The Domestic Revolutionary

How’s 2014 treating you all?  In highly irrelevant, semi-outdated news that you can’t live without, “Selfie” was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionary.  “Selfie” simultaneously topped the list of banished words for 2013 compiled by Lake Superior State University.  So, 2013 was the year of the Selfie, and you should never speak of it again.  Look, I don’t really care if you take Selfies or talk about Selfies, just don’t say Twerking in my presence, okay?  If you have managed to spare yourself from knowing what these words mean, consider yourself lucky and DON’T ASK.

There is another word/phrase that I wish would just go away: CRUNCHY.

“What?” you may ask. “Who doesn’t like a little crispness to their food? Hmm, do I have any chips in the cupboard?”  Okay, before I lose you to a Dorito run (or Late July organic tortilla chip run if you prefer), I’m not talking about the opposite of mushy.  I’m talking about the word people use to describe those who are health conscious and environmentally aware.  I am particularly not crazy about being called a Crunchy Mom.  I know some people don’t mind the term, in fact, they totally own it.  They embrace it.  They flat out rock it.  Others are like, “Crunchy?  You call me Crunchy and I’ll break your teeth.”  Perhaps I fall somewhere in between?  And do you really want to find out?  Yeah.  That’s what I thought.

Okay, so some of you are still confused.  What on Earth would make someone call you Crunchy?  Let me enlighten you, because this is way more relevant than Twerking and Selfies.  Trust me.  Here’s the scoop.  You might risk being called Crunchy if you…

  • Plan for a drug free birth
  • Use cloth diapers
  • Baby-wear
  • Co-sleep
  • Breastfeed past a year
  • Prepare homemade food
  • Grow your own food
  • Homeschool
  • Use alternative medicine
  • Have a parent at home full time

Yada, yada, yada. You get the picture? Why Crunchy?  Apparently it goes back to the hippies and granola.  Because granola is crunchy.  You can tell people put a lot of thought into this, right?  When I explained the term to Danny, he said “Wow, you even make your own granola.  You must be REALLY Crunchy.”

You’ll have to ask him if he still has all his teeth.

Like I said, a lot of people are totally cool with this term.  But I’m not a fan of labels.  It makes me feel like we’re all back in high school.  “Oh, don’t hang around them.  They’re like, SOOO Crunchy!”  (Insert obnoxious mean girl laughter here.)  Or worse yet, “Hey, if you want to be in our Crunchy Club, you’ve gotta use cloth diapers made from organic cotton.  Pampers, like REALLY???  We don’t hang out with Earth haters.”

Look, I kind of get where the animosity comes from.  We Moms are an enthusiastic bunch.  And we also can be a sensitive bunch.  So when one mom wants to ask “Did you see the article from Dr. Mercola about Azodicarbonamide in commercially prepared bread?”, the mom she’s talking to hears “Don’t you know you’re killing your child with that sandwich???”

So perhaps some have given us health conscious types a bad name.  I understand that people can be a little self righteous about their decisions.  But does that mean we have to label everyone who makes those decisions with a texture of food?  I mean, REALLY.  We all put a lot of thought and effort into our parenting decisions.  Entirely too much thought and effort to be lumped into a category described by the mouth feel of an oat cereal.  I prefer “Parenting Non-Conformist”.  Or better yet, “Domestic Revolutionary”.  YES!!!

So, from here on out, we shall not use the CR word.  We will instead use the term Domestic Revolutionary!  (It requires an exclamation point, don’t you think?)  So, you may be thinking “Being a Domestic Revolutionary sounds sweet.  Do I have to do all the things listed above to qualify?”

The answer is simple.  Absolutely not!  You can do some of the things.  You can do none of the things.  You can do all of the things as long as you don’t go bonkers trying to do them.  But there are a few simple qualifications, and while they aren’t all easy, there’s a pretty good chance you’re already doing them.

So here it is!  A sort of manifesto for the Domestic Revolutionary:

  • Know your family
  • Be tuned in to your family’s needs
  • Listen to your mommy gut instincts
  • Never make your decisions based on the status quo
  • Never make your decisions just to defy the status quo
  • Research like a mad woman
  • Never waste one second worrying about what other people think
  • Be The Expert On Your Own Home

When I had my first baby, I wanted to do things the “right” way.  I wanted people to look at me and say “She’s a good mom”.  I didn’t want to stand out.  I never planned to be that lady who loves Frankincense, has a freezer full of wheat berries, brings organic pop corn to movie night, and refers to 1st grade as Core Phase.

