Being “Semi-Crunchy” Doesn’t Make You Special |

Being “Semi-Crunchy” Doesn’t Make You Special

admin February 12, 2016

I’ll admit, this post is born of frustration.  But, with good reason, I think.

There’s a subset of “crunchy” moms who sometimes drive me crazy.  They are not, as always, the moms who say “this is what works for me.”  I absolutely support any mama for finding her vibe, for making the choices that really work for her, for ignoring labels and groups and just doing her.  That is not what this is about.

No, this is about a certain group of moms, moms who would probably describe themselves as “semi-crunchy,” who actually go around bragging about how smart they are because they’re crunchy…ish.  That is, they embrace some aspects of crunchy, but they’re also “smart enough” to trust the mainstream, or scientists, on certain topics.  They’re condescending about how this makes them better than all those too-crunchy, natural-or-bust moms (which is how they perceive us).

That.  That condescending, “I know better than you stupid natural mamas” is what drives me insane.

Being “Semi-Crunchy” Doesn’t Make You Special

As I said, whatever works for them.  Cool.

But, semi-crunchy mamas?  You’re not special.

Here’s what I’m talking about (and I’m not quoting anyone here; these are just examples of things I have read):

I totally love crunchy and natural.  I mean, I had my baby without an epidural.  Plus I breastfeed and cloth diaper.  But I also vaccinate.  I’m smart enough to know that doctors and modern science aren’t the enemy.  I vaccinate my baby because I know that is the best thing.  The ‘crunchy’ is so backwards on this issue.”

Look, natural remedies are great.  I’m happy to use a spoonful of honey for a minor cough.  But if my kid has a fever or an ear infection, I’m going to use ‘real’ medicine to get it down, or call a doctor for antibiotics.  I love my baby, and I wouldn’t let him suffer like that.  Save the experiments for yourself.

I think natural birth is great.  I had one, in the hospital, with a midwife!  But I would not have hesitated to have a c-section if needed, and I would never have a home birth.  Birth is scary, and emergencies happen super quickly.  I think home birth is unnecessarily risky, and I just couldn’t do that to my baby.  My experience isn’t more important than his safety.

In all of these situations, the woman doesn’t actually come right out and say, you’re a bad parent and your choice was stupid.  But it’s pretty clearly implied.

Worse, because they supposedly embrace some aspect of “crunchy” culture, they’re often seen as “speaking for the group” (even though no individual speaks for the whole group!), and they’re seen as being right.  As being sane.  As shaking their head in embarrassment at all those mamas who “just don’t get it” because of their “dangerous” alternative choices.

Being Semi-Crunchy Doesn't Make You Special

Get Over Yourselves

Look, you can vaccinate your kid.  You can take him to the doctor.  You can have him in a hospital.  I really don’t care — that’s not what this is about.  Heck, I have plenty of friends who have done all of those things and wouldn’t do otherwise.

The difference is, many — including my friends — aren’t smug and condescending about it.  It’s all in the attitude.

You’re not better because you do something more mainstream.

And honestly, it’s pretty crappy to brag about how great you are because you did something “normal” or “typical.”  People who make alternative choices already face enough crap just for being different.  They face people who constantly misunderstand — purposely — why they make the choices they make.  They have to face people who say “You just don’t vaccinate because Jenny McCarthy” or “You want a home birth to prove something/because your experience matters more than your baby’s life/it’s trendy” or “You only feed your kid organic food because you’re afraid of chemicals you don’t understand.”

The last thing they need is to deal with more crap from someone who claims that ‘natural is good, but…’ and proceeds to trash them for a specific choice they make.

Really, mamas.  You just aren’t special, or smarter, or better, because you made a different choice.

I have to say this does go for natural mamas, too.  We aren’t smarter or better because of the choices we made, either.  We did what was right for us.  And if you’re an advocate for (breastfeeding, home birth, not vaccinating, etc.) people can’t and won’t hear you if you come off like you’re amazing and the people who don’t do things the same “aren’t awake” or “are sheeple.”

(Stop.saying.”wake up!” and stop.saying.sheeple.)

