parent opinion

'After learning what "crunchy mums" are, I realised something important about motherhood.'

I recently came across an article about the best gifts for the ‘Crunchy Mum’ and excuse me, WTF?!

Firstly, what is a Crunchy Mum (is she some sort of crispy snack)? And secondly why are we categorising women into different groups of mums? Aren’t we just mums?

Well according to some, we are not. We are one of a huge assortment of mum categories that have been invented by someone, to achieve, well I don’t actually know but most likely the cause of unnecessary angst and annoyance by many women who just want to be mums with no other descriptors before or after the title.

But to answer the originally question, a Crunchy Mum is, according to the very reliable Urban Dictionary:

“A member of an increasingly growing group of mums who are neo-hippies,” they write.

“They generally believe (for varying reasons) that there is something bad or less beneficial about buying mainstream products or doing other common activities in the mainstream way.”

We ask some mums and non-mums questions about childbirth. Their answers are very revealing.

Video by MMC

And again, thanks to Urban Dictionary here is a checklist, if you require further clarification as to whether you fall into this category:

  • You bake all your own bread.
  • You make your own jam, jelly, pickles, applesauce, etc.
  • You gave birth at home – by CHOICE! (With a midwife, doula, or unassisted!)
  • You prefer to teach your children yourself at home instead of letting the public or private schools do it for you.
  • You grow your own food as much as possible, and buy the rest at farmer’s markets or health food stores.
  • You are vegan or vegetarian.
  • You choose not to use birth control.
  • You don’t wear a bra or shoes.

Upon further investigation there are plentiful blogs and websites devoted to being a Crunchy Mum, as well as a specific subsection on Esty to source your Crunchy Mum gift.

Now for those of you who don’t happen to fall into this category of motherhood, there are plenty of others out there. Not limited to, but including:

  • The PTA (Parent Teacher Association) Mum – also known as the ‘Clipboard Mum’. Active in the Parent Teacher Association, coordinating volunteers and always with a strong ‘voice’.
  • The Activewear Mum – wears active wear regardless of whether she has ever actually exercised (usually she hasn’t).
  • The Have a Chat Mum or Social Mum – Always ready to have a chat with anyone or everyone. She is at school drop off first and leaves school at pick up last. This is her prime source of social interaction.
  • The Hot Mess Mum or Slummy Mummy – This mum will often have today’s breakfast strewn down her shirt, yesterday’s makeup still visible on her face and she is never quite sure what day of the week it is, her life is general chaos.
  • The Late Mum – This mum has some things in common with the Hot Mess Mum, mostly the disorganisation. This mum is always dropping her kids off late to school, usually straight from the No Standing Zone out the front of the school while speeding off to something else she is late for.

via GIPHY

Although some of these mum types are definitely relatable and identifiable in some respects, they are also another way in which women have been placed into categories, in many respects, to play off one another. They are first and foremost generalisations that stereotype many mothers into groups that are not accurate of their values, personalities or the way they parent. Mostly due to the simple fact that women and mothers are multi-faceted.

If I were to look at these mum types I wouldn’t say there was one I was typically a part of, I fall into numerous of these groups. I am on the Parent Teacher Committee but not because I walk around recruiting volunteers with a clipboard but because no one else in my daughter’s class volunteered and I felt terribly for the teacher. I, in fact, work three days of the five my daughter is at school and cannot attend any of the meetings. I even had to get out of my compulsory PTA Canteen Duty because I was at work.

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I also, on occasion, am the Slummy Mummy, I will often have some sort of food item on my clothing, or some other substance like water that I dribbled when trying to take a sip from my water bottle on the way to drop off. I also can be the Late Mum, literally pushing my daughter out of the car as it’s still moving (well not quite… yet) but generally I am on time. Some days, mostly dependent on the amount of sleep and caffeine I have consumed I can also be the Have a Chat Mum but most often I hide somewhere at the back to avoid this.

The point is no one is just one of these mums because no one is one-dimensional. So how about we scrap the Mum types and just use Mums? Mums – women who do the best they can for their children.

Do you agree that we need to stop categorising mums? Share your opinion in a comment below.

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