I tried being conventional, but when it didn’t work out, I had to give myself permission to become a weirdo.  Okay, forget for a moment that I’m a weirdo.  Because in addition to being a weirdo, I am also an expert.  “Ha!” you may be thinking. “Well, what on Earth are you an expert in?  We know it’s not baking bread, Miss Wheatberry!”  SO, I am not an expert at baking bread.  But I AM the expert on my own home!  And I bet you are the expert on YOUR own home!  See how cool that is?

When we come across another mom who does things totally differently, we don’t have to feel defensive of our own choices or condescending towards hers.  We can give others the benefit of the doubt, that what they are doing is exactly right for them.  Instead of trying to examine their motives or assign them to a parenting style clique, we can say “Wow!  That’s Revolutionary!”  And move on with our lives because ain’t nobody got time for worrying about other people’s decisions.

So, hold your crispy Ezekiel bread with grass fed butter high, my formerly CR labeled friends!  And my friends with mushy white bread because that’s all your kids will eat and it’s not worth fighting over, hold that up high too!  Let’s make 2014 the Year of The Domestic Revolutionary!  Hey, if Twerk was a hot word, I think we have a chance here.

Oh, and if you’re lucky AND good, I just might give you the recipe for my Revolutionary Homemade Granola.  It’s really awesome.  And as far as granola goes it’s more chewy than… well, you know. 😉


For Beau, who for 9 years has been teaching me to be Revolutionary.

For Beau, who for 9 years has been teaching me to be Revolutionary.

Off The Leash

Look at this cute backpack I got for Dash.

IMG_2528Awe.  It’s so cuddly and he just loves it.  Here’s another shot…

IMG_2523What?  What’s that strap hanging off it?  Uh, yeah… I’m not sure ?…  It just came with this extra piece…

Okay, okay, it’s a leash.  But we prefer to call it a Snuggly Chaos Management Buddy.

You know, there was a time when I had no idea that a baby “leash” was such a controversial item.  I got one for Beau when he was a toddler and I was taking him to the airport.  I was worried about him running off or getting kidnapped while I was dealing with luggage or plane tickets.  REALLY?  Not wanting to lose your toddler is controversial?

Well, apparently there is a school of thought promoting the idea that children should LISTEN and BEHAVE.  Interesting, right?  Apparently there would be no need to restrain these small people, because just the sound of an adult’s voice would stop them dead in their tracks.  It sounds like a promising theory, but personally I would like to see further research on the subject, particularly in regards to 18 month old boys.

The other objection some have to the Chaos Management Buddy is that “Leashes are for dogs and children aren’t dogs.”  I totally agree that children are not dogs.  I have had both children and dogs and they are not the same thing.  For instance, children climb things where as dogs do not.  They both have about the same risk of running into traffic or biting someone.  So, no, I would not compare my dear child to a dog.  He is more like a spider monkey with a hint of wolverine…

Just kidding!  But joking aside, back when Beau was little, I was a lot more concerned about inviting public scorn for trying not to lose my child, or for making any other unpopular parenting decision.  I wouldn’t want some strange person who knows nothing about me or my situation or my child’s temperament to think I’m a BAD parent!  How awful it would be if they judged me!

But by now I have more or less gotten over that.  (Or at least become desensitized to it?)  I do what I feel is best for my kids because I know them best.  And I know not everyone is going to agree, which is FINE because I’ve seen that things work out okay when I go with my instincts.

Still, being a parent is a lot like wearing a sign that says “Open For Public Criticism!”  Whether you’re the mom running frantically after an off-the-leash toddler, or the one trotting behind an on-the-leash toddler, or the one who is having all the exits shut down because she has no idea where her toddler is, you can be sure there is someone standing idly by, shaking their head in disapproval.

Let’s see… We have the Old School Folks who reminisce about the days when you could just go chop a branch off a tree and beat your kids with it.  Then there are the  Paranoid Vigilantes who are standing around watchfully with CPS on speed dial.  And don’t forget everyone’s favorite parenting critic, The Perfect Mom.  Bless her heart.  She is more than happy to take a break from flash card drilling to tell you in excruciating detail How You Too Can Be Awesome.  She has time to do this because her children are plowing through a midmorning snack of Doritos and Coke.  Awe, Perfect Mom, it’s okay.  Nobody’s really perfect!

They all mean well.  But sometimes it does get old!

SERIOUSLY, if the worst psychological damage my child incurs is because his mother was really worried about him getting lost in a public place, then I think we are going to get away with a really cheap therapy bill.  Thanks for all the well meaning opinions, but we are doing okay.  Everyone is happy, and Dash has no idea his Cuddly Buddy carries a stigma with it along with an small pack of washable crayons.   And the best part:  I didn’t lose any kids.


Wait, there’s only two here… Has anyone seen Beau?