I’m Not a “Crunchy” Mom Anymore

When I had my first son, I was such a warrior of truth. I researched–to the bone–all things related to childbirth, pregnancy, and baby. I had my cloth diapers ready. I was committed to a 100% natural delivery and breastfeeding. I  only allowed my baby to have organic food. I only used handmade and clean shampoo and soap. I used the best and most expensive nipple butter and diaper ointment. I wore my baby. I used essential oils whenever my baby was sick. I used supplements to improve our health. We co-slept. He wore an amber teething necklace. Ya’ll, I was to the ten with my knowledge and my loyalty to being “grass-fed.” 

So preparing for my second baby seemed to be a breeze for me. I had this down. I had an amazing, empowered home birth. Ya’ll, I even drank placenta smoothies.

 But then my baby got sick. At just 21 days old, my baby had blood drawn, an x-ray, FOUR attempts at a spinal tap (which they couldn’t get), and was hooked up to not one, but TWO antibiotics (good-bye, gut health). He was given Tylenol every 6 hours and nystatin for the yeast rash he was getting from the antibiotics. This was the most medical intervention I have experienced as a mother. This was a situation where oils and cod liver oil wouldn’t work.


I’m lucky because I know that many babies endure much more poking and medication than my baby Xander did. And I’m also lucky because I know from the bottom of my heart that I could not have given my baby the level of care that he needed in my own home as he did in that hospital. 

It changed me. 

All of a sudden, I got off my high horse and stood with every other mother that is just doing the absolute best they can for their babies with what they know and believe and have experienced. All of a sudden, there wasn’t just one way to do things. 

All of a sudden, I wasn’t so obsessed with being a perfect “natural” mama, because truth be told: I was so stressed out I couldn’t handle those standards. And I STILL can’t. So I’m letting that perfectionism fly far away from me. You should too. 

Truth be told, my cloth diapers are in my closet and I’m too guilty to admit it to even myself that I probably won’t use them with this baby. Because I am already drowning in laundry and I just…can’t. 

I’ll tell you right now that my baby has had goldfish, and ice cream. Because big brother was eating it (okay, maybe I was eating the ice cream too) and nobody died from having a bite of it. It’s not that my standards are low, it’s just that I know from experience that my baby will turn into a toddler and probably only want to eat hot dogs and chicken nuggets anyways. 

First kid: organic full fat yogurt with fermented cod liver oil.

Second child: trying to lick whipped cream from the inside of a lid.

And I’ll just admit it right here: if my baby hasn’t slept for 6 hours and is screaming and the natural teething ointment and the lavender epsom salt bath and breastfeeding and amber necklace has done nothing…I’m giving my baby the Tylenol. 

I’m not saying all of this because I think there is anything wrong with being a full time crunchy mama. In fact, hats off to you. Maybe one day I’ll get back there. I’m telling you this because if you’re like me, you might feel guilty for not going above and beyond in every aspect of motherhood.

Motherhood is a mess. You do the best you can every single day to give your babies the brightest, healthiest future, and you let go of all the little things that really don’t matter in the long run…like whether the snacks were organic. Your babies will love you even if you can’t afford organic butter. Your babies will thank you for doing everything you could for them when they were in pain. Whatever is your best, keep doing that. One day, my best was that my toddler ate three hot dogs. Not proud of that, but it happened. Other days, a fresh spinach and berry smoothie is on the menu. It’s all okay. 

 I’m not 100% organic. In fact, I’m not 100% anything anymore. It’s just not possible to raise two tiny humans and have a healthy marriage and a fulfilling social life and a rich spiritual existence and be physically fit and start a career and be perfect at it. “There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.”

Keep them healthy. Keep them safe. Keep them clean. Keep them loved.

And most of all, let go of the guilt you have for not fitting into a preconceived idea of how you “should” be. Be the best mother you can be for your children. Full stop. 



, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

43 Responses to I’m Not a “Crunchy” Mom Anymore

  1. Sonia June 29, 2017 at 7:29 am #

    Thank you for this write up. Guilt is huge as a mom and letting go of that will help I think. Am glad your baby is ok, and thank you for sharing your story.

    • shan July 5, 2017 at 2:59 am #

      Hey there Momma, so sorry you baby went through that, nothing messy life to make us all more real. I relate to what you shared with us. Thanks! Proud and involved dad.

  2. Faith Raider June 29, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    You may not be 100% crunchy any more but you are 100% a great mom.

