Turning In My Crunchy Card
So, you know how you're at work, and you're talking to a coworker, and they're all, "Yeah, I know I said I'd do that for you, but I'm just so busy!" and you're like, "I know, me too. It's just that..." and they say, "No, I'm really BUSY!" and you're thinking, "YEAH I KNOW MAN WE'RE ALL BUSY, WE'RE AT WORK," because apparently this bitch thinks she's some sort of special kind of busy that you can't possibly understand?
Yeah. Get ready for a whole lot of that in this post.
I don't mind telling you that since my children were born, I have upped the crunchy/green/hippie level in my house from about 0.5 to, at its peak, about a 6.5. However, due to a combination of factors, my crunchiness has dropped off considerably since Surrey was born. I feel like the following chart illustrates my point more clearly:
As you can see, before I had children, I was pretty much ingesting plastic straight up. If you had asked me whether or not I would ever be willing to pay more money for an "organic" item, I would have laughed in your face while continuing to munch on my plastic chips. However, after I had Phaedra, I realized that this little baby was pure. How could I pollute her body with anything that was even remotely toxic?
Fast forward to today, where I don't even want to tell you some of the things that have been in her mouth (hint: it was organic, but not in a good way). Though I had a good streak going for awhile, the combination of work, kids, household chores, and opposite work/school schedule with the husband has put this fucking racecar in the red. I have had to regretfully admit to myself that I cannot keep up with some of the hippie habits I have picked up over the last few years. Maybe I can go back to some of them as the girls get older, but I think some of them are going to have to die a dignified, eco-friendly death.
1. Cloth diapers: AAAAAAAAHHHHH this one kills me. I started cloth diapering Bella when she was about nine months old. It's just me, not my husband or anyone else, because who else would put up with all the nonsense that goes along with cloth diapers when DUDE YOU CAN THROW THESE OTHER DIAPERS AWAY? I still believe cloth diapering is safer, healthier, and cheaper in the long run, but I recently had a long, hard look at the mountain of laundry that is in my basement, both clean and dirty. After sending my daughter to preschool in the same pair of pants three days in a row because they were the only clean ones I could find in the entire house, I finally admitted to myself that if I can't keep up with the regular laundry, I sure as hell can't keep up with diaper laundry on top of it. As it turns out, three children is the threshold at which your laundry situation just fucking explodes into unmanageable levels. The cheapskate in me is still crying her eyes out over using so many disposable diapers, but the part of me that is responsible for remaining sane and caring for my children is relieved.
2. Clothes line: My husband learned to ignore the cloth diapers, but his 6' 1" frame cannot ignore the clothesline that is hung 5' 11" off the ground. Getting a clothesline to the neck doesn't really put you in the green frame of mind. He hates my ugly-looking clothesline with a passion. I delighted in using my clothesline two summers ago, and getting to tell my gas company to suck it every time I didn't have to use my dryer. Every time I hung laundry up, in my mind I was Laura Ingalls Wilder living on the goddamn prairie. It was magical. However, last summer I just couldn't bring myself to haul my huge, pregnant ass outside and stand in the sun hanging laundry, then haul it back outside at night to take it down. I gave myself a pass, saying that I would go back to using it this summer, when I wasn't feeling so tired. AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I'm pretty sure that this summer, finding 15-20 minutes when I'll be able to do nothing but hang clothes without holding a baby on my hip is going to be impossible.
Just please, you guys, don't tell my husband he was right.
3. Organic meat: I was so embarrassingly pumped when the company that delivers organic fruit to my house, Door to Door Organics*, started carrying organic meat. I wanted to make the jump to organic meat, but, sadly, it was unavailable at my local grocery store, and I'll be goddamned if I'll drive all the way across town to the other grocery store that stays open 24 hours and rhymes with "liar" just to buy meat. However, after suffering for almost six months or so, I've finally admitted to myself that it's not working out. While the quality is just as good or sometimes better than the stuff at my grocery store (which, if you're curious, rhymes with "brogue-er"), the cost is quite literally three times more than what you would pay for normal meat. I am willing to shell out slightly more cash for safer food and cosmetic products, but I had to finally admit defeat when I realized how high my weekly grocery bill had climbed. On top of that, for what I was paying, I could only afford to buy one pound of hamburger meat and one pound of chicken breast every other week. So, back to Brogue-er I go for my bag-o-chicken-breasts.
4. Homemade baby food: When it was time for Phaedra to start eating solid food, I couldn't bear the thought that, after six months of (almost) exclusively eating naturally good-for-her breastmilk, I was going to start putting man-made junk from a jar into her body. So, I tried making homemade baby food. I proudly steamed a sliced-up peach, blended that bad boy in my food processor, and served it up to my little angel.
And she promptly spit that crap in my face.
I tried almost everything: apples, peas, pumpkin, banana -- no luck. I have a vivid memory of Rob and I scooping mountains of pureed sweet potato out of an overflowing food processor one Saturday night and asking each other, "How the fuck did we get here?" The next day, I went to the store and bought a jar of carrot baby food. She inhaled it, and even though I've tried to ply every single one of my babies with homemade baby food, they've all responded the same way: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WOMAN, GO TO THE STORE AND BUY ME THAT DELICIOUS PROCESSED STUFF. I even tried this new-fangled baby-lead weaning thing with Surrey, but upon finding out that Surrey enjoys taking enormous bites of everything, my anxiety level was too high to continue on this path.
So, this is me turning in my membership card to the Crunchy Mothers of America. Godspeed, you patchouli-scented angels.
*didn't give me a dime for the shout-out, but I wish the hell they would.
Janel Mills is an academic librarian raising three girls with her beardedly gifted husband. When not filling juice cups or dressing baby dolls, she writes at her blog 649.133: Girls, the Care and Raising Of.