I get asked all the time …what is natural parenting? what do you mean semi-crunchy? These are both terms that we use to describe our parenting, but just because they mean one thing for us, doesn’t mean that they mean the same thing for others who describe themselves within the realm of semi-crunchy natural parenting too.
First, let’s talk about what I mean by natural parenting. Natural parenting is described by Natural Parents Network as the “desire to live and parent responsively and consciously”. According to Natural Parents Network they have four subcategories that essentially make up natural parenting: attachment parenting, ecological responsibility, holistic health, and natural learning.
The reason that I use natural parenting over just attachment parenting is because I think parenting needs to encompass more than just the attachment speak. So what is natural parenting to us? Well, it’s a lot of things. Our main key focuses that we believe in are:
- Preparing for Birth, Pregnancy, and Life – we do this by researching, questioning, and educating ourselves on risks and benefits of recommendations during our pregnancy, as well interventions for newborn care and childhood, as well as the recommendations for us as adults
- For us during pregnancy and birth specifically this means limited inventions during pregnancy, natural, unmedicated birth, delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin contact
- We believe in exclusive breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding
- We do not believe in Cry-It-Out or other forms of sleep training children
- We co-sleep by bedsharing since birth
- We babywear
- We practice baby-led weaning instead of cereals and purees
- We do gentle discipline
- We use cloth diapers
- We garden and recycle and teach our children about the importance of natural preservation
- We find natural, holistic alternatives to health conditions like using essential oils
- We make most of our meals from scratch, watch ingredients lists, and eat organic
- We allow learning to happen naturally and plan to homeschool
- We extended rear-face and are very adamant about car seat safety
And many more things encompass what we believe when referring to natural parenting.
Now, what in the world does Semi-Crunchy mean?
Well, crunchy is just a fun term coined to describe everything that I just mentioned above. So here we are really focusing on the “Semi” part. As much as I wish to be the best 100% Crunchy, Natural, Attachment parent- I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not. So why? Well, the answer is simple, I’m not perfect. And to be 100% honest, we didn’t start on the natural journey at all until we into halfway through our pregnancy with Skibbles. Here’s what I mean-
- We use disposables too. In fact, since about 16 months, we’ve been exclusively using them over cloth diapers after I was running into issues.
- Eating organic isn’t possible 100% of the time. We aren’t made of money and I believe that limiting processed foods is better than not having an organic apple. Everyday we try to get better.
- I enjoy eating out when we can. We know this isn’t the best, but I can’t turn down an Amish doughnut, a spoonful of Nutella, a cookies and cream milkshake from Chick-fil-A, or that delicious greasy pizza from our favorite place.
- We watch way more TV that I care to admit.
- I loose my patience some days and my voice gets raised.
- I don’t ALWAYS enjoy breastfeeding. Since day one, I’ve had moments, days, weeks, where I wanted to throw in the towel…I remind myself that each day is a new day and we’re still going at 26 months.
- Sometimes there’s more snacks throughout the day than there is real food because I just need a break from the whining.
- We give plastic toys AND wooden ones
- Andrew would never allow me to get rid of our microwave
- We don’t always get outside and explore and have fewer playdates than I really want
- And to be 100% honest – there are just some parts of “crunchy” parenting that freak me out or that I just don’t think would work for our family – like kombucha or elimination communication.
The main idea here is that there is not a “one-size” fits all when it comes to natural parenting. We are all parents and we are all trying to do our best. This is what works for our family and we change and adapt everyday as we feel that we need to do so. At the end of the day, I think we all just pray that our children grow into upstanding adults that respect themselves and others, work hard, love unconditionally, and appreciate the little things we did for them.
Do you find yourself a part of semi-crunchy natural parenting? Something else? Weigh in below in the comments.