Crunchy. I’ve often heard this term used in conjunction with hippies, “new age” thinking, organic anything.
I consider myself a ‘normal’ mom. I’m a navy wife, and a Christian. A liberal (which, by the way, isn’t entirely accepted in the military OR the church). I wear jeans, dye my hair, wear leather. I don’t think of myself as “crunchy” in the sterotypical sense. I don’t buy organic (unless it’s on sale) most of the time. I carry a name brand purse, drive a sporty car, let my kidlet play on the toys after eating a Happy Meal (…sometimes).
But somehow, my life has become crunchy.
I am a crunchy mom.
A friend mentioned during my recent pregnancy (baby is now 5 months old) that she was planning on using cloth diapers. I was immediately intrigued. I didn’t use them with my first child, I didn’t even realize they existed. My mom used cloth on me, sure, but it was 20+ years ago. Times change. Right? That night I googled, and googled some more. There’s this amazing thing now that looks just like a disposable diaper, and the only thing I have to do is wash it! And it’s CUTE! Okay, I’m hooked. Cheaper in the long run? Score!
When we had one vehicle we’d inevitably run out of diapers while my husband had the car. Or when we had expected the box to last a few more days until payday, and the cost of MORE diapers wasn’t in the budget. That feeling is awful and I didn’t want to go through it again. If all I have to do is throw in a load of laundry when we run low instead of get two kids ready to go (possibly not with a fresh diaper… we’re running out!), pile them into the car, drive to the store, get the right kind and size and get home before a diaper explodes (you know what I’m talking about), I’ll do it!
Little did I know cloth diapering would change my entire outlook on life. Suddenly we’re going through one garbage bag a week instead of four. I had no idea one little person could go through SO much trash. I know longer cringe if a diaper is dirtied the instant it’s put on (money down the drain, er, garbage can), since I know I’ll just wash it anyway! I find myself striving to use cloth in other ways – cloth swiffer mops instead of disposables, bar mops and ‘un’paper towels instead of paper towel rolls, hankerchiefs instead of tissues. Who knew a diaper could change so much?
While yes, it’s nice that the environment isn’t getting all that extra garbage from my house anymore, that’s really not what started it for me. How convenient is it, really, to have to run to the store for all of these items when they are all gone? They’re never gone at the same time. There has to be somewhere to store all the extras so they don’t run out when you can’t get more. How much easier is it to just throw them in the wash when they’re running low?!
I find myself doing about two extra loads of laundry a week. I hear this argument sometimes that cloth isn’t as good for the environment because it uses so much water… Are my two loads of laundry (with eco-friendly detergent!) actually worse than multiple extra runs to the store and four times as much garbage? They’re certainly better for my wallet, my schedule, and my sanity.
Yes, I am a crunchy mom. Yes, I enjoy doing my part to save the environment. Changing the things I’ve changed has made me look at the world a little differently, made me want to live more sustainably, more consciously. But I wouldn’t have started if crunchy wasn’t ridiculously convenient, too.