Let’s Be Supportive Instead

Rather than trying to speak for a whole group, or rather than bragging about how great you are because you ______, just stop.

Support other mamas.  They don’t have to think like you, or make the same choices you do.  That’s okay.  Stop thinking they are uninformed, uneducated, ignorant, or bad people.  Stop saying that they are, either directly or indirectly.  Just trust that all mamas love their babies, many choices are okay, and everyone is doing the best they can.

Also, it’s cool to say “I did ____ and it really worked for me.  Are you interested in hearing more?”  or “Did you know ______ is an option?”  There are respectful ways to offer new information.  We can and should talk about other ways.

It’s just the irritating, smug attitude that needs to go.  Immediately.

Do you think being “semi-crunchy” makes you special — or any particular parenting choice?

This is the writings of:



  1. I see your point in not appreciating the judgy condescending nature of some moms, but you realize that with a post saying “semi crunchy moms aren’t special”, you’re just joining the ranks of the judgy and condescending? Choosing kindness over angry blog post isn’t easy, but wouldn’t it be better suited to help reach the goal of united, supportive mothers?


    • I didn’t think this post was unkind at all! Lol. Is that just me? Here’s the thing- this whole parenting thing, it’s not a competition towards who can be the most “balanced” or “flexible”. I know these semi-crunchy moms with their toes half dipped into the pool of holistic medicine… they’re often insecure about their natural choices and are willing to jump on these trendy ideas (and purchase pretty, expensive slings) as long as it doesn’t raise any eyebrows. They’re often super-excited to tell people how they’re crunchy but “realistic”. Implying very indirectly that those of us who understand how fevers work are crazy for making our kids suffer, for example.
      I think what she’s trying to say is make your decisions. We’re all doing out best with what we know… you’re not extra special because you put an amber necklace on your kid but do your civic duty and vaccinate (spaced out, of course).


    • I totally agree. While I understand her frustration (who wants to be talked down to as a bad mom?) I feel like what she is complaining about is the same thing she is doing. The title, overall tone, and the cringe worthy ending “do any of you think you’re special for being semi crunchy ?” really irked me and I feel completely damaged what she was trying to get across


      • ^^ I totally agree, I find it interesting, the whole us and them saga that has saturated our experience! It’s actually paranoia and our culture is drowning in it. I also am a mother of 5. With that said, you are all special Mama’s no matter the choices you make. Not anymore special but all special, why? Because we are all doing our best. That’s it. Needing to be right doesn’t make us good parents.. Especially when they become TEENAGERS Ahahahaha… A mom that can honor anthers perspective and apologize is a mom who gets through the teen years close to her kids. 🙂


  2. I feel like this is the exact post I’ve been meaning to write for forever! Well done!


  3. I consider myself “semi-crunchy”, and your berating generalizations are frankly not true across the board. What I do with my child is NO ONE’S BUSINESS but mine and my husband’s. We use elements of eastern and western medicine as each situation warrants and often in tandem, but we don’t brag. We don’t condemn others or pass judgment. We do what works for us. I would never say what we do is BEST, only that it’s BEST for US and OUR daughter. I find your comments quite ironic in light of the gentle parenting posts you have previously made. You claim your way is best and often sound as though you believe all other ways of parenting are borderline child abuse. I might be wrong in my perception (I’m open to that possibility), but I have yet to see any reason to doubt my impression. When I comes to your info on homeschooling I really appreciate what you have to say. You’ve given a lot of great info. However when it comes to parenting advise you tend to come across as an elitist and too often a high school mean girl. I support other mamas and their ability to find what works for them. I support you in all that you do for your family – but like you said “It’s all in the attitude.”


  4. This really bugs me too! But not just semi-crunchy (because I think I’m that?) but just everyone in general who is condescending to people who didn’t make the same perfect choices they did. It really irritates me. There is more than one right way and in fact there are very few “wrong ways” IMO.


  5. Great article, Kate! Thanks for sharing. It’s insight to a very common sense and natural way of living for you and your family.