    My son was hospitalized at two weeks old with a high fever. He had the spinal tap and the broad spectrum antibiotics. He had SO MANY blood draws. When they told me he had E. coli I was heart broken and felt like a terrible mother. But it turned out that it was a blessing he had his first UTI so early because he was diagnosed with sever kidney reflux. He had his first surgery at three weeks and a surgery to correct the reflux at 14 months. He has spent so much time in the hospital and been given so much prescription medicine, but it was what he needed. I’m super thankful that I had such a good doctor and that my baby is going to be okay.

  3. Bev Thompson June 29, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

    I appreciate everything that you have said. I totally agree that no one can be perfect. But I just need to interject one thought. When you talk about hotdogs and chicken nuggets, I cringe. You love your children very, very much. I encourage you to watch 2 documentaries : Forks over Knives and What the Health. They are both available on Netflix. If you don’t have access to Netflix, please check with your library. As more and more people have discovered how unhealthy the typical American diet is, many, many more documentaries have also becoming available. It will be so much easier for your children to be healthy and to resist the bad “foods” out there if you raise them on a healthy whole food diet now. All the best to you and your family.

  4. Ayelet June 30, 2017 at 2:57 am #

    Yes!! Well written, raw and honest.
    Thank you!

  5. Kyla June 30, 2017 at 7:05 am #

    I could have written this myself! I started as a cloth diapering all organic homemade mom and now I’m just a mom. A real mom who has to roll with punches!

  6. Frances June 30, 2017 at 9:50 am #

    I’m out on a limb processing your article. But I appreciate where you are coming from and your honesty. I don’t agree 100% but you express yourself very well and we’re respectful of others and I appreciate that very much.

  7. Katie June 30, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    I had a very similar experience with my kids as well. Probably not 100% crunchy with the first one, but close. The second one came around and she got a neonatal fever at 10 days! Same experience in the hospital. Spinal taps didn’t work they did 3 separate “sessions” where they poked her 3-5 times each! It was HORRIFIC! Every attempt I’ve made at using a cloth diaper results in a yeast infection! At about 9 months I’ve given up and the cloth diapers will never touch her skin again! Yeast and thrush are so difficult to get rid of and when a baby so young gets their gut flora all mixed up, it’s over. I feel your pain! I’ve decided second babies are good at teaching us what’s really important!

  8. Sabrina June 30, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    Yes! Yes! Yes! We have to let go of guilt and realize that we are doing the best that we can!

  9. Jess June 30, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    Thank you for writing this! It’s lovely and oh so true. In a society becoming increasingly crunchy, sometimes I just want to be banana pudding!

  10. Alison Rieke June 30, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

    This was so funny I almost spit out my bone broth. Cheers for you for realizing your truth. These tiny humans make it hard enough on us without us adding to this notion that we should also be a “perfect” mom. Look me up when you visit Colorado! We have a lot in common.

  11. Nicolle June 30, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    Such a good read. I think a lot of “crunchy” moms need to read this because they feel like they need to do anything and everything before conventional medicine. Conventional medicine does save lives, and sometimes its just needed. I try to be as natural as I can, and I do cloth diaper and try to buy mainly organic food and products, but it’s freaking expensive. And I agree, a little bit of ice cream isn’t going to kill anyone. In fact, it’s good for the sole. And let’s be real, we all wouldn’t have phones or the Internet or microwaves if we were truly crunchy. Great message. Us moms just need to do the best we can!

  12. Camille June 30, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

    You sound like most second-time moms I know, including myself 🙂 We strive for perfection with the first baby and by the time we have another, the high standards slip away. And that’s really okay. Sick baby or not, we just need to do the best we can for our kids and props to you for recognizing that.

  13. Toni Tetreau June 30, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

    You did such a great job with this article. Hats off to you!

  14. Tina June 30, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

    Sometimes “Crunchy” mom’s think it is okay to vaccinate, which shoots them off the path of successfully keeping away from the doctors office – so much sabotage to the immune system is done, when babies are infected with multiple viruses, and dangerous toxic chemicals in one day. Injecting means it bypasses the body’s natural defenses… recipe for disaster! Being on the “Crunchy” path, is often MUCH easier, when parents know to avoid vaccines. This website is a great starting place to learn more: LearnTheRisk.org – started by a former pharmaceutical rep, that is now speaking out against the corruption she saw in pharma. Also, read the book, “Dissolving Illusions” by Suzanne Humphries, MD, to understand the history of diseases and the statistical data. We are not a perfect crunchy family, but we never need to see doctors! – our kids are so healthy!! Chiropractors are a much better alternative – true healers 💕

    • Barbara July 3, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

      Oh good god. When will anti-vaxxers learn?

