figured we had some idea what we were doing. :-)