  6. Totally agree that attitude is everything. I do stop short of saying that certain decisions are a matter of “doing what’s right for you”. There is NO way on God’s green earth I could ever tell someone that vaccinations are in that category. I shut my mouth unless they ask, and post things to my own page only (so if they don’t like it, they don’t have to look). But I will never ever say that if you choose to vaccinate, then that is what’s right for you. The only reason I am pro parental choice is because we need to be able to say NO. It isn’t really a “right” to inject your children with risky, worthless chemicals, but until we can expose the pharmaceutical companies for their fraudulent and criminal activities (which realistically may be never) then protecting freedom of choice is the best we are going to get. The real issue isn’t stopping (or forcing) parents vaccinating, it’s stopping the companies from making fraudulent claims in the first place.


  7. I find plenty of all the way crunchy moms are just as judgemental. I’m too crunchy for the mainstream, and they think I’m stupid for not medicating fevers and for using cloth diapers and mama cloth and family cloth. I’m too mainstream for the crunchy, and they think I’m stupid for vaccinating my kids. You can’t win, but I don’t think the sort of crunchies are the problem. A total lack of support for moms in general makes us all feel the need to defend our choices. Because being “just a mom” is no longer good enough, we all feel like we need to be the best at whatever new label we can give ourselves.


  8. The examples you used were a poor example if you wanted to show an example of semi -crunchy mamas being rude .Why is everyone so hypersensitive these days?


    • I think they are good examples because that is how women insult (and yes, I am generalizing here). Men might be more direct but women can be passive-aggressive experts, sounding helpful and nice but really calling someone else into question as a mother. Again, a generalization but examples that are real portrayals of how the “mommy wars” work…


  9. Women just need to learn to support each other in general.

    However, parenting is such a touchy subject, I think we all judge… Really, all of us, weather we mean to or not. And sometimes I do think that people make wrong and stupid decisions. A girl I worked with never even tried breastfeeding, just never put the baby to her breast simply because she didn’t want to, my sister was putting kool-aid in her kids’ bottles as early as 5 months old, I see parents with their children out on the town at midnight when everyone around is drunk…. Anyway, yeah, some people really do make awful parenting decisions so I wouldn’t go as far as to say “there is no wrong way to parent”.

    I do realize that I am nit picking and I understand the gist of what you are trying to say.

    I have faced plenty of judgement myself and I am so grateful that I have learned to not let it bother me. I give so much thought to each decision I make that I feel very confident in my choices. If there is something I need to work on (patience!), I admit it to myself and do my best to improve.

    I agree absolutely that no one should ever say “sheeple” ever again:)


  10. Not vaccinating your kids is stupid and dangerous. That is all.


  11. I agree with the other comments that this post has a rude and condescending tone. I consider myself semi-crunchy because I think it’s a cute term. I don’t think I’m better than anyone, in fact I admire moms who are “more crunchy” than me.
    I wanted to be a part of your Facebook group, and thanks to this article, I will not be. You alienated me, possibly that was your goal because I’m not “crunchy enough” for you. Maybe you didn’t intend it that way, but as the other comments stated there’s no need to place a judgment over a group of moms ever – we are all doing the very best that we can with our tiny humans.
    Thanks for sharing.


    • You missed the point.

      The point is, sometimes “semi-crunchy” moms can be judgmental towards “more crunchy” moms, because “at least I’m smart enough to…” (vaccinate, do well visits, whatever). It’s meant to say, don’t be so judgmental of people who are more crunchy, and don’t call them out for being too extreme without understanding their circumstances. I see that all too often.


  12. The “Wake up, Sheeple!” comment – priceless.

    It’s often in the comment section of YouTube and couldn’t be more annoying.


  13. This is one of the dumbest things I have ever read!


    A home birthing, home educating, cloth diapering, babywearing, blwing, APing, bedsharing, herb using, breast feeding, selective vaccinating, homeopathic using, country living, sears fan, WAP fan, LLL member, “crunchy mom” who has a brain.