    • DS July 12, 2017 at 6:30 am #

      Being crunchy doesn’t have to include being foolish. Vaccinate your kids.

    • Diana July 26, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

      Wow, really, wow, an anti vaxxer just had to comment on this post. VACCINES ARE SAFE! Stop spreading conspiracy theories.

  15. Emma July 1, 2017 at 8:03 am #

    On the off chance it will help you feel a bit better, there is a brand of diapers called Aleva Naturals that provides SUPER soft, 100% biodegradable, bamboo diapers. And a couple that sell 100% natural biodegradable wipes (I suggest Baby Boo Bamboo – they smell lovely!).

  16. Emily Willett July 1, 2017 at 10:06 am #

    I have given this type of mothering a term. I call it Al Dente Mothering. You know, a little crunchy. O came up.with the idea because we are taught to believe that there is a dichotomy in parenting – main stream or crunchy. In reality, most of us fall in-between those labels. That is where All Dente sits. In a space where we get to decide what works best for us, our kids, and our family. It’s very freeing when we realize that we can create our own story, our own label, our own experience. And, that it’s ok!

  17. Becca Campbell July 1, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    I started out the same…crunchy/natural/organic and shortly after suffering hyperemesis early on, I was simply trying to survive (quite literally…I lost 15 lbs in the first two months of pregnancy). After that I got a good dose of “pay attention to reality, not your expectation-infused idealism.”
    I still consider myself a natural mama though…because the societal restrictions don’t tell me who I am. I do. We did what was natural FOR US. And anyone who wants to judge can do so quietly to themselves, alone in a dark room, with no collusion from me. No one gets to take away from me how I see myself.
    I’m even still a perfect mom…FOR MY KID. I’m not the perfect mom for anyone else. My kid and I have been through a lot…and we wouldn’t trade each other for the world.
    He’s loved, healthy (well, he only eats waffles and PB sandwiches, and we’re seeing no major health decline), interactive, and loving. I call that a win!
    It’s good to keep reminding mamas that we’re not even doing a mediocre job…we’re doing amazing if we don’t compare ourselves at all, right?
    Thanks for writing this.

  18. Anne July 1, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

    I have 4 little ones under 5. I have and still do some of the natural things…..when I can.. But what I came to realize was that in the eternal perspective and character building perspective my kids will learn better if I’m not stressing out and getting upset. And sometimes that means they get convenience food because making something from scratch is too much for me. I also take this perspective when I start grouching at Daddy for feeding them junk food. My getting upset at their dad in front of them is showing disrespect and creating uneasiness in my kids. What’s my goal? To raise kids with perfect health and bodies which will still eventually die? Or to grow character and strong marriages in my kids and have more time to be with them?
    All that to say in the end the state of their health isn’t going to matter as much as the state of their heart. Great article! Been there.

    • Christina July 3, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

      Being proactive is so much better than being reactive, including proactively spacing kids so no one is burned out with 5 kids under 6 or whatever.

      • Amy July 30, 2017 at 12:35 am #

        Christina, why would you make a comment like that?? You opinion on someone else’s child spacing is inappropriate, unwarranted, and incredibly out of line. She never said that having 4 under 4 was a mistake, because she knows her beautiful children absolutely are a gift. She was just sharing that it was hard, as the author was sharing herself. Side note: every mom who has had 4 under 4 will tell you that it’s very hard in the beginning, but a ton of fun in the end.

  19. Bobbie July 1, 2017 at 10:59 pm #

    I love this! Mom of 4 here with my youngest being 7 weeks and I totally agree with your statement -Keep them healthy. Keep them safe. Keep them clean. Keep them loved. i can relate to how experiences with babies change something you once believed in wholeheartedly. I think it all boils down to we want what’s best for our children no matter what! Love your perspective!

  20. Sammy G July 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

    Kylie, I have connected with your writing so strongly! I also had severe post partum mental illness and I am a crunchy mama. Connecting with my first child was so different than my second (without the PPD), and- cue the mama guilt. “Do I love #2 better? I connected with him, is my 1st messed up because I didn’t connect like this with her?” Keep up the great writing.

  21. Tonya July 2, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    “Keep them healthy. Keep them safe. Keep them clean. Keep them loved.”

    After you have a third, you’ll remove “Keep them clean”, from this priority list. LOL! 😉

  22. Jenna July 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    Kylie, I love it! I think we all fall into that trap of wanting to be the perfect mom and truth is most days I’m just ok. Hey some I hit it out the park and others I put myself in timeout and find myself apologizing to the little people that the Lord has entrusted me with their care. We are all just doing our best. And I would like to take it a step further and not only should be stop our own mommy guilt but we need to stopping judging other moms because they don’t do things exactly the way we do. We need to build each other and remember different and wrong are two different things.

  23. Vera Spurlock July 2, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

    My first son had homemade org whole wheat carrot cake for his 1st bday. 3 1/2 yrs later my twin daughters had strawberries with homemade pound cake ( all three on diaper service …gift from my amazing mother in law…she just didn’t realize we’d have 7 kids!) My 2nd son had a chocolate cupcake…by then with 4 under 7…I think a friend baked them…this was 30 yrs ago without Whole Foods bakery etc. My last 3 had store bought cake! Still diaper service but I did use disposables for traveling. Now every one of my living children has an autoimmune diseases…3 type 1 diabetics, one with transverse myletis/ gluten issues and one with mold/yeast allergies and depression. Two of my children are with the Lord…one at 7 weeks and one at 26 yrs. NOTHING prepared me for that! I’m 61… What is a crunchy mom? I missed that expression somehow. My one daughter with my three adorable grandgirls…is definitely not crunchy if I understand it somewhat. She was in Albuquerque while all family in Ohio for 7 years with husband an USAF officer…he traveled a lot…and she did what she had to do!

  24. Kimberly Storms July 2, 2017 at 8:08 pm #

    I know just what you mean! I have a blog, littlecrunchy.com and it is because I am a “Little” crunchy. I used to be oober crunchy, home births even. But with 5 kids and reality…. there was just no way to pull it all off and keep my sanity. So I put together a beautiful cloth diaper stash for my youngest baby, and guess what? She wore only a few and I gave them all to my baby sister for her baby. I have too much laundry as is! We do the research and then we do the best we can! It is enough. You are enough!

  25. Shelly July 2, 2017 at 10:47 pm #

    Such a wonderful post. Thank you for taking your valuable time to write and post it. You helped me today. <3

  26. paula schuck July 3, 2017 at 10:18 am #

    Amazing amazing post. LOVE this so much. We are all doing the best we can. I so try not to judge. I spied a set of grandparents struggling with a child the other day while out on a walk and I thought OH that was us – as parents years ago – and my inclination was to pull over and help. I immediately jumped to that child looks like they are having a meltdown – potential special needs on deck. Nobody thinks to help kids like this or parents like us. (My youngest has SPD and some other challenges and we would often leave events and things with her raging in full meltdown screaming and hurling herself on the ground or hitting us) I remember every single person who shared a kind comment and I recall too all the crappy rude and mean people who ignored or judged. They often drive on by or are embarrassed or they say THANK god that’s not my kid. WELL, I stop. I ask. If they say no I leave them but if it looks like someone is struggling help OR offer help. The world would be a nicer place if we all let go of the perfect parent syndrome.

  27. Christina July 3, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

    sooo…. life happens and since we can’t be perfect, we give up?

    No, we keep doing our best, trust God with the rest, pray for wisdom, and no guilt over what we can’t control.

  28. Barbara July 3, 2017 at 9:19 pm #

    I had to laugh. You mentioned chicken nuggets and hot dogs and it took three comments for someone to shame you for it.

    Unless you’re feeding your kid sawdust and lard, in moderation nothing will do permanent damage. My mother used to laugh when people went back to cloth diapers. “I raised three children with cloth diapers and there would be no way I’d do that if I had a choice. Why go back to the dark ages?” Needless to say when I was born, Pampers were new and were in my nursery.

    As for “giving the baby Tylenol”, I just think – baby in pain, why wouldn’t you? If my gums were hurting, a lavender bath isn’t going to make me feel better – why would it work for the baby? It just makes no sense to me. I’m not advocating stuffing them full of meds, and regardless of what vegan moms think, children need protein to grow. I’d rather my child eat an occasional hot dog than be full of soy day in, day out (read up on it…it’s not that great for you).

    Good luck with your new world view. No parent is perfect, and no parent should be shamed for slipping in a taste of whipped cream or wears a disposable diaper. As far as my mother was concerned (and many of her friends as well), the person who came up with Pampers was a genius.

    Stop making mothers feel shame. Help them out. Support them. And quit “suggesting” things. She’s the mom. She KNOWS what she’s doing!