  14. This is one of the most ridiculous and harmful articles here. So basically if someone isnt ready to commit to being 100% “crunchy” for any reason, then they’re not good enough for you. If they’re still questioning certain things yet believe in homeopathy, they’re not good enough. If they’re trying to live more naturally but need guidance, they’re not good enough. Or even if they can’t forego vaccinations completely for whatever reason… none of those people are good enough for your group? What a self righteous, alienating load of crap. We should encourage every mom along her natural living journey. Whether she’s only “semi-crunchy” or not. Isn’t the whole point of this group and website to educate people on an alternative lifestyle, instead of completely driving them away? I already catch enough crap for needing a c-section instead of having the natural birth I wanted. I don’t need another judgemental article telling me that my parenting decisions make me less than others, and I’m sure there are many who feel the same. This article is in incredibly bad taste, and should be removed. I’m so disappointed.
    Know better do better.


    • It seems that the title of this article struck a nerve with you, but I’m wondering if you read the entire post. This post is speak out against judging other moms, not encouraging it. A direct quote:

      “Support other mamas. They don’t have to think like you, or make the same choices you do. That’s okay. Stop thinking they are uninformed, uneducated, ignorant, or bad people. Stop saying that they are, either directly or indirectly. Just trust that all mamas love their babies, many choices are okay, and everyone is doing the best they can.”


  15. I did read the entire post. And I get your point. It’s an important one to make.

    But why target just one group/label as if it’s the only one guilty of this condescending attitude? I meet moms from **all over** the crunchy-to-soggy spectrum who feel so threatened by other moms that they feel compelled to lift themselves up by putting others down.

    It’s unfortunate, but we should tread carefully. Judging others as judgmental creates an ugly, self-contradictory, and self-perpetuating cycle. We’ll never stop the judgments. But if we’re truly confident in the parenting choices that we’ve made, those judgments won’t matter. 🙂

    P.S. I’m “semi-crunchy” and frequently the target of excruciating judgment. I also have a lot of respect for this blog. 🙂


  16. Y’know, I quite appreciated the article. I consider myself semi-crunchy because no, I don’t do all the crunchy things. I hope I have never come off as judgmental. I can’t avoid doctors because I don’t know how to do to do that when my child has a chronic illness. I vaccinate because I did my research and decided I have no qualms about vaccines. I work outside the home because money.

    And… It can be a tricky position.

    I saw nothing nasty about your article, just some apt examples.


  17. As a fairly soggy mom myself, I was not offended in the least by this post. I agree with the sentiment of stopping the ‘Mommy Wars’. Would I truly love to be less soggy and more crunchy? Sure. Did I think that I was going to be a VERY crunchy mama before son 1 came along? ABSOLUTELY. But I now have two children with serious medical needs and it is certain that neither would have survived infancy without modern medicine. For us, the kids’ medical needs made giving vaccines a better choice than skipping. For son 2, it meant ear infections (and all fevers) had to be taken very seriously and treated, as he did not have the ability to swallow. It meant doctor’s visits 20+ times a year (plus 6 hours of therapy per week) for the first few years. On the crunchier side, it also made sense to provide as much balanced nutrition that is as plant based and organic as possible. Probiotics, essential oils, Korean & herbal teas, and herbal remedies are also very important to my family. Now that my kids are a little older and healthier, I get the chance to make crunchier decisions…but it is frustrating to hear criticism from crunchy moms of nondisabled, healthy children -the moms who have never had to walk in my shoes -that I am simply not natural enough. Like most other moms, I do the absolute best I can for my kids in all of the ways that I can.


  18. I’m convinced that many of you didn’t read the entire article. Being “semi-crunchy” isn’t the issue. It’s those who are semi-crunchy because “let’s be real… I’m not a doctor and I’m not about to play with my children’s health.” As if to say that mommas who decide against doctor’s orders are risking their childrens’ health.


  19. I just have to say, I hate the term crunchy. By “being different” means we have to have a new special label? Since when did vaccinating, over medicating, and pumping our families full of chemicals become the normal RIGHT thing? Our ancestors would be ashamed..but i guess they were just stupid too right? And all the amazing normal people are gonna be in a panic when antibiotic resistance becomes a problem.. how on earth will they treat their kids 6th ear infection this year without them?

    I’m sorry..your post brought out some unaddressed anger vent over. Lol


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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