  29. Claire July 4, 2017 at 5:35 am #

    What a great post. I was exactly the same for my girls. REALLY intense about the cloth diapers, breastfeeding and minimal or no vaccinations (please…not trying to set up an argument here). No drugs, everything clean as the driven snow. Then my second had a stroke at 6 years of age. She was in hospital for 3 months and left there severely physically and intellectually disabled. At one point, I was staring at her (through so so many tears) with her disposable diapers on, hooked to all kinds of tubes pumping her full of drugs, and on Pediasure through a tube in her nose. OMG. Life plays cruel cruel tricks on people who like to ride high on their horses. Much love to you.

  30. Maryann July 5, 2017 at 3:10 am #

    Thanks for writing this. My oldest daughter was born with a very large hole in her heart and has Down Syndrome. I was so set on breast feeding because I know that is best. The first five months of her life she was not gaining any weight. She was 9.5 pounds at almost 6 months old due to the strain on her heart and body just to eat. I remember they really needed her to be at least 10 pounds before they would do open heart surgery. But my milk just couldn’t get her there. They wanted to supplement (I was exclusively pumping) and giving some formula. It broke my heart but then they wanted to have a surgery to put in a gtube (a feeding tube that goes into her stomach). We refused because I just couldn’t do another surgery. We did have to do an ng tube for five months (this is a feeding tube that goes through her nose and to her stomach). I continue to pump and give breast milk. I remember hearing other moms talk about or post things about breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding and getting so mad. My concern was to have a gtube or ngtube not just the breast or bottle. I wanted my baby to grow, be healthy and happy like every other mother. I continued to pump and supplement and feed my baby through her nose. Then our second baby came. He would have been the perfect nursing baby but he wasn’t ours yet. He was a foster child, completely typical and healthy and formula fed.

  31. Denise Renae July 6, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    Thanks for writing a post that we can all relate to so well! This is truth underneath all of us moms!

  32. Katherine July 7, 2017 at 9:49 am #

    So awesome. Thank you for letting us all off the hook!

  33. K July 7, 2017 at 9:50 am #

    I had Lyme with several confections from a spider bite and the dual antibiotics for 6 months gave me toxic leaky gut, psoriasis, and liver issues….did a free protocol with Cowden herbals for 6 months. There is a site called Healthy Preparedness that teaches you to prepare your family for the new infections carried by insects. You can just about kill anything with the new clear nano silver solutions, as I finally did. I now make it at home and store for just such emergencies. Best way to administer instead of IV is to use a portable nebulizer with mask that fits over the nose. May come a time when we will need to be ready to do such things at home because antibiotics will not work against superbug strains. Nice thing about new silvers is they don’t turn you blue. Check out Utopia Silver, Sovreign Silver, and Silverbiotics at Vitamin Shoppe and GNC. Also…best product for viral pneumonia is Respiratory Distress from GetHealthyAgain.com

  34. Carol July 7, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

    Thank you for your honesty. I was the same with my first including wearing organic clothing. And then my second arrived, and boom! Reality check. I’ve learned to forgive myself as a mom and working parent. We each do the best we can, with what we have, and what we know. Many blessings to you and your family.

  35. Martha Brady July 12, 2017 at 12:50 am #

    perfection will not cut it in the long run. my “baby” is now 40 and i have grandchildren…7. we raised 3 daughters. you are so right…you can’t always serve all the right foods AND maintain a good relationship with your spouse AND have a social life AND…. over the course of our childrens’ lifetime, we do a lot of other things beside feed and raise them. living our lives as a family has way more to it than simply the rightness or wrongness of the food we give them and the products we use.

  36. Steph July 13, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    I needed this today – thank you. My heart needed to be reminded that I am doing the best I can to love my kids and that is all I need to do – – thanks for reminding me I can’t be perfect but I can be a good mom, even if we aren’t eating all organic, etc. Thanks for helping my mom heart today!

  37. Cora July 14, 2017 at 5:30 am #

    The “crunchy” solution, 99.9% of the time, is not even evidence-based anyway! Don’t worry about getting back to it eventually. Some crunchy things are fine, but most are just over-the-top and cause unnecessary stress and expense. Some are downright dangerous (like amber necklaces, which pose both a strangulation and choking risk.) Organic food, for example, is not any better than conventional. In fact, there are numerous ways conventional crops are better.

    You’re doing great, really. Your kids will thank you for being more normal! 😉